What Are The Best Probiotic Foods For Gut Health
The jury is still out on probiotic supplements, in part because researchers seem to have found agreement that there is no one size fits all collection of probiotic strains that can have a positive impact on all people. But the probiotics naturally found in certain foods, however, have a demonstrated positive impact in people with various gastrointestinal maladies.
While not all fermented foods contain probiotics, a number of popular ones do, including yogurt and pickled vegetables it is the process of using live, active cultures of microorganisms that transforms food into a fermented state. Below are some great options if youre looking to add foods to your diet that are a good source of probiotics. The good news is that there is a rich, culturally diverse set of options to choose from:
- Miso soup
- Select cheeses
- Brine-cured olives
Phillips Colon Health Probiotic
Probiotic supplement of the Phillips brand, with almost 100 years of experience in the world of digestive health and belonging to the German multinational Bayer.
It is a probiotic with 1.5 billion viable cells from 3 strains of microorganisms: Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1 and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2.
One of the characteristics of this product is its therapeutic activity against the symptoms of seasonal allergies, according to a clinical study carried out with 173 people who were given these three probiotic strains or a placebo. The group that took the probiotics improved their symptoms compared to those who took the placebo .
Independently of this therapeutic activity against the symptoms of seasonal allergies, the strains contained in the product are part of our intestinal microbiota, so its intake also promotes a balance of the intestinal flora thus eliminating alterations such as constipation, diarrhea or bloating.
Bio Schwartz Advanced Strength Probiotic
Though Bio Schwartz includes a huge amount of bacteria the choices of which ones to include are a little odd.
The staple bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus is there, but the other three are less common and less well-researched bacteria. The supplement also includes fructooligosaccharides to support the growth of the bacteria, but it doesnt document how much it actually includes in the supplement.
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What If I Dont Eat Dairy
The avoidance of milk doesn’t need to limit your choice of probiotic foods. Kefir and yogurt can easily be made using plant-based milks. Coconut and almond milk yogurts are commercially available and can also be easily made at home. Water kefir, where sugar water is combined with kefir grains and fermented to create a slightly fizzy drink flavored with fruits and spices, is another option.
Vitamin Bounty Pro 50 Probiotic With Prebiotics
Symbiotic that provides 50 billion cfu of the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium as well as the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii.
It also contains several types of fiber that act as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of microbiota native: Hordeum vulgaris, oat sativa 63
Vitamin Bounty Pro 50 Probiotic has several thousand positive comments from its consumers.
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Who Should Buy Probiotics
Probiotics are most important for people who may have a disrupted or deficient gut microbiome. Probiotics are commonly recommended following a course of antibiotics, for example.
While antibiotic drugs can be very effective against infectious bacteria, they also lay waste to the healthy bacteria present in your stomach and intestines, paradoxically leaving you vulnerable to health disruptions in the future.
Taking a probiotic supplement after a course of antibiotics can help rectify this imbalance. Probiotics are also very helpful in many people who have intestinal problems like Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome .
The mechanisms behind many of these intestinal problems are unknown, but appear to be linked both to your immune system function and your levels of probiotic bacteria.
Not only are gut bacteria populations different between people with intestinal problems and health people, but modifying the gut bacteria in people with irritable bowel syndrome or Crohns disease can lead to improvements in symptoms, which strongly suggests gut bacteria is linked to the problem.
Beyond people with these health problems, there is increasing recognition that even healthy people can have a disrupted gut biome as a result of their diet.
Natures Way Fortify Optima Probiotic
Another probiotic from the American company Natures Way. Eight probiotic strains from the company, also American, Danisco , which always offers probiotics of proven quality and with numerous clinical trials that guarantee their efficacy.
Fortify Optima has 50 billion probiotic species and is therefore one of the probiotics on the market with the largest number of beneficial bacteria. Among them are two strains of the same species of Bifobacterium lactis: One of them, Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04 ® which stands out for its therapeutic efficacy in allergic processes such as hay fever, and the other, Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-07 ® which has the ability to modulate the immune system and combat digestive discomfort by stabilizing the intestinal microbiota, and more obviously, discomfort that is due to treatment with antibiotics.
On the other hand we have two strains of the same species of Lactobacillus acidophilus, one of them, Lactobacillus. acidophilus NCFM® that together with Bifidobacterium infantis has shown its efficacy in the treatment of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14, a well studied strain, very resistant to gastrointestinal conditions and with great capacity of adhesion to epithelial cells that prevent the proliferation of pathogenic species.
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Vega Protein Cashew Milk Yogurt Alternative
Vegans need not worry about missing out on probiotic yogurt benefits. This plant-based dairy substitute packs more than 10 billion live and active probiotics into each cup, according to Leigh. Dannon also makes Good Plants, an almond milk-based vegan option containing B. lactis, BB-12 Probiotic, which seems to boost with gut health.
