Probiotics have become one of the hottest trends for health, and for good reason. The right kinds can help nourish your gut bacteria for your physical and mental well being.* Yet, notice I say right kinds.
Today you can find probiotics in a wide variety of foods, from frozen yogurt to protein bars. While including probiotics in foods may be good for business, many of these products may offer few if any benefits, and may even work against your health.
Here are 7 fast facts about probiotics that you need to know:
- The most important thing to do before focusing on probiotics. For probiotics to do their job, you must optimize the conditions where these “good” bacteria will live and flourish. This starts with nourishing your microbiome with real food. The purpose of probiotics, whether in food or in supplement form, is to help balance your ratio of beneficial-to-bad bacteria in your gut. If you eat processed foods or foods with added sugars, they will do the opposite of what you want: they will nourish the potentially pathogen bacteria in your gut and crowd out the beneficial bacteria. The bad guys love simple sugars! On the other hand, pathogenic bacteria can’t thrive on and derive the energy they need for growth from healthy fats, proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fiber-containing foods. When you focus on eating real food that isn’t processed or doesn’t contain added sugars, you’re supporting the growth of your good, beneficial bacteria.
- The best sources of probiotics may not be what you think. If you ask a person whether or not they consume probiotics, you’re likely to get an answer similar to this, “Oh yes, I eat yogurt every day”. A whopping 44 percent of people who eat yogurt do so for health reasons. While yogurt is a traditional source of beneficial probiotic bacteria for your gut, today’s commercially mass-produced product is much different from yogurt made with cultured raw milk, either at home or from a trusted source. Many yogurt products aren’t even real yogurt! The majority of the yogurt sold at your local store is made from factory farmed, pasteurized, homogenized milk that may contain Monsanto’s genetically bioengineered hormone rBST, also know as rBGH, that’s injected into dairy cows to boost milk production. Pasteurization uses high temperatures to destroy bacteria present in the milk. If the manufacturer has added the probiotics before pasteurization, there will be no live cultures left in the finished product. If probiotics are added after heat treatment, you have a better chance of receiving some live cultures. Commercial yogurts also typically contain substantial amounts of sugar or other sweeteners, including artificial sweeteners. One 6-ounce carton of a popular brand of yogurt contains at least 20 grams of sugar! Because sugar feeds pathogenic bacteria, eating this type of sweetened yogurt most likely cancels out any potential benefits from the small amount of probiotics it may contain. Many brands of yogurt tend to offer a limited variety of probiotic strains. The more strains, the better, as different strains work in varying parts of your gastrointestinal tract. Not all strains can tolerate the harsh acidic conditions within your stomach. The bottom line is this: Unless you are eating brands of yogurt that have been verified for their probiotic content, you may be better off taking a probiotic supplement. There are brands of healthy yogurt that contain adequate amounts of live probiotic cultures. You just need to look for them, and you may have to ask your grocer to carry them. You can find the top brands listed in this latest edition of The Cornucopia Institute’s Yogurt Report
- The best real food sources of probiotics. So what’s a better food source of probiotics than most commercially produced yogurt? Cultured yogurt and other dairy products that have been traditionally fermented work well to nourish your microbiome. An excellent way to get healthy bacteria from your diet is to make your own homemade kefir from raw milk. Simple to make, just add some kefir starter granules to a quart of raw milk and leave at room temperature overnight. Ideally, choose unpasteurized raw milk. Kefir is inexpensive to make, once you’ve acquired the raw milk. You can reuse the kefir from the original batch about 10 times before you need to start a new culture pack. One package of kefir granules is enough to make 50 gallons of kefir. Plus, one quart has far more active bacteria than a probiotic supplement! My favorite source of probiotics is fermented vegetables that you can make at home. We make these regularly in our offices for our employees to include with their lunch. I usually eat a small serving with each meal.Continue reading follow link below.