Putting the “Pro” in Probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria and other microorganisms that help our bodies get the most out of our foods during digestion. There are five bacteria and/or yeasts that are considered “good” bacteria, hence the name “probiotic.” The most common probiotics are bifidobacterium, lactobacillus, and saccharomyces boulardii, which is a yeast. These microbiome bacteria and yeast balance the ones that already exist in the body. Every person’s body has a different microbiome, or combination of bacteria, yeast, and other organisms that contribute to a person’s overall health. They can be found in fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh, as well as some dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. There are a bunch of benefits to getting more probiotics in your diet, including aiding in digestion, absorption of nutrients, immunity, and more.

Digestion

Probiotics help your body effectively break down the food you eat and better absorb nutrients from it. The digestive system will be able to better regulate itself. A balanced gut reduces instances of constipation or diarrhea as long as the diet includes plenty of fiber-rich fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.There are probiotic supplements on the market that have varying levels and combinations of probiotics. However, the best way to introduce these beneficial bacteria and yeasts are through whole foods.   

Immunity

Probiotics help prevent harmful bacteria and other invaders from entering your body and making you sick. When enough of these probiotics line the gut, they become a barrier to illness.. Probiotics can also be essential for helping ease the symptoms of several chronic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, frequent urinary tract infections, and even eczema. Always talk to your doctor before taking probiotics for these conditions, as they can reduce the effectiveness of some medications. 

Nutrients

Research shows that probiotics can help the body better absorb calcium and iron: calcium helps keep bones strong, and iron is used to make healthy red blood cells. People often don’t get enough of these two nutrients in their diets, which make probiotics even more important for a person’s health. 

So, how do you go about adding more probiotics into your diet? Start with breakfast! Try this yogurt fruit crunch recipe with low-fat greek yogurt topped with your favorite fruit. Add sauerkraut to a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread for lunch, or have tempeh as your protein for dinner. What’s your favorite way to get more probiotics in your daily diet?

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