Can Probiotics Help Reduce Acid Reflux?

The churning, burning feelings associated with acid reflux can be miserable. And getting rid of the problem can be challenging.

Acid reflux can be caused by everything from eating spicy foods to stress to pregnancy. There are many medications designed to soothe the stomach and relieve symptoms, but a lot of people are concerned about their potential side effects. If you are one of them, you might be looking at other options, such as probiotics.

So, are probiotics for acid reflux the answer?

Here’s some information on the symptoms of acid reflux and the connection between probiotics and your digestive system.

Acid Reflux – The Basics

Acid reflux is, in a nutshell, a condition that occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Also known as gastroesophageal reflux, it can lead to a burning feeling not only in the stomach, but also the chest and even the mouth and throat.1

It’s similar to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), but the symptoms associated with GERD are usually more severe. They include difficulty swallowing, a significant amount of burning in the chest, and coughing.2

There are powerful drugs available to treat both acid reflux and GERD, both prescription and over-the-counter. However, many of these medications have been linked to potentially serious side effects. These include nutrient deficiencies (specifically vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium), weight gain, and an increased risk of bone fractures.3

How a Probiotic Supplement May Help

probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic AmericaIf you’re suffering from acid reflux or GERD, you might be interested in trying more natural methods to find relief. And probiotics, which are available in supplement form as well as through food, could be an option.

Before you try a probiotic to address any digestive issues you are facing, however, it’s important that you know what they are.

Probiotics are “good” microbes, such as bacteria and yeast. Your gastrointestinal tract, also known as your “gut,” is filled with trillions of microbes. Many of them are bad for you, but many others are beneficial. Probiotics provide reinforcements to those beneficial microbes.4

When your digestive system works properly, and your stomach acid is in check, you typically won’t have major stomach issues. One of the reasons why is that there’s a proper balance between good and bad microbes in your gut. But when something throws off that balance, and the “bad guys” outnumber the “good guys,” you might experience stomach issues.5

Many foods naturally contain probiotics, including sourdough bread, fermented milk, and sauerkraut. However, it can be difficult to get an ample supply of probiotics in your digestive system through food alone.

There are many types of supplements available that can help make sure you have enough beneficial probiotics in your stomach, as well as the rest of  your digestive system.probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic America

What the Research Suggests

There is some evidence that one of the contributing factors to acid reflux may be an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gut.6 There’s actually a name for this problem – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Because probiotics are designed to increase the number of beneficial microbes and the gut and inhibit the development of harmful ones, they may play a role in helping to stop the development of SIBO as well.7

Research on how probiotics for acid reflux may help is still in its early stages. However, early results are promising.

probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic America

People with acid reflux normally experience regurgitation of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. This, in turn, leads to the sour taste that patients often report.8

According to one study, supplementation with a strain of probiotic bacteria known as Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 resulted in a substantial decrease in regurgitation among infants.9

Acid Reflux – When to Get Medical Help

There are some instances where someone with acid reflux will need to get medical help for severe symptoms. Here are a few warning signs that you’ll need to see a doctor ASAP:

Stomach cramping

People with acid reflux will usually experience cramping in the stomach every once in a while. But if the cramps don’t go away, or if you pass black stools, seek medical attention immediately. There’s a chance you’ve developed bleeding in the intestines, or some sort of damage has occurred in your stomach.10

Severe coughing

If you can’t seem to shake your cough, get to a doctor. It can actually be a sign you have a severe case of GERD.11 Your doctor can confirm this, and help you determine the best course of action.

Unexpected weight loss

Acid reflux, and the resulting stomach acid, may make it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs from the food you eat. Over time, that could lead to not only weight loss, but also a weakening of the immune system.12

Chest pain

Obviously, any sort of chest pain will need to be checked out immediately. You might think it’s normal to have some chest discomfort if you have acid reflux, but always get medical attention to make sure it’s not something more serious.13

Wrapping it Up

Fortunately, acid reflux can typically be controlled. And you might want to see if probiotics for acid reflux can help you to find relief. Whether you plan on getting probiotics from food or supplements, talk to your doctor first about your options. Here’s to you finding relief!

Learn More About the Benefits of Probiotics:
Probiotic Skincare: A New Frontier in the Pursuit of Youthful Skin
9 Gut-Friendly Foods That Supercharge Your Health
12 Awesome Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus (including weight loss!)


Sources
1.https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315066.php
2.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heartburn/expert-answers/heartburn-gerd/faq-20057894
3.https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/combating-acid-reflux-may-bring-host-of-ills
4.https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-benefits-of-probiotics
5.https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3752184
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12038039
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3975977/ 9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21114493
10.https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/emergency-symptoms#call-your-doctor
11.https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315888.php
12.https://www.asge.org/home/for-patients/patient-information/understanding-gastroesophageal-reflux-disease
13.https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15851-gerd-non-cardiac-chest-pain

Is Probiotic Yogurt Just A Fad, Or Is It Truly Beneficial?

If you’re eating yogurt because you’ve heard it is beneficial for your digestive tract, be careful. While there are brands that contain live probiotic strains of beneficial bacteria, there are a lot of others that don’t. Plus, many brands are very high in sugar, which cancels out the benefits of probiotics.

That means you’ll want to do a little research first, to make sure the brand you buy is worth the money – whether it’s frozen yogurt, or other kinds of yogurt dairy products.

Here’s some information to help you make the best choice possible.

What Are Probiotics?

Before you get that frozen yogurt, it’s important that you have an idea of what probiotics are in the first place — they’re the bacteria that actually turn milk into yogurt… but they’re so much more.

There are trillions of microbes in the gut – and a lot of them are actually good for you. They help ensure your digestive tract works as it should. But there are a lot of bad ones as well. When there’s an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the gut, you’ll be more susceptible to digestive issues.1

Beneficial Bacterial Strains

Probiotic Yogurt | Probiotic America

When looking for probiotic yogurt to support your digestive tract, you’ll want to make sure whatever brand you choose contains beneficial bacteria cultures. There are several different strains associated with digestive health.

