Foods that Provide Good Bacteria

I am sure you already know how important it is to consume a diet based on natural or whole foods for optimal health, including our gut health, since this way of eating is nothing new. But did you know that the food of our ancestors, including fermented foods, contained several thousand times more bacteria, mainly the good probiotic bacteria, than our food does today? It’s true, and part of the shortfall is due to our modernized way of eating that often excludes fermented foods. This lack of good bacteria in our food can decrease optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrition for gastrointestinal and overall health.

Dr. Joseph Brasco, a board-certified gastroenterologist who serves as a medical consultant with Garden of Life, suggests adding the following foods to your diet to support digestive health:


Eat organically raised cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, and venison that graze on nature’s bountiful grasses and fish caught in the wild like salmon, tuna, or sea bass. Grass-fed meat is leaner and is lower in calories than grain-fed beef. Grass Fed Organic Meat is higher in gut-friendly omega-3 fatty acids and important vitamins like B12 and vitamin E. They're also way better for you than assembly-line cuts of flank steak from hormone-injected cattle eating pesticide-sprayed feed laced with antibiotics.

Fish with fins and scales caught from oceans and rivers are lean sources of protein and provide essential amino acids in abundance. Supermarkets are stocking these types of foods in greater quantities these days, and of course they are found in natural food stores, fish markets, and specialty stores.

Avoid certain meats like breakfast links, bacon, lunchmeats, ham, hot dogs, bratwurst, and other sausages. Crustaceans such as lobster, crabs, shrimp, and clams and fish without fins and scales are “bottom feeders,” content to sustain themselves on excrement from other fish—so they’re out, too.

Cultured Dairy:

Cultured, Grass-Fed Dairy products from goats, cows, and sheep have numerous nutritional benefits including more Omega 3 fatty acids and much more beneficial microorganisms. These living organisms contain probiotics, which, by definition, are living, direct-fed microbials (DFMs) that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. The normal human gastrointestinal tract contains hundreds of different species of harmless or even friendly bacteria, otherwise known as intestinal flora. When an unbalance of these bacteria occurs, however, the result is often digestive unrest.

One of the best ways to introduce probiotics to your diet is through cultured dairy products like goat’s milk fermented kefir. Dairy products derived from goat’s milk and sheep’s milk can be easier on stomachs than those from cows, although dairy products from organic or grass-fed cows can be excellent as well. Goat’s milk is less allergenic because it does not contain the same complex proteins found in cow’s milk. Beyond Organic's green-fed dairy is also easy to digest because these dairy cows do not contain the Beta Casein A-1 gene which is described in detail in the article called: A “Beyond Organic” Standard for Dairy.

One recommended source of goat's milk is Mt. Capra's CaProtein. It is a is a premium quality goat-milk protein powder and provides a great source of fermented goat protein. CaProtein is minimally processed from goat milk collected from Mt. Capra's own farms to preserve it’s original composition. Most other milk protein powders are made from cow milk and use several harsh processing steps including heating at high temperature. CaProtein contains all essential amino acids for optimal health and is tolerated well by most people. Because Caprotein is partially predigested (lacto-fermented, it assists in digestion and absorption while providing the body with beneficial probiotics and enzymes.

And while we are on the subject of dairy … you may want to avoid consuming fluid dairy products, such as milk and ice cream, since they contain the milk sugar lactose. Instead, eat fermented dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, hard cheeses, cultured cream cheese, cottage cheese, and cultured cream. Why? Fermented dairy products contain little or no residual lactose, which is the type of sugar in milk that many find hard to digest.

Cultured and Fermented Vegetables:

Raw cultured or fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, pickled carrots, beets, or cucumbers supply the body with probiotics as well. Although these fermented vegetables are often greeted with upturned noses at the dinner table, these foods help reestablish natural balance to your digestive system.

Cultured vegetables like sauerkraut are brimming with vitamins, such as vitamin C, and contain almost four times the nutrients as unfermented cabbage. The lactobacilli in fermented vegetables contain digestive enzymes that help break down food and increase its digestibility. So, try some sauerkraut or pickled beets, which are readily available in health food stores.


Raw fruit is quite healthy but may cause digestive disturbances, so you may want to eat fruit in moderation. Fruit on its own has high sugar content, so consume fruits with fats and proteins, which will slow down the absorption of sugar. Limit your consumption to two or three fresh fruits daily, which can be consumed during snack time.

Try blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and grapes—fully ripened. And choose organic so that you avoid pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Try to eat fruits and vegetables in season, but you can also use frozen produce, since that often represents the best option for healthy fruits and veggies out of season. In the case of berries and certain fruits, the difference between fresh and frozen is minimal.

So, there you have it—foods that could help you avoid “a pain in the gut,” says Brasco.

Start eating better today and feel the difference. Your gut will thank you.

In addition to gut-friendly foods, it is also a good idea to supplementdaily with high-quality probiotics, like Garden of Life's Primal Defense Ultra, Primal Defense, or Primal Defense Kids probiotic formulas.

Garden of Life's Primal Defense formulas contain a unique whole food blend of probiotics with Homeostatic Soil Organisms (HSO). The HSO's in Primal Defense are important probiotics you would get in abundance if your food came from soil untouched by pesticides, herbicides and other widely used chemicals. To replenish the valuable probiotics our pasteurized, irradiated and disinfected food no longer provides, Primal Defense probiotics include 12 or more species of hardy beneficial microorganisms in the form of the HSO Probiotic Blend. Let the unique HSOs in the Primal Defense formulas take you to a new level of extraordinary health.


Primal Defense Ultra by Garden of Life

Primal Defense by Garden of Life

Primal Defense Kids by Garden of Life

CaProtein by Mt. Capra

Restoring Your Digestive Health

Live Beyond Organic book

Resource Articles:

A “Beyond Organic” Standard for Dairy

Beyond Organic Introduction

Three Legendary Whole Food Probiotic Supplements
for Health and Healing

Probiotics – Good for More Than just Digestive Health - May Help with Weight Management Too!

Enzyme Nutrition 101

Why Whole Food Vitamins Provide Superior Nutrition

Beyond Organic GreenFed Raw Cheese

Author's Bio: 

Jordan Rubin N.D. is one of the natural health industry leaders in whole-food supplemental nutrition. He is the founder of Garden of Life whole food supplements, author of several health and diet books including Restoring Your Digestive Health, N.Y. Times Best Seller "The Maker's Diet" and Perfect Weight America.

Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH is a Nutritionist, Herbalist, Author of “The "Cleanse Cookbook" and President & Founder of Christine's Cleanse Corner, Inc., (a nutritional company that specializes in nutritional & health education & Whole Food Vitamin Supplements. Christine is the Editor & Publisher of the free, online "Transform Your Health" Nutrition and Health E-Newsletter. She is also a Health/Nutritional Speaker & Teacher, & a Nutritional, Diet & Internal Cleanse Consultant, and a Live Beyond Organic Mission Marketer.

Christine is also the Official Self Growth Guide for Dietary Supplements. For more information about New Chapter, Garden of Life or Vitamin Code and other Whole Food Vitamin supplements and herbs, visit Christine on the web at: or call Christine's office at 858-673-0224.