Probiotics Food Vs Supplements
Do you know that your stomach is home to microorganisms? Yes! You read that right. More than a trillion living microorganisms play an important role in your overall health well-being. Roughly 1-3% microbes make up the weight of your body. That helps in boosting metabolic, digestive and immune functions when they are in abundance. It is misfortunate that when you age or make lifestyle imbalances, the number of microbes decreases. These can lead to several health issues.
In accordance with, the World Health Organization , probiotics are living microorganisms, predominately bacteria, and yeasts. They bestow numerous health benefits when consumption is done adequately. Some of them are given below:
- Modulation of the immune system
- Enhances nutrient absorption
- Relieves stress and enhances mood
- Removes waste and toxins from the colon
- Controlling gastrointestinal problems
All these positive impacts of probiotics give us more reasons to call it good bacteria. They are considered to be crucial for optimal health conditions.
Are you concerned about what probiotics you need to consume? Foods, supplements or both? Read on, and you will know exactly.
Advantages of getting probiotics through supplements:
1. Supplements allow you to be better targeted
Procurement of probiotics through supplements has evident advantages. Supplements have better control of the bacterial strains of your intake. Further, helping you to address a specific health problem.
Do All Fermented Food Have Live Probiotics
A number of foods have probiotic bacteria in them. Some cultured dairy products are yogurt and kefir. Fermented probiotic-rich foods are namely, kimchi, sour pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh, natto, kombucha, and miso.
Probiotic bacteria must be alive when you are consuming food. Only then you will procure its probiotic benefits. Survival of probiotic organisms depends on factors like storage and food processing. It can be challenging but here we will read through some useful tips to keep the probiotic bacteria viable.
- While you purchase yogurt, always check what the container reads. Active culture or live cultures is what youre looking for. Because not all yogurts have live probiotics.
- During the process of pasteurization live bacteria are killed. So, always choose sauerkraut to be unpasteurized.
- Vinegar also kills probiotics. Hence, always look for naturally fermented sour pickles than the ones made from vinegar.
Foods With Naturally Occurring Probiotics
Emerging research suggests that algae plants including seaweed, spirulina, cholerella and blue-green algae contain common probiotics. Its thought to be part of the defence equation why these aquatic plants are fairly disease resistant when they are an environment with dangerous microorganisms. There is vast potential to better understand the probiotic benefits of these sea vegetables including new industrial importance and corresponding innovations. Im still not adding sea vegetables daily to my menu but this gives me more incentives to!
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Sauces And Dressings Made With Gut Healthy Yogurt
Another principle of my nutrition philosophy is to eat 7-8 servings of vegetables a day. When you do, youre packing your diet with digestion-boosting fiber and an abundance of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
And you can add even more health benefits by making salad dressings and sauces with fermented foods. The simplest way is to add yogurt. I especially like to use Lavvas yogurt because it contains healthy fats from the pili nuts. This means your body can absorb the fat soluble vitamins in the vegetables.
For a quick and easy veggie side dish, I love to make a slaw with thinly sliced carrots, white and red cabbage and fennel, and dress it in a probiotic dressing made with Lavva.
Probiotic Soothing Slaw
- 4 cups of thinly sliced carrots, cabbage and fennel
- 1 cup Lavva Original yogurt
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the Lavva, lemon juice and zest and seasonings in a small bowl and mix well. Add the veggies and coat evenly with the dressing.
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Why Are Probiotics Beneficial For Gut Health
A probiotic is best described as a microorganism which naturally occurs in cultured foods and which improves the health of its host . Probiotic foods naturally contain probiotic cultures of yeast or bacteria. Probiotic bacteria perform some important functions such as supporting a healthy immune system, metabolism and digestion. Research indicates that imbalances in the gut microbiome can been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Your gut microbiome is strongly influenced by your food choices and you can easily support this by including more probiotic rich foods into your daily diet.
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Can I Use Probiotics To Help With Medical Conditions
There is currently a large amount of research happening around the idea of what probiotics can do for your body. Even though there are a lot of possibly positive outcomes, researchers are still working to find definitive answers about how probiotics can help with various conditions.
However, there are some medical conditions where probiotics may help. This can vary between people meaning that what works for one person may not work for another. These can also vary based on the certain probiotic that is taken.
Some of the conditions that might be helped by increasing the amount of probiotics in your body include:
- Upper respiratory infections .
Some Probiotics May Prevent Weight Gain
Losing weight is not the only way to fight obesity. Preventing unwanted weight gain in the first place may be even more valuable in avoiding obesity.
In one 4-week study, taking a probiotic formulation called VSL#3 reduced weight gain and fat gain in people following a diet that provided 1,000 extra calories than they needed per day .
Those in the probiotic group gained less fat, although they didnt experience any significant changes in insulin sensitivity or metabolism.
This indicates that some probiotic strains might prevent weight gain in the context of a high calorie diet. However, this needs to be studied further.
Certain probiotic strains may be able to reduce weight gain in people following a high calorie diet.
Not all studies have found that probiotics aid weight loss.
Some studies have found that certain probiotic strains might lead to weight gain not weight loss.