Look closely at the labeling of the products you’re considering, to see if they contain one or more of the following:

Bifidobacterium animalis lactis (B. animalis lactis)

This bacteria strain has been associated with a wide variety of health benefits. For example, research indicates that it can help strengthen the immune system.2 It may also help reduce the risk of respiratory issues in some instances.3

Bifidobacterium lactis (B. lactis)

B. lactis has been shown to help ease digestive issues, such as constipation.4

Lactobacillus casei (L. casei)

Studies show that L. casei may help prevent diarrhea.5 There is also evidence that the strain can help reduce the severity of symptoms in certain serious digestive conditions.6

Lactobacillus casei Shirota (L. casei Shirota)

This form of the L. casei strain has also been shown to reduce constipation.7 It may also play a role in strengthening the immune system in people who suffer from allergies.8

What to Avoid

Try to steer clear of yogurt with added sugar. Many types of low-fat yogurt have added sugar to provide more flavoring. Too much sugar in your diet could lead to certain health problems.9

Also, you might actually be better off buying probiotic yogurt that’s not low fat. The reason is that yogurt, and many other dairy products, contain a type of beneficial fat known as conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. Research shows that CLA may play a role in reducing your risk for heart problems.10

It’s important to note that many manufacturers are trying to take advantage of the fact that yogurt is considered to be a healthy food. They might sell yogurt, but if it doesn’t contain live cultures, it won’t provide you any probiotic benefits.

Look for products that have a seal that says “Live & Active Cultures”. These products not only contain beneficial bacteria, but they contain significant numbers of them.11

What Other Dairy Products Contain Probiotics?

If you like to expand your food horizons beyond probiotic yogurt, here are some other options that contain beneficial bacterial strains:

Kefir

Probiotic Yogurt | Probiotic America

This fermented dairy product is similar to a probiotic yogurt, but it has a unique, tart flavor. It’s typically higher in probiotics than the yogurt you’ll find on your grocery store shelves.12 You might be able to find it at your local supermarket, but there’s a better chance you’ll find kefir at your nearest health food store.

Cheese

There are several types of cheese that also contain probiotic strains. These include cheddar and mozzarella.1314

Milk

You will probably be able to find probiotic-enriched milk at your local health food store. For example, there are brands of milk fortified with the Lactobacillus acidophilus strain of good bacteria. This strain has been associated with helping to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.15

Wrapping it Up

Eating frozen yogurt, or other types of this popular dairy product, may help support the health of your digestive tract. But you should never introduce a new type of food to your dietary regimen without talking to your doctor first. They will let you know whether it will be safe for you to do so.

 

Learn More About Probiotics:
NEWS: Probiotics May Provide Help with Allergies
Best Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Gut Health
Probiotic Skincare: A New Frontier in the Pursuit of Youthful Skin


Sources
1.https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm
2.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21899798
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20863419
4.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19296845
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11220983
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15932981
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14631461
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18510694
9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23493538
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22296934
11.http://aboutyogurt.com/index.asp?bid=29
12.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28222814
13.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24905221
14.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22981567
15.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25954637

7 Amazing Health Benefits of Sauerkraut (And a DIY Recipe!)

Sauerkraut has been a staple of the European diet for thousands of years. While most people in the U.S. probably know it as a great addition to a hot dog or a Reuben sandwich, this fermented food is so much more. There’s actually a lot of health benefits of sauerkraut.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you might want to think about getting more sauerkraut into your dietary routine:

Probiotics and the Fermentation Process

The fermentation process is key to unlocking the health benefits of sauerkraut. Turns out, fermented food is preserved in a way that changes its chemical structure, producing beneficial bacteria known as probiotics.1

Now, you might not find the idea of willingly ingesting bacteria that appetizing. After all, bacteria are supposed to be bad for you and cause diseases, right?

But, your body is filled with trillions of bacteria. And while many of them are bad for you, many more are actually good for you. These beneficial bacteria help to offset the bad ones, helping keep your digestive system working normally. That’s why probiotics are so important.2

Benefits of Sauerkraut | Probiotic AmericaThe fermentation process has been used for thousands of years. It was key to preserving vegetables before the advent of refrigerators – even before canning. Fermented food undergoes substantial changes.3

Now, the type of fermentation that creates probiotic bacteria is known as lactic acid fermentation.

The lactic acid created during the fermentation process helps to keep harmful bacteria from forming.4

The probiotics found in fermented foods like sauerkraut can greatly lower the risk of suffering from several different types of health problems. These include digestive problems such as –

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Colitis
  • Obesity
  • Immune system disorders.5

A Nutritional Powerhouse

Sauerkraut is packed with nutrients – and it’s very low in calories. Just a one-cup serving contains only 27 calories. It also delivers 4 grams of fiber and a substantial amount of vitamin K (23 percent).6

Here are some of the amazing health benefits that have been associated with this humble dish made from fermented cabbage.

1. Immune System Support

The probiotics in sauerkraut play a role in helping maintain the health of the immune systems. They do so by helping prevent autoimmune reactions. These occur when the immune system mistakes healthy cells for dangerous invaders and attacks them.7

Probiotics have been shown to help the body fight infections. They can also help replenish the body’s supply of good bacteria after you take antibiotics.8

2. Cardiovascular Health

The fiber found in sauerkraut may help reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood. This, in turn, will help support the health of the cardiovascular system.9 There is evidence that probiotics can support cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure.10

There are two studies that show vitamin K can help reduce the risk of dying from heart disease. One showed that people who regularly ate foods rich in the vitamin were 57 (such as sauerkraut) percent less likely to die from the condition than people who didn’t have a significant vitamin K intake.11

3. Stronger Bones

Benefits of Sauerkraut | Probiotic America

The benefits of sauerkraut extend to keeping your bones strong, thanks to its high vitamin K content. Vitamin K not only helps support heart health, it also helps to promote improved bone health.

In one study, women who took supplements containing the vitamin saw a slower rate of bone density loss than those who did not.12 There is also evidence that vitamin K can help substantially reduce the chances of suffering a hip or spine fracture.13

4. Brain Health

Probiotics might even help your brain function better. Studies show that the bacteria in your “gut,” or gastrointestinal tract, send messages to the brain that help determine the way it perceives your environment.14

Sauerkraut and other fermented foods that are rich in probiotics help make sure there are plenty of good bacteria in the gut. Research indicates that a good supply of beneficial bacteria in the gut can help lower anxiety.15

5. Weight Loss

Because sauerkraut is low in calories and high in fiber, it can help you feel more satiated, or full, for a longer period of time. And a high-fiber diet helps lower the number of calories you take in each day.16

There is also evidence that probiotics can help lower the amount of fat that you absorb through the foods you eat.17 In one study, one group of participants was overfed on purpose while receiving probiotics. The other group also overate but received a placebo. According to the results, the group that took probiotics gained half the body fat of the participants in the placebo group.18

6. Better Digestion

Probiotics can also help replenish the body’s supply of good bacteria after you take antibiotics.19 This is important in regard to digestive health because antibiotic use can sometimes result in a condition known as antibiotic-associated diarrhea, or AAD.

