CookingLight diet CookingLight diet
Caitlin Bensel

It’s time to tend to the trillions of gut microbes crucial to good health. We cover the probiotic power of red wine, whip up a fermented veggie snack, and size up the next wave of yogurt, such as skyr (above).

Robby Melvin
May 08, 2018
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Remember This

Old-world probiotic dairy products are going mainstream. Here’s the lowdown on some of the newer arrivals to America’s supermarkets.

Kelsey Hansen

KEFIR
Say It: Kuh-FEER
Origin: The Caucasus Mountains between Europe and Asia Tasting
Notes: Tangy and sharp, faintly fizzy, and thin enough to drink
Benefits: Up to 30 strains of friendly bacteria, plus yeast not found in yogurt

SKYR
Say It: SKEER
Origin: Iceland Tasting
Notes: Milder than plain Greek yogurt and very thick (it’s technically a fresh cheese made from skim milk)
Benefits: Probiotic profile similar to Greek yogurt

RYAZHENKA
Say It: REE-uh-ZHEN-kuh
Origin: Russia/Ukraine Tasting
Notes: Made from baked milk, it has a caramelized color and buttery, tangy flavor
Benefits: Not yet widely studied, but since it’s baked milk fermented like kefir, benefits are likely similar

RELATED: How to Shop a Grocery Store for Gut Health—Plus 12 Probiotic Foods We Like

Eat This

Caitlin Bensel

CUCUMBER KIMCHI
Spicy, zingy fermented cukes deliver plenty of probiotics. The double-sealed water bag helps keep them submerged so they ferment thoroughly.

View Recipe: Cucumber Kimchi

Drink This

Kelsey Hansen

Red wine’s polyphenols help good gut bacteria flourish, but can you make it feel summery? Chilled Lambrusco to the rescue. Once a stale ’70s punchline, the improved generation of this Italian sparkling red is a worthy purchase. Cleto Chiarli Grasparossa di Castelvetro ($12) stands out: Fans of both sweet and dry wine can embrace this balanced bottle. Chiarli’s Vecchia Modena ($17) is more pink, like a dry sparkling rosé, and ideal for brunch or a celebratory toast.

Looks like we've been seriously overestimating what moderate drinking really is.

Try This

Caitlin Bensel

Another good reason to eat more whole grains: Studies show they help improve gut microbiota diversity. Although researchers have focused on entry-level grains like whole barley, corn, and oats, right now we’re loving the ancient grain einkorn (above). “The most ancient of all wheat varieties, einkorn is smaller than wheat berries but just as versatile. And some people with gluten sensitivities are able to tolerable it,” says Cooking Light Executive Editor and author of Everyday Whole Grains Ann Taylor Pittman. “Its chewy texture is great in soups, grain bowls, and pilafs.”

RELATED: Reboot Your Microbiome With Our 3-Day Gut Health Makeover

Snack on This

Kelsey Hansen

A bar with 10g protein; 1 billion probiotics and the fiber-packed prebiotics to fuel them; and the taste of decadent dessert sounds too good to be true. But it is, in fact, the Truth Bar. Of its four flavors, we’re obsessed with the Mounds-like Dark Chocolate Coconut and the Thin-Mintiness of Mint Chocolate Chip. $30 for 12