Have you been suffering from stomach pains and cramps ever since you started on the keto diet?
Are you aiming for weight loss but ended up with a bloated stomach? Or the keto diet messed up your bowel movements?
We’re not going to deny it. The keto diet might be laden with some gut health issues, and this is all because of the number of fats that you consume on this diet.
You see, the increased fat consumption in the keto diet may lead to the reduction of the beneficial gut bacteria and, eventually, cause an imbalance in your gut microbiome. (1)
This imbalance is what causes all the adverse digestive issues that you’re experiencing right now.
But wait, there’s a solution for this—consume fermented foods that are rich in probiotics.
That seems pretty straightforward, right?
Unfortunately, no, because most fermented foods that are rich in probiotics are also rich in carbohydrates.
The key here is to find foods that will give you the number of probiotics you need without raising your blood sugar.
Continue reading this article to know what these are!
The Benefits Of Probiotic Foods For Low-carb and Keto Diet
In addition to keeping your gut in check, probiotics offer many keto benefits as well.
- For one, it helps boost your immune system. These beneficial bacteria also regulate your immune cell function, responsible for protecting your body from infection.
- Second, it also helps regulate your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of diabetes.
- Last but not least, this also aids in the absorption of fats in your intestine.
The better your body absorbs fats (which is your primary energy source on the keto diet). The less severe digestive symptoms you will experience, and the more energy you will have.
Now that you already know the gut health benefits of probiotics on a ketogenic diet. You’ll surely be keen on incorporating low carb probiotics sources in your diet. We got you covered!
Below are some of the healthy sources of good gut bacteria:
A-List of Probiotic-Rich Foods For Low Carb and Keto Diet
Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage that you can find in different European countries.
It is often consumed during the winter season. This is considered to offer more health benefits than raw and under fermented cabbage because of the fermentation method.
The taste of sauerkraut may not be for everyone, but it’s worth incorporating into your keto diet.
The good thing is you don’t need to consume lots of it. One serving is only one cup!
From this, you can get:
- Fats: 2 grams
- Net carbs: 2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
When buying sauerkraut, there’s one thing that you should remember—avoid canned variants as much as possible.
When it’s canned, it means it has undergone pasteurization—a process that renders the good bacteria dead.
Additionally, make sure that it doesn’t contain sugar, sodium benzoate, and other chemicals.
As much as possible, go for real and refrigerated sauerkraut, made of cabbage, starter culture, and salt.
At times, sauerkraut may contain other types of vegetables. That’s okay.
Now, here’s one probiotic-rich food that people worldwide know about—thanks to the rise in Korean dishes’ popularity.
The classic recipe features a blend of napa cabbage, carrots, and radishes fermented in spicy red bean paste.
Lately, though, their recipe evolved to fermented leeks, cucumber, and many more.
Aside from having high probiotic content (2), this side dish is also well-known for having excellent benefits.
This is because an oz of kimchi will give you the following nutrients:
- Calories: 10
- Fat: 0
- Net Carbs: 0.5g
- Fiber: 1g
You can easily buy kimchi from your neighborhood grocery. If you can’t find them, try visiting Asian or Korean marts in your city.
When choosing kimchi, you must make sure that your buying product doesn’t contain vegetable oil, flour, or sugar.
The best way to avoid this is to make your own kimchi.
Since Korean dishes are slowly taking the culinary world by storm, you can now easily find kimchi recipes that you can easily do at home.
Pickles are what you get when you submerge cucumbers in a mixture of salt and water, then left them to undergo fermentation for quite some time.
To create pickles, you don’t need any fermentation agent since it already has lactic acid bacteria to facilitate the process.
If you’re looking to boost your probiotic and fiber consumption but want to maintain your carb, protein, and fat consumption.
Pickles are among the best options you have.
Take a look at the nutritional composition of 100 grams of pickles to understand why.
- Calories: 0
- Fats: 0
- Carbs: 0
- Protein: 0
- Fiber: 1.2g
Additionally, this is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting.
Same with the other probiotic keto foods on the list, you should be careful in choosing the pickles you will include in your keto diet. Avoid pickles made using vinegar as this agent will kill the beneficial bacteria that your gut needs.
Before, nobody knows what a kombucha then suddenly has become a household name, especially for the health-conscious.
This type of fermented tea is made by combining tea, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria.
In addition to its health benefits, it’s loved by many because of its fizziness, fun, and addictive flavors.
As a sweetened and flavored tea, so you’ll expect it to contain a fair amount of carbohydrates. However, most of its sugar content is eaten by bacteria during fermentation. (3)
Despite this, it’s still difficult to determine how much sugar is in a kombucha.
This is the reason why the macros of kombucha will vary depending from one preparation to another.
As a rule of thumb, the sweeter the kombucha is, the more sugar it contains.
If the kombucha is sour, it has lower sugar content.
But to be sure, it’s always a must that you check its nutritional label.
Another thing to take note of is its fizziness.
The fizziness of this health drink is not due to carbonation. The fermentation method brings it about.
If the kombucha you’re drinking no longer has fizz, this means that the beneficial bacteria that you need is already dead.
Yogurt is one of the most popular and best probiotic food out there because it contains a vast array of beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium, and many more.
