You have likely heard about the health promoting aspects of probiotics. But what are probiotics? Probiotics, found in both food and supplements, are live bacteria and yeasts that feed your gut microbiome.
What is your microbiome?
Your microbiome contains trillions of good and bad gut bacteria. It is unique to you, in fact it holds 200 times more genes than in your genome! Probiotics help balance the good and bad bacteria in your microbiome to keep your digestive system working optimally.
Who knew bacteria could be good! These good bacterias come from two main groups:
- Lactobacillus – the most common probiotic, found mainly in yogurt and fermented foods
- Bifidobacterium – found naturally in the large intestine, functioning to prevent constipation
Health Benefits of Probiotics
So why are probiotics gaining popularity? Well the list of health benefits they provide is extensive. Probiotics can…
- Improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Crohn’s disease
- Help balance the immune system
- Lessen diarrhea
- Increase nutrient absorption
- Reduces the severity of allergies and eczema
- Improve mood and cognitive function
Top Probiotic Sources
Not only is yogurt one of the most well known probiotic sources, it is also one of the most concentrated foods in probiotics. Milk and cheese are good sources too.
- Fermented foods
The food processing form of fermenting makes foods like kimchi, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, miso soup and sauerkraut amazing probiotic sources.
As with any supplement, getting the nutrient from food is a better option. However, if you don’t think you are getting enough probiotics daily, a supplement can be a great alternative to improve the bacteria in your microbiome.
Now that you know the health benefits of probiotics you can try to incorporate these foods into your diet. Kombucha is a great refreshing drink in the morning, and miso soup is a great comforting meal for lunch or dinner. Yogurt can be eaten in many ways, like added to smoothies or topped with a handful of create-your-own cereal for a super nutritious breakfast.
What is your favourite way to enjoy these probiotic-containing foods?