Category: Digestion | Probiotics
Probiotics: Should We Add Probiotics To Our Supplement Regimen?
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as:
“Living microorganisms that provide a health benefit to the host when ingested in adequate amounts.”
The living microorganisms we are talking about are the ‘good’ bacteria that already reside in our bodies. These bacteria assist our bodies in the proper digestion of what we consume, and helps protect our bodies from ‘bad’ bacteria.
The ‘good’ bacteria are quite plentiful, about 100 trillion little microorganisms, from about 500 different species. The two major ones are Bifido-bacterium and Lactobacillus, and there are other minor ones, but you’d like to know more of the details, please, check out ExperienceLife.com.
Now, these ‘good’ bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract (GI) are doing everything they can to destroy the ‘bad’ bacteria, eating undigested foods and micromanaging calories. Basically, they are our internal heroes!
Though these ‘good’ bacteria are quite plentiful naturally, we need to ensure that we are consuming them in our diets to maintain a positive balance. The foods to find probiotics to help reenergize our ‘good’ bacteria are:
- Sauerkraut – Go for the unpasteurized, as the pasteurization process will kill most of the good bacteria
- Acidophilus Milk and Buttermilk
- Kefir – A thick, creamy and tangy drink
- Yogurt (with live cultures)
- Kimchi (a spicy fermented cabbage common in the Korean diet)
- Dark chocolate (a good, high-quality chocolate)
- Tempeh – made fermented soybeans
- Microalgae – “Gram-for-gram microalgae may be the most nutrient dense food on Earth.”
- Miso – made from fermented soybean paste
- Pickles – Sour pickles in sea salt and water solution, try to stay away from those packed in vinegar
- Natto (a fermented soybean)
- Some soft cheeses (such as Gouda)
- Sourdough bread may also contain Lactobacilli
- Fruits such as bananas and tomatoes
- Vegetables like artichokes, green beans, leeks, asparagus
- Whole-grain breads
- Sourdough breads
- Maple Syrup
- Red Wine
Do We Need To Add Probiotics To Our Diet
According to Katherine Zeratsky, RD LD, Mayo Clinic nutritionist [*]…
You don’t necessarily need probiotics — a type of “good” bacteria — to be healthy. However, these microorganisms may help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria, just as the existing “good” bacteria in your body already do.
By eating a regular, healthy diet, we should be consuming all the Probiotics that we need. Unfortunately, a lot of us do not have optimal diets, we catch colds due to a shortfall in our diets, diseases and medications, and other factors may reduce the ‘good’ bacteria from doing their job.
And, let’s note, also, that one of the worst things we can consume is an overabundance of ‘antibiotics’, though essential to fighting diseases, our daily diets, due to the way foods and animals are raised, the average person is consuming way more than they should.
“Antibiotics can decimate life as we know it in the gut,” says Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterologist in Norfolk, Va., and founder of YourHealthChoice.net. “It’s like setting off an atomic bomb in the intestines.”
Is The Overconsumption of Probiotics Possible?
By eating a healthy diet high in probiotic foods will in no way be detrimental, and more times than not, what we may think is overconsumption of foods with probiotics, is not. The key here is to eat foods with probiotics in the healthiest form available. Look for natural, organic, unprocessed sources, find your local Farmers Market and fill up the fridge.
Benefits of Probiotics
Although more research is needed, there’s encouraging evidence that probiotics may help:
- Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
- Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
- Treat irritable bowel syndrome
- Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
- Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
- Prevent and treat eczema in children
- Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu
Side effects are rare, and most healthy adults can safely add foods that contain prebiotics and probiotics to their diet.
How About Probiotic Supplements?
Check with your doctor to be sure that they’re right for you, and make sure that your doctor is up on the latest science on Probiotics. And, especially if you are taking any type of medications.
Beware of Probiotics with Aggressive Claims
Probiotics may be found in both food and dietary supplements and may NOT make claims to prevent, treat, or cure any disease or condition.
Choose a Probiotic Supplement with an Expiration Date vs. Manufactured Date or “Best By” Date
Probiotics are live microorganisms and, therefore, should be alive when taken. To ensure you are getting the labeled amount of live bacteria as promised on the packaging, select a probiotic supplement that includes a clearly defined expiration date.
Manufacturers Do Matter
Beware of unknown brands, no matter how cheap. It’s important to select a product that’s made by a responsible manufacturer, quality control insures quality products.
Health and nutritional properties of probiotics in food including powder milk with live lactic acid bacteria, a joint FAO/WHO expert consultation. Cordoba, Argentina, 1 – 4 October 2001 | World Health Organization
Good Bacteria Welcome | ExperienceLife.com