AAD occurs because antibiotics not only kill harmful bacteria but good ones as well. As a result, there are not enough beneficial bacteria to balance out the harmful ones that survive the antibiotic regimen. This, in turn, can lead to stomach problems.20

But probiotics can help with other digestive issues as well. They can, for example, help reduce the symptoms associated with problems such as irritable bowel disease.21

7. Antioxidant Properties

The fermentation process, when used in making sauerkraut, produces lactic acid, which has antioxidant properties.22 Antioxidants are important because they help protect the body from the effects of oxidization.

In particular, they inhibit the development of free radicals. These are molecules that are missing an electron and scour the body looking to find it. Free radicals take electrons from cells. This, in turn, can lead to severe tissue damage.23

Recipe: Making Your Own Sauerkraut

Benefits of Sauerkraut | Probiotic AmericaYou can buy sauerkraut at just about any grocery store, of course. But if you’re the adventurous type and want to learn more about the fermentation process you can easily make it yourself at home. Here’s how.

1. Pour about 10 cups of shredded cabbage in a plastic or ceramic bowl with a teaspoon of salt. Release the juices of the cabbage by stirring thoroughly. The bowl can’t be metallic because of the way the metal will react with the salt.

2. Add a cup of water, a teaspoon of pickling salt, 10 juniper berries, and a teaspoon each of caraway seeds and yellow mustard seeds. Mix thoroughly.

3. Put the mixture into a sterilized canning jar. Then pack the mixture using a wooden spoon.

4. Next, pour some water mixed with pickling salt (one teaspoon of salt for each cup of water) into the jar. Pour enough to fill the jar, leaving ¼ inch of space under the lid.

5. Place the jar in an area between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit for two-and-a-half to three weeks. You’ll notice the contents will start to bubble after a few days, but this is normal. It’s a sign that the fermentation process is working.

6. Once the bubbling stops add some more of the pickling salt/water mix if the level of the sauerkraut has gone below the rim of the jar.

7. You’ll probably see a film at the top. Scrape them off. The sauerkraut will then be ready to eat. Keep the jar in the refrigerator until all the sauerkraut is gone.24

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the fermented benefits of sauerkraut are incredibly far-reaching. But before you start making it a part of your dietary regimen, talk to your doctor first to make sure he or she agrees that it will be right for you.

Learn More:
12 Awesome Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Probiotic Skincare: A New Frontier in the Pursuit of Youthful Skin
NEWS: Probiotics May Provide Help with Allergies


Sources
1.http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/73/2/374s.full
2.https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm
3.https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-fermented-foods
4.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123739445001516
5.https://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm
6.http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2614/2
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19584499
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16696665
9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21776465
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25047574
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15514282
12.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23525894
13.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16801507
14.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904694
15.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23497650
16.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224414002386
17.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25884980
18.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26466123
19.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16696665
20.http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/gastroenterology/antibiotic-associated-diarrhea
21.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19220890
22.http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08905436.2012.755694
23.https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/10/antioxidants-explained-why-these-compounds-are-so-important/247311
24.https://www.thespruce.com/homemade-german-sauerkraut-1447249

Probiotic Skincare: A New Frontier in the Pursuit of Youthful Skin

What do you think of first when you read the word ‘probiotics’? Gut health, right?

Well, it turns out probiotics can help you with so much more than your digestion. For instance, have you heard about probiotic skincare?

If you’re struggling with unsightly blemishes, discoloration, or some other type of skin issue, there is a chance that probiotics could help.

Let’s take a closer look…

The Basics

If you’re taking a probiotic, you’re taking a capsule full of beneficial bacteria in order to boost the “good” bacteria already in your system. Probiotics are also found in foods such as sauerkraut and yogurt. And there’s been a lot of buzz about how they can help your digestion for years now…

But these days, there’s more and more evidence that probiotics may help more than just your gut — welcome news for people suffering from issues such as acne, eczema, and rosacea.1

Topical Products For Probiotic Skin Care

Lactobacillus Acidophilus | Probiotic America News

There are quite a few probiotic skin care products on the market now, and many of them are topical — meaning you apply them to the surface of your skin. These include cleansers, creams, and masks.

And these work because your immune system works for your whole body — including your skin. In some cases, the immune system senses that there are foreign microorganisms present on the surface of your skin, and it reacts by fighting those invaders. And that’s great, until it leaves behind pain, redness, swelling, and blemishes in its wake.2,3

A topical probiotic can also keep your immune system from attacking perceived threats to the skin.4

That’s because the beneficial bacteria in this type of product could neutralize or crowd out bad bacteria — so what’s left on your “skin microbiome” is actually good for you. And that, in turn, could prevent the cells of the skin from producing an immune system response.5

The “skin microbiome” is a term used to describe the overall community of microbes that live on the skin. It’s very important that the skin microbiome has a good balance between beneficial and harmful microbes. If there are too many harmful bacteria present, it can lead to skin problems.6,7

Oral Probiotics and Skin Care

Oral probiotics can also help people suffering from skin issues.8

Probiotic Skin Care | Probiotic America

Lots of supplements contain groups of beneficial bacteria known as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. These bacteria have an effect known as the “gut-brain-skin axis effect.”

You see, stress and a poor diet can lead to a slowing of the digestive process.9  As a result, unhealthy bacteria can overtake the gut and weaken the gastrointestinal tract allowing toxins to enter the bloodstream. This string of events can result in the development of frustrating skin issues.10

However, recent studies show a relationship between oral probiotics and an improvement in skin conditions. For example, one study involving nearly 60 acne sufferers showed that drinking a beverage fortified with Lactobacillus bacteria saw a decrease in acne lesions.11

In another study, half of the participants received an oral probiotic supplement to take with their usual treatments for rosacea and acne. The other half only received their standard treatments.

