Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria that help us process our food and maintain our stomach’s delicate chemical and acidic balance. Sometimes, though, our stomach can become off-balanced by the introduction of bad bacteria, a viral infection, and what we consume.
Adding natural probiotics to your everyday diet is one of the best ways to keep your gut healthy, avoid stomach discomfort, and boost your immune system. The only problem is that many probiotics aren’t vegan.
Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story, though. There are a wide variety of vegan probiotics on the market that cater to the ever-growing demand for plant-based products.
Today, I’m going to show you the best plant-based probiotics that you should start incorporating into your diet.
I’ll show you some of the best vegan probiotic supplements as well as some of the best vegan probiotic foods if you prefer to consume them naturally instead of supplementally. It’s time to get your gut health back in check!
- Those looking for a vegan probiotic + prebiotic supplement
- Those looking for an ultra-concentrated probiotic supplement
- Mixing probiotics into smoothie
Are Probiotics Vegan?
While many people associate probiotics with dairy foods like yogurt, there are also plenty of vegan, plant-based probiotics to choose from as well!
I never gave much thought to my gut health until my mid-twenties when I started to experience some stomach inflammation and excessive gassiness.
So, during my next routine physical exam, I asked my doctor what I could do to reduce these aggravating symptoms.
She offered me two good pieces of advice:
The first is a great piece of advice for anybody. What we eat affects our entire body chemistry. Once your stomach’s delicate balance is upset, the rest of your body can experience pain, fatigue, and even illness.
Shortly after that doctor’s visit, I ended up switching to a plant-based diet. The stomach inflammation was just another reason to go vegan in a long list of other ethical and health-related reasons, so I figured it was time to change my lifestyle.
Even after going vegan, though, I still had a bit of inflammation from time to time, so I decided to give probiotics a try.
After doing a bit of research, it seemed like most probiotics came from dairy. Almost every article I read about probiotics mentioned yogurt or probiotic supplements that were derived from dairy.
After digging deeper, though, I found out that there are tons of plant-based probiotics that are 100% dairy-free. One of the most common sources of plant-based probiotics is fermented foods like natto and kimchi. I’ve reviewed several of these natural probiotic foods below.
Probiotics vs. Prebiotics: What’s The Difference?
As you’re shopping for probiotics, you’ll likely run across several prebiotic supplements as well. So, what’s the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?
Simply put, probiotics add good bacteria to your gut while prebiotics creates a good environment in your gut so your stomach can produce more of its own good bacteria.
Often, probiotics and prebiotics go hand-in-hand. Many supplements include prebiotic compounds as well as live probiotics.
The combination of the two creates an incredibly healthy environment for your stomach and can help with a number of digestive issues.
Vegan Probiotics: Why You Need Them
Okay, so probiotics are good for your stomach… But what do they actually do and do you really need them?
Perhaps your stomach is perfectly fine and you aren’t experiencing any pain or discomfort.
No matter how healthy you already are, though, adding some form of probiotics to your diet can contribute to your overall health. What happens in your gut usually radiates throughout the rest of your body.
For example, when your stomach is upset, it creates a more acidic, inflammatory environment in your body. This, in turn, can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to viruses, stomach bugs, and more.
The healthier your stomach is, the better your immune system will be and the more energetic you’ll feel. Recent research by John Hopkins University also indicates that better gut health often correlates with better mental health!
In short, the primary benefits of taking probiotics include:
- Reduced stomach inflammation (cramping, spasms, pain)
- Reduced symptoms of diarrhea
- Support a healthy immune system
- Can improve your mental health
- Can offset stomach pain caused by antibiotics
- Help your body absorb more nutrients from food
- Reduced fatigue and more natural energy
Probiotics are safe and healthy for everybody to take, so there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t give them a try.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, there’s a strong possibility that probiotics could help treat the underlying cause.
If you’re already healthy and happy, then probiotics can help you stay that way!
Are There Different Types of Probiotics?
There are a few main strains of probiotics that you should be aware of, as one or multiple are included in typical probiotic supplements. Here’s a quick table outlining the different types of probiotics you’ll come across:
|Lactobacillus plantarum||Enhances your immune health, can reduce digestive inflammation, and can rid your intestines of bad bacteria.|
|Lactobacillus brevis||Can fight off foodborne pathogens, boosts your body’s antioxidant levels, and boosts your immunity by increasing your white blood cell count.|
|Leuconostoc mesenteroides||Keeps intestinal cells strong and healthy, protects your stomach from bad bacteria and boosts your overall immunity.|
The Best Plant-Based Probiotic Supplements For Vegans
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for when shopping for probiotics, it’s time to show you my favorite supplements.
If you’re sticking to a strict diet or you just prefer to take a daily capsule, then a probiotic supplement is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you’re getting all of the probiotics that your body needs.
