Do you like to eat bacteria?? I hope your answer was heck yes, but if it wasn't that's okay. I am hoping this blog post will change your mind.
Probiotics in most simple terms are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health and more specifically your digestive system. As you may or may not know, our bodies are filled with both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics help keep an optimal balance between the 'good' and 'bad' guys in your gut! They can be found naturally in our bodies, but are also added to different food products.
Ever wonder what the difference is between probiotic and prebiotic?
Prebiotics are also known as probiotic food. They are non-digestible food ingredients that 'feed' your gut bacteria and therefore feed probiotics. They promote the growth of the 'good' guys in your gut and are also known as fermentable fibre.
They can be found in lots of different foods including, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Bottom line: aim for a diet rich in fibre! Click here to learn more about where you can find fibre in different foods.
What do probiotics do for you?
They help keep your gut healthy and keep your bowels regular. Research has found probiotics to be helpful with various conditions including:
- infectious diarrhea (caused by bacteria, parasites etc.)
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- irritable bowel disease (IBD)
- has been helped reduce diarrhea caused by antibiotic use
That is only the list that has been supported by research. However, there is also research (that is currently limited) that suggests it also helps with different skin conditions and allergies.
Where can you find probiotics?
They are most commonly found in yogurt, milk, and cheese. You can find large amounts in kefir (a fermented milk drink). You can also find probiotics in fermented products like kombucha (fermented tea drink), sauerkraut, miso soup, and tempeh (similar to tofu).
There are also many different probiotic supplements on the market, however you do not need to take a supplement to be healthy or to have a healthy digestive system. Before taking one you should speak to your health care provider (e.g. registered dietitian or doctor).
If you are interested in including probiotics in your diet, here are some recommendations:
- include a yogurt as a snack (perhaps top it with fresh fruit and granola)
- enjoy smoothies with kefir instead of milk or water (it adds more thickness and also more bacteria)
- think about filling half your plate with fruits or vegetables at all meals. Including fruits and vegetables in your diet regularly will help ensure you are feeding your 'good' gut bacteria
- try using tempeh in a stir fry, it is similar to tofu but has more fibre and probiotics
If eating bacteria doesn't sound exciting to you, know that you can still have a healthy digestive system if you are eating a healthy and balanced diet (it is not fully dependent on your probiotic intake).
Be sure to check out some recipes on my blog (there are some great kefir based smoothies)!
Cheers to eating bacteria and keeping your gut happy! Can I get a heck yes!? :)
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right - Angela XO
Mary Jo DiLonardo (2017). WebMD. What are probiotics. Benefits, Supplements, Foods & More. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics#1
Eat Right Ontario (2016). The pros of probiotics. Retrieved from : https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Digestion/The-Pros-of-Probiotics.aspx