The group taking the probiotic saw a bigger improvement in symptoms than the group that did not receive the supplement.12

Probiotic Skin Care | Probiotic America

There’s also evidence suggesting that probiotics may be able to help support your body as it builds collagen — the substance that helps makes your skin appear firmer. As a result, probiotics could potentially help reduce wrinkling and the other visual signs of aging skin.13

Another potential benefit of probiotic skin care is the ability of beneficial bacteria to promote the production of ceramides. These are molecules that act as a sort of “glue,” helping skin cells bond together. And they play a key role in helping to moisten the skin.14

Turns out, probiotic products help to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria by producing lactic acid. Lactic acid not only reduces the number of bad bacteria on the skin, it also helps good bacteria flourish.15

Wrapping Things Up

Research is only beginning to expose the potential of probiotic skin care. But if the early results are any indication, it appears that probiotics can deliver substantial benefits that could help greatly improve your appearance.

As with any new skin care regimen, however, talk to your doctor first to make sure he or she agrees that it will be safe to try probiotic products.

Learn More:
9 Gut Friendly Foods That Supercharge Your Health
NEWS: Probiotics May Provide Help with Allergies
Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics (a complete guide)


Sources
1.https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/health/acne-eczema-skin-bacteria.html
2.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rosacea/symptoms-causes/syc-20353815
3.https://www.rosacea.org/patients/causes/immunesystem
4.https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/could-probiotics-be-the-next-big-thing-in-acne-and-rosacea-treatments
5.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352647515000155
6.https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316803.php
7.https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/02/a-personalized-probiotic-skin-cream-made-with-a-persons-own-microbes/517473
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038963
9.https://www.healthline.com/health-news/are-probiotics-answer-to-acne
10.https://nypost.com/2016/04/06/the-secret-to-sofia-vergaras-gorgeous-skin
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20692602
12.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/27e8/56f9a1df44e1f81729c1b293ea3b1179f089.pdf
13.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jam.12137/full
14.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18336739
15.http://dermatologytimes.modernmedicine.com/dermatology-times/news/skincare-products-probiotics

Is There a Downside to Probiotics? (and which type is best)

Advertisements for probiotic supplements are all over the place. It seems that you can’t turn on your television or browse the Internet without seeing one. But there’s a good reason: Millions of people have taken these products, and for many different reasons.

Of course, some want to address a digestive issue. Others are looking for something that will help their overall health.

But whatever your reason, it’s important that you know as much as possible about how probiotics can actually help you before you make your purchase, including are there side effects of probiotics?

So, check out the info and tips below. These will help you discover the right types of probiotics for you and your family.

What is a Probiotic Supplement?

Let’s start with the word probiotic. Simply, it means to promote life.

And probiotics are actually alive. In fact, they’re the beneficial bacteria and other microbes in your “gut” or gastrointestinal tract.

Turns out, there are trillions of little microscopic organisms inside of you. And many of them are good for you, but some of them are quite harmful.

However, when there’s a good balance between good and bad microbes, your digestive system will typically work properly. But if the bad bacteria outnumber the good, it can lead to digestive problems.1

Now, a probiotic supplement is a product that’s designed to provide reinforcements to your supply of good bacteria.

Of course, you can find beneficial microbes in many kinds of foods. These are mainly fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. But it can be extremely hard to ensure you have enough beneficial bacteria in your gut through diet alone.

That’s why lots of people turn to supplements.

The Benefits of Probiotics

What does science have to say about how probiotics can improve your health? Here are a few reported benefits, backed by solid scientific evidence.

· Respiratory issues – Research shows that probiotic use could help reduce the risk of certain kinds of respiratory concerns… including catching a cold.2 In fact, in one study children were divided into two groups: One group received milk enriched with probiotics and the other received regular milk.
According to the results, the children who drank the regular milk were 17 percent more likely to suffer an upper respiratory infection than the group who drank the probiotic enhanced milk.3

· Occasional Constipation – Probiotics can benefit bowel function as well. In one study, people suffering from constipation received two servings of yogurt with probiotic bacteria daily for several weeks. At the end of the study, the participants reported they not only had increased bowel movements but also a reduction in bloating.4

· Feminine problems– Good and bad bacteria not only fight for control of the gut, but also the female reproductive system. When some women take antibiotics or birth control pills, they often develop yeast and urinary tract infections. A probiotic supplement can inhibit some of the bad bacteria that can cause these problems.5

· Occasional Diarrhea – Antibiotics can really help nurse you back to health once in a great while, but they can also seriously deplete the number of good bacteria in your gut that results in loose stool. And this condition actually has a name: antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). The lactobacillus group of bacteria found in many types of probiotic supplements have been shown to help relieve many of the symptoms associated with AAD.6

side effects | Probiotic America

· Oral health – Finally, the health of your mouth can actually have a significant impact on your general health—just as there is good and bad bacteria in your gut, there’s also the same in your mouth. That’s why it’s important to support your mouth’s good bacteria with good oral care. The Lactobacillus reuteri bacterium has been shown to help strengthen oral health and reduce tooth decay.7

So, now that you know how probiotics can help you, you just need to…

Find the Right Probiotic Product

Now, you probably already know there are thousands of probiotic supplements on the market. It can be difficult to narrow down your choices and find the supplement that’s right for you.

That’s why it’s so important you carefully look at the labels of the products you’re considering. They provide key clues that can give you a good idea of whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth.

Furthermore, you’ll want to check on the number of good bacteria per serving.

This number will be measured in colony forming units, or CFUs. This is the amount of bacteria in a supplement that have the ability to divide and form colonies.

Now, here you’ll probably see a wide range of numbers. Some products offer 100s of millions of CFUs per serving, while others have CFUs in the trillions. Most products will provide anywhere from 15-30 billion.

The next thing you need to know when you’re looking at probiotic labels…

Bacterial Strains

Of course, it’s super important to know the strains of good bacteria in the probiotic products you’re considering. Here are just a few that should be in whatever you eventually purchase.

· Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum)

This is one of the first strains of bacteria that develop in the body. It’s really important when it comes to helping your gut stay healthy and it’s a great strain for helping you metabolize carbohydrates.9,10

· Lactobacillus acidophilus

L. acidophilus is a very important strain of good bacteria. It plays a vital role in inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Also, it helps ensure that there is the right balance between beneficial and harmful microbes in the gut.11

· Lactobacillus reuteri

This is another bacterial strain that inhibits the growth of harmful microbes. It’s called L. reuteri and it also helps strengthen your immune system.12

side effects | Probiotic America

Are Probiotic Supplements Safe?

