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The 3 Most Common Types of Probiotics

Posted by Meghan Wilson on
A salad with a fermented dressing next to it

At Cleveland Kitchen, our passion is introducing Americans to the delicious taste and health-boosting powers of probiotic-rich fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and veggie dressings.

While we often cover the sources and benefits of probiotics, we also find that many people lack a basic understanding of the different strains of this beneficial bacteria.

With their long, confusing names, many biological functions, and similarities to prebiotics, this confusion is certainly understandable!

To help explain some of the most prevalent strains of probiotics and help you unlock the flavorful benefits of fermented foods, Cleveland Kitchen proudly offers our Guide to Common Probiotics:

Probiotics vs. Prebiotics

Before we dive into varying categories of probiotics, it’s essential to explain the differences between prebiotics and probiotics:


Prebiotics are plant fibers that “feed” the population of healthy bacteria that already exists within your gut.

These fibers often reside in sources of complex carbohydrates, like fruits and vegetables, and are notably indigestible by your body.

This unique quality allows prebiotics to pass through your digestive system without interference and provides fuel and support to your gut’s healthy bacteria.


Probiotics are live forms of bacteria that, upon consumption, directly increase the population of beneficial bacteria in your microbiome (gut).

Unlike prebiotics, which only serve to feed healthy bacteria, probiotics can replace missing good bacteria and help your microbiome balance out any bad bacteria.

These essential functions underlie the value of probiotics to any healthy diet and lifestyle, as they can help increase our body’s natural defenses. 

3 Common Types of Probiotics

Now that you know more about how probiotics work, it’s time to break down three common strains: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, and Leuconostoc mesenteroides.

According to research from the National Institute of Health (NIH), these strains are among the most prevalent in fermented foods like krauts and kimchi:

Lactobacillus plantarum

Lactobacillus plantarum (a.k.a. L. plantarum) is a beneficial, live bacteria with a wide variety of healthful sources and beneficial uses that makes a natural home in your microbiome. 

This probiotic is a member of the Lactobacillus genus and has a long history of use as both an aid to fermentation and a microorganism to benefit the human body.

According to research from the NIH, it offers a number of potential benefits, including: 

  • Enhanced Immune Health: L. plantarum can help increase the presence of beneficial bacteria in your microbiome, making it easier for your body to fight off possible infections 
  • Improved Digestion: L. plantarum can help clear the digestive tract of harmful bacteria populations, making it easier for you to process and digest food successfully
    • Alleviated Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Distress: L. plantarum can help minimize bloating, stomach pain, difficult bowel movements, and other symptoms of an upset stomach

    If you’re looking to incorporate Lactobacillus plantarum in your diet, a wide range of delicious foods can help you do so:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Brined Olives
  • Kimchi
  • Lactobacillus brevis

    Lactobacillus plantarum (a.k.a. L. brevis) is another type of lactic acid bacteria that can increase the presence of healthy gut flora and boost overall health.

    Once again representing the Lactobacillus genus, this probiotic also has potential value for your gut and GI tract, immune system, and defense against harmful biological invaders:

    • Strengthened Protection Against Foodborne Pathogens: L. brevis can have a profoundly positive effect on your GI tract’s ability to fight pathogens like E. coli
    • Improved Immune Defense: L. brevis can help increase the presence and efficacy of white blood cells, making it easier for your body to fight off viruses
    • Increased Antioxidant Levels: L. brevis can offer a plentiful supply of antioxidants that help protect your body from harmful free radicals

    To add more L. brevis to your daily meal plans, we recommend options like:

    Leuconostoc mesenteroides

    While members of the Lactobacillus genus are the most prominent bacteria in probiotic foods, Leuconostoc mesenteroides (a.k.a. L. mesenteroides) plays a significant role in developing the essence and benefits of fermented foods.

    This probiotic is responsible for starting the fermentation of vegetables, reducing the incidence of unpleasant spoilage microorganisms, and ensuring that beneficial members of the Lactobacillus genus can thrive in fermented veggie mixtures. 

    Further emphasizing its importance, this strain also offers potential, critical benefits to humans:

  • Improved Immune Responses: L. mesenteroides can help the immune system stimulate body-wide reactions to harmful invaders
  • Bolstered Protection of Gastrointestinal Tract: L. mesenteroides can help protect your GI tract from falling prey to bacteria that leads to symptoms of distress
  • Improved Health for Intestinal Cells: L. mesenteroides can help keep intestinal cells healthy, strong, and functioning properly
  • To increase the presence of Leuconostoc mesenteroides in your healthy microbiome, check out flavorful, versatile foods like:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickled Vegetables
  • Kimchi
  • Bags of sauerkraut and kimchi, with bottles of fermented salad dressing

    Cleveland Kitchen and Gut Health

    Now that you understand the biological background and many benefits of common probiotics, it’s time to explore all the fermented goodness that Cleveland Kitchen has to offer.

    From our six styles of flavorful and crunchy krauts to our classic kimchi and our tangy and uber-versatile fermented veggie dressings, we make our foods with the health and nourishment of our customers, environment, and local farming community in mind.

    Plus, if you’re looking to up your probiotic game by cooking some delicious meals of your own, we also offer a diverse and easy-to-follow selection of recipes with fermented foods for people of all diets. 

    To learn more about Cleveland Kitchen’s mission to bring fermented foods like sauerkraut to the American diet, keep up with our weekly blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with our world of fermented foods!

    Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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