Same with kombucha, the macros of yogurt may vary depending on the brand and its ingredients.
That’s why we won’t be able to provide you its macros here.
Instead, we’ll give you some pointers about choosing yogurt. Here they are:
- There are yogurt products that don’t contain live or beneficial bacteria. You must check out the nutritional label to ensure that it will give you the right kind of bacteria that you need.
- Choose unsweetened and unflavored yogurt to keep your carbohydrate consumption in check.
- In general, yogurt, even Greek yogurt, has high carbohydrate content, so you should consume it moderately.
Like kombucha, Kefir is also a fermented probiotic beverage containing sugar, which will also be removed during the fermentation method.
But of course, a portion of the sugar used will still be left behind.
It’s estimated that kefir's average sugar content is between 10 to 13 grams of carbs, which is well within the keto’s carbohydrate limit of 20 to 50 grams a day.
But if you want to be sure that you wouldn’t go overboard with carbs, it’s recommended that you try making kefir yourself using either water or milk.
Bet you didn’t know that olives are pickled food! (4)
Well, not many of us know this.
Yes, that’s right! This means that these briny and salty treats contain the right amounts of gut-friendly bacteria like Lactobacillus.
To ensure that you’ll get the probiotics you need, go for green olives brined in saltwater. It’s the medium that will facilitate fermentation.
The nutritional content of 5 Kalamata olives are as follows:
- Calories: 45 kcal
- Fats: 4g
- Carbs: 2g
- Protein: 0
The great thing about olives is its’ quite versatile!
You can add it to your sandwiches, salads, and even your martinis. But of course, you have to take a rain check on that drink since you’re on a ketogenic diet.
Here’s another Asian probiotic treat for you.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean food item in Indonesia. It’s currently widely used by vegans and vegetarians as a protein source.
While soybeans are generally beneficial to our health, they contain phytic acid.
This substance prevents the absorption of certain nutrients like zinc and iron.
So they fermented soybean.
Not only this way will fix the absorption issues, it also improves the soybean’s nutritional profile by boosting its probiotic content.
The method also increases soybean’s vitamin B12, which is also an essential vitamin for people who don’t consume meat. (5)
To help you understand how this will fit in your ketogenic diet, here are the macros for 100 grams of Tempeh:
- Carbs: 9 to 10 g
- Protein: 18 to 20 g
- Fats: 10 to 11 g
As you may have noticed, its carbohydrate content is a bit high, so it’s more suitable for low carb diets.
If you’re on strict keto, you may want to only consume one serving of this food item only from time to time.
If you have been to Japan, or you love Japanese cuisines, you will probably know this food.
This Japanese food is made by fermenting soybeans using the Bacillus subtilis bacteria strain, giving it its unique and robust flavor.
Because of the fermentation process that it has undergone, this food item is rich in good bacteria.
One gram contains between one million to one billion CFUs. (6)
Aside from being rich in probiotics, it also contains other essential nutrients.
For one, it’s rich in vitamin K2, which is needed for promoting good bone health and reducing the risk of fractures and cardiovascular diseases.
The nutritional breakdown of 100 grams of natto are as follows:
- Carbohydrates: 14 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 18 grams
- Vitamin K1: 29% of the RDI
- Magnesium, Manganese, Calcium, Vitamin C, Potassium, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, and Copper
As you may have noticed, Natto contains a higher amount of carbs than all the other probiotic-rich food items in this list.
That’s one consideration you need to take note of when monitoring your carb intake.
#10. Some Cheeses
How can cheese be a good source of probiotics when it has already been pasteurized? You may wonder.
Well, that’s the reason why we said some cheeses only.
We’re referring to those cheeses that didn’t undergo pasteurization or other processes that kill probiotics.
These are raw cheeses and aged or fermented cheeses. Some of the best examples are Provolone, Cheddar, Emmental, Mozzarella, Gouda, Feta, and Blue Cheese.
To make sure, try looking for labels that indicate the cheeses are raw or contain live cultures and probiotics.
The macros of cheese may vary from one type to another, but most of these cheeses are low carb. If your goal is weight loss, you should keep in mind that most cheeses are high in calories, so you should consume them only in moderation.
#11. Sour Cream
This dip is the last item on our list because sour cream can be an excellent probiotic source if it’s not pasteurized. (7)
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find acidic cream products that didn’t undergo the pasteurization process.
Despite that, it’s still a good idea to highlight sour cream’s probiotic and nutritional content.
Here are the nutrients that you can get from one tablespoon of traditionally made unpasteurized sour cream:
- Calories: 30 kcal
- Fats: 3g
- Net Carbs: 1g
- Protein: 1g
Should I Take Probiotics on Keto?
Getting probiotics is one of the best ways to address the gut health issues associated with the keto diet.
Lucky for you, incorporating the probiotic foods mentioned can help you get the right amounts of probiotics your body needs.
But as you may have noticed, some of the probiotic foods mentioned have high amounts of carbohydrates, so these foods' consumption is limited.
The good news is there’s one more way to boost your probiotic intake--- take exogenous probiotic supplements. Check this buying guide to know which is the right product for you!
You should also head to this comprehensive review to discover what other keto supplements you should take.
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