In general, probiotic supplements are safe for the vast majority of people. In select cases, some people report minor issues like bloating or gas, but that’s about it.

But, no matter what your health may be like, talk to your doctor before taking any sort of probiotic product. They will have a good idea of how ingesting beneficial bacteria could affect your gut.

But your doctor will know something even more important – whether or not a probiotic will interact with any medications you might be taking. So, definitely check in with your healthcare professional.

And remember, when you take a probiotic, you’ll be adding billions of good bacteria to your digestive system. While this is a good thing, you’ll still be affecting the balance of microbes in your gut. It might take a few days for your system to adjust. It’s during this time that you might experience minor bloating and gas.14 But those effects usually subside quickly.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, taking a probiotic supplement can provide many different health benefits. And the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for the majority of people.

However, you should still talk with your doctor first to make sure it will be safe for you to start a probiotic regimen.

Again, you want to pay close attention to what your body is telling you. If, for example, you’re experiencing side effects after three or four days, talk to your doctor to see if you might need to stop your probiotic regimen.

More ways to add probiotics to your diet:

Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)

Sources
1 https://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm
2 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006895.pub2/abstract
3 http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7298/1327
4 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03362.x/full
5 http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
6 http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.904.1374&rep=rep1&type=pdf
7 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160504001552
8 https://isappscience.org/probiotics
9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10831430
10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3145055/
11 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1988.tb09312.x/abstract
12 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3871281/
13 https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm
14 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/probiotics_n_5563618.html

Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics (a complete guide)

Advertisements for probiotics supplements are all over the place. It seems that you can’t turn on your television or browse the Internet without seeing one. But there’s a good reason –

Millions of people have taken these products, and for many different reasons.

Of course, some want to address a digestive issue. Others are looking for something that will help their overall health.

But whatever your reason, it’s important that you know as much as possible about how probiotics can actually help you before you make your purchase.

So, check out our simple probiotics guide with info and tips below. It’ll help you discover the right types of probiotics for you and your family.

What is a Probiotic Supplement?

Let’s start with the word probiotic. Simply, it means to promote life.

And probiotics are actually alive. In fact, they’re the beneficial bacteria and other microbes in your “gut” or gastrointestinal tract.

Turns out, there are trillions of little microscopic organisms inside of you. And many of them are good for you, but some of them are quite harmful.

However, when there’s a good balance between good and bad microbes, your digestive system will typically work properly. But if the bad bacteria outnumber the good, it can lead to digestive problems.1

Now, a probiotic supplement is a product that’s designed to provide reinforcements to your supply of good bacteria.

Of course, you can find beneficial microbes in many kinds of foods. These are mainly fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. But it can be extremely hard to ensure you have enough beneficial bacteria in your gut through diet alone.

That’s why lots of people turn to supplements.

The Benefits of Probiotics

probiotics benefits

What does science have to say about how probiotics can improve your health? Here are a few reported benefits, backed by solid scientific evidence.

Respiratory issues – Research shows that probiotic use could help reduce the risk of certain kinds of respiratory concerns… including catching a cold.2 In fact, in one study children were divided into two groups: One group received milk enriched with probiotics and the other received regular milk. According to the results, the children who drank the regular milk were 17 percent more likely to suffer an upper respiratory infection than the group who drank the probiotic enhanced milk.3

Constipation – Probiotics can benefit bowel function as well. In one study, people suffering from constipation received two servings of yogurt with probiotic bacteria daily for several weeks. At the end of the study, the participants reported they not only had increased bowel movements but also a reduction in bloating.4

Feminine problems – Good and bad bacteria not only fight for control of the gut, but also the female reproductive system. When some women take antibiotics or birth control pills, they often develop yeast and urinary tract infections.A probiotic supplement can inhibit some of the bad bacteria that can cause these problems.5

Diarrhea – Antibiotics can really help nurse you back to health once in a great while, but they can also seriously deplete the number of good bacteria in your gut that results in loose stool. And this condition actually has a name: antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). The lactobacillus group of bacteria found in many types of probiotic supplements have been shown to help relieve many of the symptoms associated with AAD.6

Oral health – Finally, the health of your mouth can actually have a significant impact on your general health—just as there is good and bad bacteria in your gut, there’s also the same in your mouth. That’s why it’s important to support your mouth’s good bacteria with good oral care. Low birth weight and blood sugar issues are just two health problems that have been associated with poor oral hygiene. The Lactobacillus reuteri bacterium has been shown to help strengthen oral health and reduce tooth decay.7

So, now that you know how probiotics can help you, you just need to…

Find the Right Probiotic Product

Now, you probably already know there are thousands of probiotic supplements on the market. It can be difficult to narrow down your choices and find the supplement that’s right for you.

That’s why it’s so important you carefully look at the labels of the products you’re considering. They provide key clues that can give you a good idea of whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth.

You want to make sure the label provides information about the viability of the bacteria contained in each specific product. Viability simply means whether or not the microbes will be alive when you ingest them. If the label says the bacteria were viable at the time of manufacture, that really doesn’t tell you anything. You have no idea whether or not they’re still alive.

You need to make sure your product labels say something like, “viable until expiration date”.

If you see that phrase or something like it, chances are you’re about to purchase a truly helpful probiotic. Thing is, the microbes inside need to be alive to do their job in your gut. As long as you follow the storage instructions, the product should work.8

Furthermore, you’ll want to check on the number of good bacteria per serving. This number will be measured in colony forming units, or CFUs. This is the amount of bacteria in a supplement that have the ability to divide and form colonies.

Now, here you’ll probably see a wide range of numbers. Some products offer 100s of millions of CFUs per serving, while others have CFUs in the trillions. Most products will provide anywhere from 15-30 billion.

The next thing you need to know when you’re looking at probiotic labels…

Popular Probiotic Strains

probiotic strains
Of course, it’s super important to know the strains of good bacteria in the probiotic products you’re considering. Here are just a few that should be in whatever you eventually purchase.

Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) – This is one of the first strains of bacteria that develop in the body. It’s really important when it comes to helping your gut stay healthy and it’s a great strain for helping you metabolize carbohydrates.9,10

Lactobacillus acidophilus – L. acidophilus is a very important strain of good bacteria. It plays a vital role in inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Also, it helps ensure that there is the right balance between beneficial and harmful microbes in the gut.11

Lactobacillus reuteri – This is another bacterial strain that inhibits the growth of harmful microbes. It’s called L. reuteri and it also helps strengthen your immune system. Of course, this can help provide protection against several different kinds of serious illnesses and health issues.12

Are Probiotic Supplements Safe?

In general, probiotic supplements are safe for the vast majority of people. In select cases, some people report minor issues like bloating or gas, but that’s about it.

But, no matter what your health may be like, talk to your doctor before taking any sort of probiotic product. They will have a good idea of how ingesting beneficial bacteria could affect your gut.

But your doctor will know something even more important – whether or not a probiotic will interact with any medications you might be taking. So, definitely check in with your healthcare professional.

And remember, when you take a probiotic, you’ll be adding billions of good bacteria to your digestive system. While this is a good thing, you’ll still be affecting the balance of microbes in your gut. It might take a few days for your system to adjust. It’s during this time that you might experience minor bloating and gas.14 But those effects usually subside quickly.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, taking a probiotic supplement can provide many different health benefits. And the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for the majority of people.

However, you should still talk with your doctor first to make sure it will be safe for you to start a probiotic regimen.

Again, you want to pay close attention to what your body is telling you. If, for example, you’re experiencing side effects after three or four days, talk to your doctor to see if you might need to stop your probiotic regimen.

Sources
1. https://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm
2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006895.pub2/abstract
3. http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7298/1327
4. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03362.x/full
5. http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
6. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.904.1374&rep=rep1&type=pdf
7. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160504001552
8. https://isappscience.org/probiotics
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10831430
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3145055/
11. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1988.tb09312.x/abstract
12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3871281/
13. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm
14. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/probiotics_n_5563618.html

12 Awesome Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus (including weight loss!)

If you have done any research into probiotic supplements, you’ve likely run across a lot of long, Latin terms. They’re used to describe certain types of beneficial bacteria found in most probiotic products. One of the most important is Lactobacillus acidophilus. That’s a mouthful, to be sure, but this bacteria strain is offers a myriad of health benefits.

What is Acidophilus?

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria that feeds on sugars provided by the food you eat. You want to increase the amount of this strain in your “gut,” or gastrointestinal tract. Lactobacillus acidophilus and other “good” bacteria can help counteract “bad” bacteria. When there’s balance between good and bad microbes in the gut, your digestive tract will usually work as it should. But when the bad ones outnumber the good, you may be at risk for many types of digestive problems.1

Lactobacillus acidophilus is associated with many health benefits. Here are 12 ways this bacteria can benefit your health:

1. Helps With Feminine Infections

There is some scientific evidence that women who take suppositories containing Lactobacillus acidophilus may find relief from bacterial vaginosis. This is a relatively mild infection in most instances, but there are rare occurrences of more severe complications.2

2. Reduces Symptoms of Traveler’s Diarrhea

Everybody has to deal with the frustration of discomfort of diarrhea at one time or another. There is one particularly troublesome version of the condition. It’s known as “Montezuma’s revenge,” or traveler’s diarrhea. It often strikes people who visit underdeveloped countries. These countries often have contaminated water or food. Research indicates that Lactobacillus acidophilus could help reduce symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea.3

3. ReDuCES IBS Symptoms

One of the most common diseases of the gut is irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. This condition can make life miserable, forcing sufferers to head for the nearest bathroom at a moment’s notice. Studies show that Lactobacillus acidophilus helps to ease inflammation in the gut. According to research, the strain helps to reduce the activation of blood platelets. A high blood platelet count is one of the indications of IBS.4

4. May Help Manage Cholesterol Levels

Studies show that Lactobacillus acidophilus may help lower “bad” cholesterol levels.5 In one study, people who took a probiotic containing the strain saw a major reduction in LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels.6 In another study, participants who ate yogurt containing 300 grams of Lactobacillus acidophilus also saw an improvement in their ratios of good vs. bad cholesterol.7

5. Inhibits Allergic Reactions

allergies | Probiotic AmericaThere is evidence that Lactobacillus acidophilus could help people suffering from allergic asthma. This is the most common form of asthma, affecting approximately 60 percent of the estimated 25 million people in the U.S. who have the condition. Allergic asthma occurs when an allergen triggers a reaction. Common allergens include mold, dust, pet dander, and pollen.8

One study suggests Lactobacillus acidophilus may help inhibit an allergen’s ability to trigger an asthma attack.9

6. Boosts Immunity

Your immune system is key to your health. It helps to protect you from infections, and it also helps you heal from an injury. According to research, taking Lactobacillus acidophilus regularly could help strengthen your immune system. In one study, researchers studied children who frequently suffered from the common cold. Those who ate food rich in Lactobacillus acidophilus for three months saw a reduction in their symptoms. According to the study’s results, the children developed colds less often.10

7. Improves Absorption of Nutrients

If your body can’t do a proper job of absorbing nutrients from the food you eat, that can lead to major health problems. Certain nutrients can be hard for us to get from food, such as rutin. However, rutin is in citrus fruits, apples, and black and green tea—which helps promote blood circulation. Research indicates that Lactobacillus acidophilus helps the body absorb rutin, to your benefit.11

8. Protects Against Gut Infections

There are indications that Lactobacillus acidophilus may help inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori. This is a harmful bacterium that can cause peptic ulcers. It’s unclear how H. pylori spreads. Researchers believe unclean water and food may be to blame.12-13

9. Eases Eczema / InHibits ECzema in NewBorns

If your skin becomes itchy, painful, and inflamed on a regular basis, you might have a condition known as eczema. One of the most common forms of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Lactobacillus acidophilus may help reduce the symptoms of this condition.14

In one study, researchers provided a mixture of Lactobacillus acidophilus and other beneficial bacteria to pregnant women. They gave the mixture to the women, as well as their infants, three months after delivery. According to the results, the children given the mixture were 22 percent less likely to develop eczema than those who did not receive it.15 In another study, researchers found that children who received Lactobacillus acidophilus in combination with standard medical treatment showed fewer symptoms of atopic dermatitis.16

