You’ve probably heard of probiotics by now, but what are they, and how can you get more of them in your diet? Here’s why probiotics are great for gaining muscle, and the best food sources of probiotics you can eat regularly for optimal muscle growth.
WHAT PROBIOTICS DO
Probiotics – “good” bacteria – help keep your digestive system clean. What does this have to do with building muscle mass? The “cleaner” your gut, the better your body can absorb nutrition from the foods you eat. They also help your body regulate production of stress hormones, which can be damaging to your muscles over time.
Here are some of the best foods that contain probiotics.
Yogurt starts out as milk and is then fermented using live cultures of “good” bacteria. Many, but not all, yogurt still contains live bacteria even after processing. The probiotics found in yogurt will help you maintain a healthy gut as well as providing you with other essential nutrition.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product. Because fermentation requires live bacteria, you can probably guess tempeh has plenty of them per serving. It’s a product you can do almost anything with. You can add it to a rice dish, shape it into a patty and grill it – you can even fry it, if you really want to. It’s a great meatless protein source, too, if that catches your interest.
Pickles? Bacteria? Think of how long they’ve been sitting in that salt and water solution. They use their own lactic acid bacteria to ferment themselves, which is why they’re so sour. Throw them on top of your fresh tempeh burger and you’ll get your fix of probiotics in no time. Easy. But wait – don’t forget the cheese.
MOZZARELLA, CHEDDAR OR COTTAGE CHEESE
Not all cheeses have live cultures of bacteria in them, but mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese do, which means you now have the perfect excuse to put cheese on (almost) anything you want. Cheese is also a good source of protein, especially if you incorporate it into meals and snacks for better flavor and texture.
Good bacteria makes sure you can get the most out of every meal, so nutrients like protein don’t go to waste (literally). The more you can get out of your food, the more you – and your muscles – will benefit.