Things All Effective Probiotics Must Have
Based on our research and feedback from our Smarter Shoppers, these are the things to look for in an exceptional probiotic supplement:
High CFU Count
Since our microbiome is composed of about 100 trillion good and bad bacteria, a high number of Colony Forming Units will have greater impact on the growth of beneficial bacteria within our gut. 23 It’s essential to choose a probiotic which specifies CFU versus “active cultures” or “live cultures.” Look for a formula with a minimum of 40 billion CFU.
The latest research shows that fiber-based prebiotics feed the probiotics, helping them to populate and flourish in our gut. 24 Choose probiotics supplements containing prebiotics to significantly increase the overall effectiveness of the probiotic.
Clinically Studied Strains
There are hundreds of different probiotics strains, but many have never been proven effective. The best way to identify the potency of a particular strain is to look at the clinical studies backing it up. To find out if a particular strain has clinical backing, search the strain name on the internet. Look for strains proven effective by clinical studies.
Formulated By A Doctor
It takes specific expertise to form an effective probiotic formulation. More is not necessarily better. The exact combination of strain type, potency, quantity, and prebiotics determines the product’s quality. Look for real doctors specializing in gut health backing the product.
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Survivability: Does Your Supplement Survive Stomach Acid
Even ahead of the ingredients, this is probably the most important factor in whether or not a probiotic works.
Anytime you take a probiotic, it has to make a very difficult journey throughout your digestive tract o get o our intestines where they can do some good.
The biggest culprit in destroying probiotics is stomach acid.
And if your probiotics cant survive stomach acid, theyll be dead long before they can start improving your health.
Now, as for what technology companies use to increase the survivability, there are a few options out there.
Some use enteric coated pills, special capsules and even patented systems like Bio-tract .
All of these work in different ways and vary in effectiveness.
As mentioned above, one system, called Bio-tract is actually patented and has had some studies done on it.
It works by forming a protective barrier around the tablet as soon as it gets wet .
You can actually drop one of these special tablets into a glass of water and see the barrier start to form!
This technology isnt the only way to deliver probiotics successfully into the intestines, but its one of the best weve come across.
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Why Trust Verywell Fit
As a Registered Dietitian, Alex Aldeborgh has experience counseling clients with a wide variety of health conditions for which probiotic foods are a beneficial addition to their diets. She keeps up with the latest research and news regarding probiotics in both food and supplement forms. She also regularly consumes many probiotic foods on this list and would feel comfortable recommending them to family, friends, and clients.
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How The Best Probiotics Were Rated
All probiotic companies boast of their products having the same beneficial properties, but the following factors were considered when ranking these probiotics.
Number of CFUs: Some probiotics contained only 1 billion CFUs, while others had up to 50 billion CFUs. CFUs do not determine the quality of a probiotic. Still, from their use, the higher the number of CFUs a probiotic has, the longer its shelf life, quality, and effectiveness.
Quality of Strains: Strain quality differs from one probiotic to another as some probiotics use one bacterial strain. In contrast, others use more than one to increase the efficiency of the strains on the products. Some brands use cheaper bacterial strains, which lower the probiotic quality as good quality probiotics are always more expensive.
Diversity of strains: Some probiotics use at most two strains that do not lower the product’s quality, but different strains have different properties. Incorporating more strains in a probiotic will improve its quality and uses. Some strains may have specific functions, while others have generalized functions, which may work better when the strains are put together.
Transparency & Reputation: More probiotic companies are formulated daily, and some of these companies praise their products for earning quick money. They do this for their business growth and not to promote good health. We considered the reputation of these companies and their reputations to determine which probiotics were legit.
Best Natural Sources Of Probiotics According To Nutrition Experts
Probiotics are well known for being beneficial for your gut and overall health.* So, while you probably have a general idea of what probiotics are and do, you might be a little hazy on things like the best natural sources of probiotics. Here’s what you need to know about these gut-boosting microorganisms and how to find them.*
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What Is The Gut Microbiome
Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microbes . These microbes live everywhere on your body, from your skin to inside your nose, but the biggest concentration is in your gut. Among other things, your gut microbiome:
Digests and gets energy from your food
Is an important part of your immune system
Protects you from disease-causing microbes
We are still learning a lot about gut health. But we know a healthy gut usually has a healthy diversity of different microbes, and our diet has a big impact on that diversity. This is important because our gut microbiome has an impact on our health, both in and outside of the intestine. Changes in our microbiome, for example, have been linked to chronic diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and even cancer.
Are Probiotics Good For You
In a nutshell, yes. Probiotics are good bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance in the gut. Your gut environment is intricately tied to your physical and mental health. For instance, the majority of your immune system cells originate in the gut, as do most of your mood-regulating chemical messengers. Everyones gut is unique like a fingerprint but one of the most important features of a healthy gut is the diversity of microbes that reside there. Think of these beneficial bugs as having unique jobs, so you need many different critters to form a strong team. Among their varied roles, they may produce certain vitamins or help you absorb nutrients better, aid in digestion, and keep bad microbes from causing harm. Aside from these general benefits, certain bacterial strains may have specific perks, such as relieving constipation or travelers diarrhea, or helping with stress and anxiety.