10. Strengthens the Gut

The gut contains trillions of bacteria. Again, many of them are good, but many of them are harmful. Lactobacillus acidophilus helps bolster the number of beneficial gut bacteria. It also helps increase the amount of something called butyrate in the gut.17 Butyrate is a fatty acid that is very important for maintaining gut health.18

11. Reduces Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

Lactose intolerance can be a serious issue for some people. It can lead to a host of digestive problems, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. It occurs due to an inability to digest lactose, which is a sugar found in many kinds of dairy products. According to a study, Lactobacillus acidophilus could help reduce these symptoms.19

12. Inhibits Acne

Lactobacillus Acidophilus | Probiotic America News

Lactobacillus acidophilus, and other beneficial bacteria in probiotics, might help clear up acne. These beneficial bacteria, according to research, may also help patients better tolerate antibiotics used for their condition. Studies suggest applying probiotics to the skin might help inhibit acne-causing bacteria.20

Other Important Lactobacillus Strains

Aside from Lactobacillus acidophilus , there are other strains of good bacteria that are important for your health. Here are a few strains you should look for in any probiotic supplement you’re considering:

· Lactobacillus rhamnosus –

This strain has also been shown to help reduce the symptoms of IBS.21 It might even play a role in helping to reduce the occurrence of seasonal allergy attacks, such as hay fever.22

· Lactobacillus brevis –

Lactobacillus brevis is found in many kinds of fermented foods. These include yogurt, pickles, and sauerkraut. This strain may help boost the immune system.23 It has also been shown to promote gum health.24

· Lactobacillus gasseri –

There hasn’t been as much research conducted on the benefits of Lactobacillus gasseri, compared to other strains. But, there is an indication that it could help you lose weight. In one study, obese adults taking supplements containing Lactobacillus gasseri lost almost 10 percent of their abdominal fat. They did so over a period of three months.25

How to Get More Lactobacillus Acidophilus Into Your Gut

Lactobacillus acidophilus and other beneficial bacteria are in many fermented foods. These include not only yogurt and sauerkraut, but also sourdough bread, and others. You can find milk enriched with Lactobacillus acidophilus in many grocery stores.

But you can’t get beneficial amounts of Lactobacillus acidophilus only from food. You’d have to eat them almost exclusively to get enough, and this would likely cause weight gain. So, it’s best to supplement your diet with probiotics that include this important strain.

Sources
1 http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/lactobacillus-acidophilus
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24299970
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17311979
4 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0075664
5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10702159
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25954637
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25197295
8 http://www.aafa.org/page/allergic-asthma.aspx
9 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/481651/

10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22507276
11 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142376
12 http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/alternative-meds-update/lactobacillus-acidophilus-gastric-infections-autoimmune-conditions/article/463037/2/
13 https://medlineplus.gov/helicobacterpyloriinfections.html
14 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24954372
15 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19840300
16 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20861645
17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23758634
18 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070119/
19 http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/specific-strain-lactobacillus-acidophilus-may-relieve-symptoms-lactose-intolerance/
20 https://www.livescience.com/46502-probiotics-hold-promise-skin-conditions.html
21 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886445/
22 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25899251
23 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4285317/
24 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17577323
25 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23614897

12 Probiotic Foods to Help You Feel Great

Did you know your gut is brimming with bacteria? But it’s not all bad!

With all that bacteria in you digestive system, it must come as no surprise that some are good, and some are … less than desirable. When most of your gut bacteria are the good kind, you know it. Because you can feel it.

In fact, the good bacteria in your gut help you –

  • Process food properly
  • Keep your skin healthy and glowing
  • Eliminate yeast and fungal infections
  • Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight
  • Oust certain pathogens that cause illness 1

So, you need bacteria – the good kind – to keep your system up and running. And probiotics help you do just that! They give your immune system backup, so you can keep health issues at bay.

But when bad bacteria take over, it can get really hard to keep things running smoothly. Oftentimes, that’s when you start to pack on the pounds or crave sugar. And it’s a slippery slope, too, because more sugar leads to more fatigue, rashes, and colds, et cetera.

It’s no joke. When bad bacteria set up camp in your gut, you’ve got to take care of it. For many people, that means balancing your gut microbiome with probiotic foods.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are ‘live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”2 So, essentially, probiotics are living bacteria lining your digestive tract that can help your overall health.

It’s weird, because people normally associate bacteria with sickness – but probiotics replenish the good bacteria that keep you strong.

That’s one reason why they’ve become a profound way to support your immune system – as well as your overall physical, mental, and even emotional health. Lots of people choose to “reseed” their guts with probiotic supplements – and that’s a great way to get probiotics into your system. But, you can do even more to improve your health by adding probiotic foods – aka certain fermented foods – to your daily diet.

You see, before we had refrigerators, people fermented certain foods to preserve substantial amounts of it. They’d use lactic acid, alcohol, or alkaline fermentation to get rid of antinutrients or even reduce cooking time in an effort to hold onto their fuel supplies. And lots of those traditional foods they came up with have stayed popular – they’re an amazing natural source of probiotics.

Turns out, a just a dollop of some of these fermented foods can fill your gut with lots of good bacteria. The better your intestinal health, the better your general health. So, work these probiotic treats into your routine to boost your intestinal health.

10 foods that pack a healthy probiotic punch

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america
1. Yogurt

Yogurt’s a creamy, delicious treat made from fermented dairy. Not only is it a great source of protein, it’s also got magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, calcium, and certain beneficial enzymes. Made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or cow’s milk, yogurt is one of the most popular fermented dairy products in the U.S.

When buying yogurt, make sure you see the words “live and active cultures” on the label – this way, you know for sure it’s probiotic. It’s yummy when added to smoothies, topped with nuts or fruit, or even used in chilis and soups.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

2. Homemade pickles

Now, not all pickles are probiotic. In fact, most store-bought pickles aren’t – they’re fermented in vinegar. Turns out, if they’re pasteurized, it’s likely the probiotic bacteria have been destroyed. So make sure you grab grandma’s pickles – or try making your own.

