This is a collection of questions many people have asked about probiotics, probiotic supplements, and fermented food. If you have a question that is not answered here, please submit your question and I will be happy to answer as soon as I can.
Which vegetables are best to ferment?
This is mostly a matter of taste. But organic vegetables are great as they contain fewer pesticides and more nutrients. Cabbage is used in many recipes because it is simple to ferment, goes well with many other vegetables, and often stays crunchy after fermentation. Many recipes use 50-80% green cabbage. Try adding some red cabbage too which is highly nutritious and adds a wonderful colour.
Other common vegetables: Carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, coriander leaves, parsley, ginger, beet root, chilli peppers, and many others. A-Z list of veggies to ferment.
You might want to be careful with garlic and onion because they tend to add a very distinct taste. Hot pepper is great! But be cautious as the taste can become very strong. I like to ferment garlic and onions in separate jars. The advantage is that you can add them on the side as you like. But if you love garlic, then no problem to ferment them together with other veggies.
When preparing you first batch, I suggest using only cabbage, a few carrots, and salt. This combination is simple to prepare, yet very tasty.
You don’t really need that much to begin with. Use whatever tools you have in your kitchen. This will most likely be enough. However, if you want to prepare bigger batches, you might want to invest in tools that makes the preparation work faster and easier.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. A food processor to shred vegetables saves much time for bigger batches
2. Canning jars. 32 oz jars are good, but a little smaller or bigger jars are also fine. Best if the jars are wide-mouthed as it makes it easier to pack the vegetables. You can also use the excellent crock pot, but they are more expensive.
3. A kraut pounder (looks like a small baseball bat), helps to pack the vegetables. Otherwise, use your fist.
4. Starter cultures are very good! They simplify fermentation, create better taste, create more probiotic bacteria. Always use a starter!. They create a superior product.
Which fermented food contain highest amount of probiotics?
This is not easy to determine. The reason is that it depends on what you’re fermenting and how you’re doing it. For example, if you’re using a high-quality starter culture, you will most likely have more probiotic bacteria in your product than fermenting without a starter.
Culture starters contain different bacteria depending on what is being fermented. The different bacteria affect the digestive system in different ways. Therefore, it’s not just a question of how much, but also what kind of bacteria.
As an example, different kinds of bacteria are used to ferment the following foods.
Generality, you get more probiotic bacteria when using a culture starter, perhaps even trillions of bacteria in a few tablespoons. That’s more bacteria than a whole bottle of probiotic capsules!
Can I overdose on probiotics?
Overdosing is almost impossible. However, we are all unique individual and can take “too much” in the sense of getting a reaction. Some might detox to quickly (also called a “healing crisis”). Probiotics promote a cleansing of the digestive tract which needs to be done slowly. Therefore, some people need to start of slow.
In cases of candida overgrowth, infections, and other conditions, the body can react to probiotics with symptoms. Here are some common examples:
- Skin rashes
- Cold or flu symptoms
Consuming large quantities of fermented food an in some cases cause a reaction. Therefore, if you’re new to probiotics you should start out by eating small amounts and slowly increase the dose. Remember that millions of people worldwide has consumed fermented foods daily for centuries without any risk of overdosing.
I’ve got serious health problems, do I need to be cautious?
Yes, in some cases people should be careful and definitely consult with their doctor! Check this post on side effects. People who’s immune system is suppressed should be very careful. Also, sufferers of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, gut inflammations and other serious conditions should be cautious.
Which probiotic supplements is best?
For people who don’t suffer from any serious condition, any high quality supplement will be fine. Here are a few that I’ve reviewed.
However, some individuals can also have very specific needs. For example, for those on a GAPS diet, treating autism, ADHD or similar, then Bio-Kult has been designed for this purpose.
Ideally, we should have probiotics tailored for each individual and his or her specific needs. But this is still for the future.
I’m on antibiotics, which probiotic supplement should I take?
As we are all different, one cannot be dogmatic. However, these two are high-quality supplements known to support your gut in case you’re on antibiotics.
When and how should I take my probiotic supplement when on antibiotics?
About 15 minutes before breakfast and 2-3 hours after taking antibiotics.
If possible, tart taking probiotics before you start with antibiotics. This will prepare your gut. And continue taking probiotics long after you have stopped taking antibiotics. This is one of the best ways to combat the onslaught of antibiotics on your stomach and can help you avoid many problems.
Do I need additional probiotics even if have no serious health problems?
Probiotics are vital for life, without probiotic bacteria in your gut you would die! Keeping your gut thriving is, therefore, essential to stay healthy. A healthy digestive tract contains trillions of bacteria coexisting i a delicate balance.
But because of a poor diet, chlorinated water, stress, antibiotics and other factors, the gut flora may get weakened. Therefore, adding probiotics daily—eating fermented foods or taking a supplement—is an important factor to keep your gut well-functioning and in balance.
In addition, it is obvious that preventing disease is far better that treating a condition that has already developed. A growing body of research show that probiotics can prevent many health problems from developing in the first place.
Therefore, consuming fermented foods on a daily basis is one of the best and simplest strategies to stay healthy.