Supplements also have a longer shelf life than probiotic foods and are easier to travel with.
So, with that in mind, here are the best plant-based probiotic supplements for vegans.
1) Deva Vegan Probiotic with FOS Prebiotics Supplement (link)
Best For: Those looking for a vegan probiotic + prebiotic supplement
Unlike most of the probiotics I’ve tried, Deva’s Vegan Probiotic with FOS Prebiotics Supplement uses a unique strain of probiotic bacteria called bacillus coagulans.
It functions similarly to lactobacillus bacteria strains and provides reliable immune support as well as protection against foodborne illness.
One of the main benefits of taking b. coagulans is that this bacteria is already present in the human body. By working with what your body already produces, there’s a better chance that your body will absorb more of it, allowing you to get the best “bang for your buck.”
This product isn’t just a probiotic, though. Each serving also features 100mg of inulin, a plant-based dietary fiber and prebiotic that’s extracted from chicory and other roots.
This prebiotic can help your body regulate its blood sugar levels, promotes a healthy environment for probiotics to live in, and can even help treat constipation and irregular stools.
This probiotic + prebiotic supplement is also 100% vegan. The bacteria aren’t grown on dairy and are instead derived from plant-based sources.
The recommended daily dose is one capsule, which includes over two billion CFU of bacillus coagulans and 100mg of prebiotic inulin.
It’s also one of the most affordable vegan probiotic supplements on the market, which is another great reason to give it a try!
- Very affordable.
- Uses bacillus coagulans as the main probiotic, which is something your body naturally produces.
- Includes inulin as a natural prebiotic.
- Doesn’t need to be refrigerated to stay fresh.
- Has 90 capsules, which is a three-month supply.
- They recently changed packaging, so customers may get confused at receiving a different looking bottle.
2) Physicians Choice Probiotics 60 Billion CFU (link)
Best For: Those looking for an ultra-concentrated probiotic supplement
If you’re experiencing stomach pain, inflammation, and other gut-related problems, then you might need something a little stronger than the everyday probiotic that I reviewed above.
Physicians Choice Probiotic Supplement is one of the strongest, concentrated probiotic supplements that I’ve ever used.
Each capsule includes over sixty billion CFU (colony-forming units) of probiotic bacteria. Another thing that makes this probiotic so powerful is that it incorporates ten different types of probiotic bacteria, including several lactobacillus strains as well as bifidobacterium strains.
Simply put, when you take a capsule of Physicians Choice probiotics, you’ll be sending a legion of good bacteria into your gut.
If “lightweight” probiotics haven’t been doing the job for you, then this might just be the ultra-powerful probiotic you need to make a difference.
Like the previous supplement I mentioned, this is a two-in-one probiotic + prebiotic product.
Each capsule features a 150mg prebiotic blend that combines equal parts of Jerusalem artichoke root, acacia senegal, and chicory root. All of the prebiotics are also certified organic, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals making their way into your body.
The one downside of this supplement is that it’s a lot more expensive than the Deva probiotic that I reviewed above. That being said, this is a very concentrated supplement.
I’d say that the Deva supplement is more suited to everyday use, while this is better used if you’re experiencing more severe symptoms.
- Includes over sixty billion CFU of probiotics.
- Includes 150mg of organic, root-derived prebiotics.
- Certified vegan.
- Ultra-concentrated blend can help more severe conditions.
- It’s one of the more expensive probiotic supplements on the market.
3) Ora Organic Prebiotic & Probiotic Powder Supplement (link)
Best For: Mixing probiotics into smoothie
Some people just don’t like the idea of consuming a capsule every day or maybe are naturally forgetful when it comes to supplements. If so, then Ora’s Organic Prebiotic & Probiotic Powder is a great alternative.
Simply add a single scoop to your protein shake or a smoothie and you’ll be good to go! Each serving includes over twenty billion CFU of probiotics, made up of seven different bacteria strains from lactobacillus to bifidobacterium.
Although it’s not quite as concentrated as the Physicians Choice supplement I reviewed above, this is a great everyday supplement for those looking to balance their gut health and improve their overall health.
In addition to probiotics, this product also includes 4.4 grams of prebiotics derived from Jerusalem artichoke and tapioca. Compared to the usual 100 to 150mg dose of prebiotics in most capsules, this product contains far more prebiotics.
There are two different flavors available: apple raspberry and lavender lemonade. Of the two, I personally prefer the lavender lemonade, but the apple raspberry gets good reviews too.
- It’s a vegan probiotic powder, so you can mix it into a smoothie, drink, or food.
- It’s loaded with twenty billion CFU of probiotics.
- Each serving features 4.4 grams of organic prebiotics.
- Available in two delicious flavors.