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What Foods Are Rich In Probiotics
When foods and drinks undergo a process called fermentation, they become rich in probiotics. Fermentation is when bacteria and yeast break down food components into other products . From dairy to vegetables, most whole foods can be fermented. When you eat fermented whole foods, youre getting both the nutritional benefits of the whole foods and gut-friendly probiotics. When shopping at the store, you can spot a fermented product by looking at the label for live and active cultures. Here are some popular foods and drinks to look out for:
1) Yogurt: Consider adding fruit and nuts to your yogurt. The fruit stimulates the growth of good bacteria. And the nuts are a great source of fiber, which also supports a healthy microbiome. And as a bonus, yogurt also contains protein, calcium, and vitamin B-12. When possible, choose yogurts without added sugar.
2) Buttermilk: Cultured buttermilk contains active cultures of probiotics. Buttermilk proteins can also help protect probiotic organisms from breaking down during storage, therefore delivering a higher dose of probiotics lasting at least 2 weeks. Like yogurt, its rich in calcium and protein.
3) Sourdough bread: This low-gluten bread contains fiber and plant compounds, called polyphenols. These act as a fuel source for your gut microbe, making sourdough a gut-friendly option.
How To Get More Probiotics
There are two ways to get more good bacteria into your gut: fermented foods and dietary supplements. Fermented foods are the most natural source. Probiotic supplements, which are typically sold over the counter, are reserved to treat specific ailments as suggested by your doctor, and not recommended for everyday use. Plus, supplements do not have the same FDA oversight as medications do.
So, a big question remains: How many probiotic foods do you need? That’s not easy to answer.
There is no recommended daily intake for probiotics, so there is no way to know exactly which fermented foods or what quantity is best. Therefore, the general guideline is to just add as many fermented foods to your daily diet as possible.
Why fermented foods? Fermenting is one of the oldest techniques for food preservation. Mankind has been fermenting foods and drinks like beer and wine for centuries. Foods that are fermented go through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating lactic acid. This process creates an environment that preserves the food and promotes beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as various species of good bacteria.
Another way to look at fermentation is that it takes one type of food and transforms it into another kind. For instance, cabbage becomes sauerkraut, cucumbers become pickles, soybeans turn into miso, and milk can be made into yogurt, cheeses, and sour cream.
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Scientific Evidence Of Probiotics
Probiotics have existed for centuries as naturally occurring in yogurt, cheese, and other fermented dairy products. With technology improving, scientists and medical experts started making these probiotics’ cultures using bacterial strains to develop supplements. These cultures are nurtured in a modern laboratory using friendly bacteria that are safe for human consumption.
Probiotic dosages are referred to as Colony Forming Units, mostly termed as CFUs. The higher the CFU, the longer the shelf life and the higher the quality of the probiotic. However, the mode of delivery affects a probiotic’s effectiveness regardless of the CFUs. A well-coated probiotic with fewer CFUs may do more work than a poorly coated probiotic with more CFUs.
According to the National Health Interview Survey in 2012, at least 4million adults in the US had used Probiotic within the past 30days during the survey. Over the years, the number has increased immensely as more people discover these probiotics and new companies are developed more rapidly as technology improves.
Most digestive tract issue such as diarrhea, indigestion, bloating gas, stomach discomfort may be due to poorly balanced bacteria in the stomach. Antibiotics destroy both useful and harmful bacteria when taken that’s why most doctors recommend taking a probiotic after a complete antibiotic dosage.
Benefits of probiotic supplements according to a National Health Interview Survey Review are as follows:
The Ayurvedic Concept Of Ama
Ama is a toxic, heavy, unctuous, and sticky juice-like substance which originates as a waste-product of digestion and metabolism. Indeed, the word ama can be translated to mean immature or incompletely digested.
Ama builds up in individuals with weak digestion and those consuming the wrong foods.
Since ones digestive capacity is in part determined by ones prakriti , individuals with strong digestions can eat larger quantities and richer foods without forming ama.
In contrast, individuals with weak agni have weak digestive powers and produce ama easily.
Ayurveda states that simple foods minimize the formation of ama, whereas foods high in protein or fat result in an increased production of ama.
This is because such foods are intrinsically difficult to digest and are therefore more likely to be partially digested. An ayurvedic practitioner diagnoses the signs and symptoms of ama.
Typically, ama manifests as a sticky, white coating on the tongue, which obstructs various internal microchannels.
It is associated with characteristic symptoms such as inability to taste food, local or general inflammation, sudden fatigue, heaviness, pain, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, indigestion, and constipation.
Since ama is considered the root cause of disease, it must be fully digested before one can rectify vitiated dosha.
Accordingly, strengthening of agni and complete digestion of ama are major goals of ayurvedic treatment.
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