Let's be honest. Gut bacteria isn't the most glamorous topic to discuss, but gut health can be overlooked-- and an unhealthy gut can lead to some pretty gnarly illnesses. So what are probiotics, actually, besides something that yogurt brands like to tout? Why do we need them? And how do you get vegan probiotics?

The word "probiotic" comes from Greek meaning "good for life"-- and not just yours! Millions of tiny organisms make up strains of bacteria (think good bacteria, like how avocados are the good kind of fat).  Probiotic-rich foods generally have a few different strains of bacteria, which you can find on the label. Taking a probiotic supplement in some form can help with a whole host of problems, including encouraging a healthier immune system

Yogurt is the most common form of probiotics, but some people choose not to or simply can't eat dairy. What are our options? 

1. Kombucha

Kombucha has been pretty trendy lately: it's essentially just fermented tea and some kind of sugar. Kombucha is widely available and comes in tons of flavors. Some people find the taste vinegary, but the taste is usually mild and it can be an enjoyable drink. We love Kevita, or if you're looking for something more classic, try LIVE Soda's line-- they taste like soda, but with a fraction of the calories. 

2. Vegan Yogurts

Emma Cleland-Leighton

Looking for something a little more traditional? Why not try a vegan yogurt. They often have less protein than traditional yogurts, but you can get the gut health benefits without the dairy. Check out our review of dairy-free yogurt here. Since they're so widely available with so many options, dairy-free yogurts are one of the best options for vegan probiotics. 

3. Probiotic Drinks

It's in the name. Try GoodBelly probiotic shots or Good Karma's drinkable yogurt-- both are great for people on the go, or those with a soy sensitivity. 

4. Bob's Red Mill Protein Powder Nutritional Booster

On the one hand, that name is a mouthful. On the other hand, it's got protein, fiber, and probiotics, so I think it deserves a title. This powder is great for smoothies, baking, oatmeal, or just a classic protein shake with a gut healing boost. 

5. Purely Elizabeth Chocolate Sea Salt Probiotic Granola

How cool is this stuff? Chocolate, vegan, gluten-free-- all of my favorite words! Mix up your morning a little by starting the day with chocolate.