- If you don’t like powders, then a capsule supplement may be a better choice for you.
The Best Plant-Based Probiotic Food & Drinks For Vegans
Probiotic supplements are a simple and easy way to get more probiotics in your diet. Just take one capsule every day and you’ll be good to go. However, some people don’t like to take pills or powders and instead prefer to eat natural food.
Thankfully, there are plenty of delicious probiotic-rich foods and beverages that are 100% vegan-friendly! So, without further ado, here are the best plant-based probiotic foods and beverages you can add to your diet.
4) Artizn Prebiotic Tonic, Variety Pack (link)
Best For: People who enjoy natural herbal tonics
Artizn Prebitoic Tonics is a delicious way to add natural probiotics, prebiotics, and antioxidants to your diet.
The taste and texture are similar to kombucha, but these traditionally-crafted tonics don’t have as much sugar and don’t taste quite as sour.
They also don’t have the slimy “SCOBY” bacteria floating around inside.
These beverages are made using a 3,000-year-old South Korean tonic recipe that combines naturally fermented vinegar with fruit and herbs. The available flavors are:
- Pomegranate Ginger
- Fig Pear
- Plum Yuzu
If you’re just getting into these drinks, I’d suggest getting the variety pack so you can decide which flavors you like best.
Each bottle contains just 25 to 40 calories (depending on the flavor), 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 10mg of sodium. All of the ingredients are organic and 100% natural, so you don’t have to worry about any GMOs, preservatives, or other questionable substances.
- Delicious, organic tonic that’s rich in prebiotics, probiotics, and organic acids.
- Low in calories and carbs.
- Made with 100% organic, all-natural ingredients.
- No added sugar or preservatives.
- Made with an ancient Korean recipe.
- Doesn’t contain quite as many probiotics as a supplement.
5) New York Natto Organic – Japanese Probiotic Superfood (link)
Best For: Those looking for a savory, organic superfood
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, then you may have noticed that I’ve been writing a lot about natto recently. This Japanese superfood is made by fermenting freshly-steamed soybeans. The result is a slimy, savory dish that’s known for its pungent umami flavor and odor.
While the dish itself can take a little bit of getting used to, it’s one of the healthiest foods in the world. Each serving of natto is loaded with bacillus subtilis (a healthy probiotic), natural vitamin K2 (which is great for bone health), and nattokinase (which is excellent for heart health).
If you’ve never tried natto, I’ll warn you- it’s not for everybody! The taste and texture can be a bit strange if you’re not used to sour, pungent-tasting foods.
The best way to reduce the pungency is to eat it with a generous portion of white rice and your favorite seasonings.
- All-natural traditional Japanese dish.
- Loaded with naturally-occurring probiotics.
- Produces nattokinase, which can prevent heart disease.
- 100% organic and free from any additives.
- The strong, pungent taste of natto is not for everybody.
6) Anarchy In A Jar, Artisanal Kimchi (link)
Best For: Those who don’t mind sour-tasting vegetables
Kimchi is a Korean staple that’s often served in Korean restaurants and can be found in Asian specialty supermarkets. Kimchi is made by salting vegetables (usually cabbage) and allowing them to naturally ferment.
The salt would keep away bad bacteria while allowing the good bacteria to populate.
The most flavorful kimchi is made by a longer fermentation process in the cold, and traditional kimchi was buried underground all winter to facilitate this. Modern kimchi is typically fermented in jars using a refrigeration process.
Anarchy In A Jar’s kimchi is 100% vegan. While traditional kimchi is made using fish sauce, this jar of kimchi is made using simple organic ingredients, including cabbage, radish, red pepper flakes, salt, garlic, onions, apples, ginger, chives, and sweet rice flour.
The natural fermentation process means that kimchi is loaded with naturally-occurring probiotics and prebiotics, making it one of the healthiest foods in the world for your gut health.
The flavor can be a bit sour for some. However, this can be overcome by eating your kimchi with a serving of rice! To learn more about how kimchi is made, check out this cool video:
- 100% organic and made in the traditional Korean manner.
- Loaded with natural probiotics and prebiotics.
- Doesn’t contain any fish sauce.
- Just the right amount of spiciness.
- As an artisan product, it is a bit expensive.
Conclusion – What Is The Best Plant-Based Probiotic Source?
If you’re just looking to improve your overall gut health, then consuming plant-based probiotic foods and tonics is probably your best bet. It’s healthy, natural, and tastes great!
However, if you’re experiencing more severe inflammation or discomfort, then a highly-concentrated probiotic supplement may provide more tangible results.
If you really want to take your health to the next level, then I encourage you to learn more about the raw vegan diet.
This diet consists of eating raw, uncooked foods and can have some truly awesome health benefits. To learn more, keep on reading about raw vegan weight loss in my next post here!