Pickling cucumbers is an awesome way to enjoy serious servings of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B5, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. And, they’re full of healthy polyphenols like lignans and other phytonutrients that boost cell development. Salt, water, and a few days in a jar are all you need to turn a cucumber into a crunchy, tasty, probiotic-rich pickle.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

3. Kombucha

Kombucha is a traditional, beneficial Chinese cocktail made by fermenting sweetened black tea. Once mixed with sugar, the colony of bacteria and yeast in kombucha become responsible for initiating fermentation. After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated. This healthy beverage is chock full of probiotics, b-vitamins, enzymes, and high concentrations of lactic acid – known for its ability to stimulate the immune system and its antioxidant properties.3

You can find kombucha in the refrigerated section of your local market or even order a home-brew kombucha kit online and brew it yourself.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

4. Kefir

Now, many people assume kefir and yogurt are the same things, but it’s simply not true. While they’re both cultured dairy products, kefir not only consists of probiotic bacteria, but it’s got about 10g of protein … per cup!

Another cool thing about kefir … it actually colonizes the intestinal tract. That’s because it consists of several strains of good bacteria, like Lactobacillus caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus.

It’s also full of beneficial yeasts which help destroy dangerous, disease-causing, pathogenic yeasts by penetrating the mucosal lining where the unhealthy yeasts wreak havoc. The beneficial yeasts then strengthen these areas of the intestines.
Have a cup of kefir as an on-the-go breakfast, or add it to your cereal instead of milk. Look for kefir in the dairy or natural-foods section of your grocery store; it’s available in plain and fruit flavors.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

5. Natto

Natto is a favorite Japanese dish – an odorous, fermented soybean often served for breakfast. Bacillus subtilis – a powerful probiotic – is what’s used to ferment the breakfast staple. And while the bean packs a probiotic punch, it also serves up a healthy dose of vitamin K – known to help your bones absorb calcium and even help heart health.4 It’s an odd dish for some due to its odor and gooey texture, but it’s certainly worth trying if probiotics are a priority.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

6. Ginger beer

Cheers! This next fizzy fermentation hails all the way from England and has been around for the last few centuries. Enjoyed all over the world, its taste is refreshing and it’s primary ingredient – ginger – has been known to help relieve nausea and fight inflammation.5

Ginger beer is a tasty, good-for-you summer treat that can be found in most grocery stores.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

7. Kimchi

This Korean low-fiber, high-fat, fermented cabbage condiment gets its heat from salt, chili peppers, vinegar, and garlic. The reddish fermented cabbage can be eaten alone or tossed into rice or noodles. Plus, kimchi is loaded with vitamins C, A, and B. But its biggest benefit is, of course, lactobacilli. This good bacteria aids digestion and may also help prevent yeast infections.6

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

8. Sauerkraut

A probiotic powerhouse, this favorite hot dog topper can actually help counter indigestion. Like kimchi, sauerkraut is fermented, shredded cabbage. When picking out your kraut, try to stay away from the pasteurized variety – instead, opt for raw, refrigerated varieties which are sure to give you the probiotic benefits you’re looking for.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

9. Tempeh

Like Natto, tempeh is also made from fermented soybeans, but it’s more like tofu in odor and texture, and its taste is more earthy than sour. An Indonesian favorite, tempeh comes as a firm, white cake and provides much-needed protein for vegans and vegetarians.

And because of the way tempeh is fermented, the whole bean is retained, allowing tempeh to hold onto its high protein content. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber and vitamins.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

10. Buttermilk

There are two main types of buttermilk: traditional and cultured.

After reading this far, you may be able to guess which one contains probiotics and which one does not. Traditional buttermilk is what’s left after making butter (hence the name) and contains probiotics. Cultured buttermilk, which can be found in most American supermarkets, does not contain probiotics.

Traditional buttermilk isn’t easily found in the U.S., so if you’re interested in incorporating it into your probiotic foods arsenal, you’ll probably end up learning how to make it yourself.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

11. Cheeses

When it comes to probiotics, not all cheese is created equal. Many of them are fermented, but that doesn’t mean those cheeses also contain probiotics.

If cheese is one of the probiotic foods you’d like to include in your diet, Cheddar and Gouda are two reliable choices.8 Probiotic cheeses contain a number of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains. Cheddar cheese also contains two Lb. paracasei strains, which can survive the digestive process due to the cheese’s low acidity and fat content.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

12. Miso

Miso is a traditional Japanese savory seasoning – a thick paste with a salty and tangy flavor. You can usually find it added to soups or as a poultry rub, fish rub, glaze, or sauce thickener.

Also produced by fermenting soybeans, this probiotic favorite differs from those mentioned above because of the presence of koji-kin – a mold grown on a steamed rice (koji) – cultivated and then incubated for about 45 hours.

You can usually find it in the refrigerated section of your local market. It’s so delicious. To get you started on a new probiotic recipe collection, we’ve added a super-simple, tasty miso soup recipe below!

Probiotic Miso Soup (4 servings)

What you need –

  • 1/3 cup miso
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tbsp nori seaweed
  • 4 oz silken tofu
What to do –

Start by sautéing the seaweed and green onions for approximately 6 minutes. Add water and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the miso and the tofu, and simmer on a low heat for 3 minutes. Do not let the soup reach a boil. Serve and enjoy!

The Takeaway

And there you have it. These probiotic foods will really help you to keep your gastrointestinal health in check and might even help you boost your immune system. Remember, the foods listed above are all natural sources of probiotics and when used regularly, they can help you improve your well-being.

Sources
1 NCCIH. (n.d.). Probiotics: In Depth. [online] [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
2 Mack, D. (2005). Probiotics. [online] [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
3 Nguyen, N., Dong, N., Nguyen, H. and Le, P. (2015). Lactic acid bacteria: promising supplements for enhancing the biological activities of kombucha. SpringerPlus, 4(1).
4 Schiffman, R. (2016). Are You Ready to Eat Your Natto?. [online] Well. Available at: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/02/are-you-ready-to-eat-your-natto/?_r=1 [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
5 Bode, A. and Dong, Z. (n.d.). The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.[Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
6 Park, K., Jeong, J., Lee, Y. and Daily, J. (2014). Health Benefits of Kimchi (Korean Fermented Vegetables) as a Probiotic Food. Journal of Medicinal Food, 17(1), pp.6-20.
7 Selhub, E., Logan, A. and Bested, A. (2014). Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 33(1), p.2.
8 Stanton, C., Gardiner, G., Lynch, P., Collins, J., Fitzgerald, G. and Ross, R. (1998). Probiotic Cheese. International Dairy Journal, 8(5-6), pp.491-496.

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