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Probiotics

A supplement with the good bacterias that keep you healthy.

BACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

From yogurt to granola bars, probiotics are crowding grocery store shelves. Foods containing probiotics jumped from 24 in 2005 to 231 in 2008. That’s quite a spike.

So what actually are probiotics? Probiotics are live organisms, most of which are bacteria that are similar to the healthy flora we have existing naturally in our gut. Probiotics are present in certain foods like yogurt, kefir and other foods that are fermented naturally like miso and tempeh. You’ll likely see the terms, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium on a product containing probiotics. These are the two most common groups of bacteria and within these groups there are additional various strains.

Although science has yet to give us a definitive answer on what probiotics do, they are generally believed to help keep the healthy intestinal flora in our gut balanced thereby improving our digestion as well as enhancing the absorption of nutrients and giving a boost to our immune system. This balance is disrupted when we go on a course of antibiotics or acquire certain infections like periodontal disease, stomach infections or irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics are also being experimented with to treat these same diseases.

But it’s important to not go too probiotic overboard. Studies show that quality of probiotics in supplements and those added to food vary greatly and the health claims on the item’s label may be unproven. A rule of thumb is to look for a product that contains “live active cultures” on the label to know that you’re getting the real thing.

PRO
  • Probiotics can be used to support general wellness
  • May help to improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat
  • Early studies show encouraging effects for treating conditions with probiotics
CON
  • Quality varies from product to product
  • Health claims on package label may be unsubstantiated
DIET and NUTRITION

Probiotics are found naturally in the following foods: Yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, naturally-fermented pickles, soy drinks, and cottage cheese. These foods will only retain their probiotics if they are manufactured in ways that don’t destroy them.

Probiotics are now also added to scores of foods. Activia and DanActiv yogurts were some of the first products to come on the market, but now you can find probiotics in baby food, cereal bars, cheese and chocolate. You can also find probiotics in a supplement form.

Health experts recommend eating one serving of a probiotic-containing food once a day to receive health benefits.

EXERCISE

Not applicable.

CONCLUSION

Probiotics are microorganisms that are just like the healthy bacteria we have swimming around in our gut. While we still don’t know why or how probiotics are good for us, they are believed to help with our digestion and absorption of nutrients and support our immune system.

With the scores of probiotic products now available, it’s hard to determine which ones are best. Look for products that contain “live active culture” and consume foods that naturally contain probiotics. Very few side effects have been shown with consuming probiotics but to be on the safe side, you might want to talk to your health practitioner before using them.

Common Misspellings

Probitics, Probiotcs, Probiatics, Probyotics, Probiocs, Wholebiotics,


Related Diets: Detox Diet, CleanseRX, Wholebiotics, Candida Diet, Colonics


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