One recent review found that probiotics effects on body weight depend on which species and strains are used. For instance, while one strain of Lactobacillus gasseri reduced weight gain compared with a control, another strain promoted weight gain .
Not all probiotics aid weight loss, and some may even cause weight gain. The effects depend on the probiotic strain and may vary by individual.
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Consideration Of Lifestyle Factors
As you are aware that you can get probiotics from both, food and supplements. Both have their own advantages and supplies adequate amounts of probiotics to the body. However, caparisons cannot be provided due to a lack of clinical trials.
But your lifestyle will define the best option between food and supplements. A few factors to be considered while choosing foods versus supplements are given below:
Do you consume different types of probiotic-rich foods daily?
- If your answer is yes. Good job!
- If your answer is no. Dont worry! We have an alternative for you.
Just in case you have any food allergies or a hectic schedule or more, just consult a doctor and give him/her your reasons. A high-quality probiotic supplement can be added to your diet which will be more practical and easier for you to consume.
Are you addressing any specific health problem or symptoms?
- If your answer is yes!
Consult a health professional to identify the specific bacterial strains you require. Supplements give you the privilege to select any strain you specifically need. Unlike in cases of probiotic foods, you tend to have lesser control on strain-specificity.
- If your answer is no.
You can go ahead and eat probiotic-rich foods in abundance to maintain your immune system and a healthy gut.
Choose Your Probiotic Supplement Wisely
Always choose your probiotic supplements that are trustworthy and well researched. Food and Drug Administration do not regulate the dietary probiotic supplement. As a result, the brands are not being revised by anyone and is not an approved product.
Recently in the U.S, it has been analyzed that 5 out of 19 brands sold, do not provide several live microorganisms mentioned on their label. Some even contained contaminated bad bacteria and molds.
There is no assurance of what you might be consuming. So, do your research well and choose a trustworthy brand that you can rely upon.
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Most Popular Probiotic Foods
Yogurt is made from fermented milk with yogurt culture. It contains calcium and protects and aids digestion. Yogurt also promotes bone health and protects against osteoporosis, aiding digestion.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to yogurt. It is made by adding grain to cow or goat milk, a good source of calcium, and probiotic bacteria. The grains are cultures of yeast and lactic acid and resemble cauliflower.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage by lactic acid bacteria. It is sour and can stay for several months when stored in an airtight container. It is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and offers several health benefits to the body.
Tempeh is a fermented plant-based protein product that originated from Indonesia. It is a soybean product and often contains additional grains and beans with high protein content. It provides several benefits to the body because it contains vitamins, minerals, and calcium.
Kimchi is a fermented probiotic that contains cabbage as the main ingredient. It also contains other vegetables, chili pepper, garlic, salt, flakes, ginger, and scallion.
Miso is a fermented Japanese seasoning made of soybeans mixed with salt and a fungus called Koji. It also contains other ingredients like rice, rye, and barley. Miso has a salty taste and comes in many colors such as yellow, red, white, and brown.
Adding Fermented Foods To Your Breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It programs your body and brains biochemistry. A great breakfast will activate energizing neurotransmitters like dopamine, balance your blood sugar and trigger the release of hormones that prevent hunger and create satiety.
I start every morning with a breakfast smoothie. It packs a powerful punch of protein, healthy fats, and fibre in a quick and easy-to-make recipe. By using Lavva yogurt in my smoothies, Im adding healthy probiotics and prebiotics into my first meal of the day.
At this time of year, I love to include seasonal foods such as pumpkin in my smoothies. This Probiotic Pumpkin Spice Smoothie is both a favorite in my house and with my clients!
Probiotic Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
- 1 serving vanilla protein powder
- 1 serving collagen powder
- 1 handful baby spinach
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup Vanilla Lavva yogurt
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice seasoning
- Pinch Himalayan salt
- 1.5 cups unsweetened Lavva plant milk
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
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Natural Sources Of Probiotics
Taking a supplement can give you quick access to certain probiotics, but there are other options, too. “One of the easiest ways to is to increase the number of probiotic-rich foods in your diet,” says Sophia Tolliver, M.D., MPH, a family medicine physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to natural sources of probiotics, but these are considered the best:
Misconceptions About Probiotic Foods
There are several misconceptions about probiotic foods.
Just because some food types can contain probiotics, it does not mean they all do. For example, not all yogurts contain live and active cultures. The ones that do are usually clearly marked.
Also, not all fermented foods contain live cultures. Examples of fermented foods that do not have probiotics include:
- soya sauce
These and other foods like them go through additional processing that inactivates the live cultures. Examples of these processes include baking, filtering, or pasteurization.
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Easy Ways To Eat Probiotics Like A Pro
With the constant flurry of health-related buzzwords floating around the Internet, probiotics is one that seems here to stay. Chances are youve read about the benefits of taking a probiotic supplement maybe your doctor has even recommended one to you. And plenty of nutritionists are singing the praises of probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha on a near-daily basis. It may seem daunting, but you dont have to dive headfirst into a brand new diet to reap the benefits of probiotics. We chatted with wellness expert, holistic health coach and author of Go with Your Gut, Robyn Youkilis, to get some simple steps to achieving better gut health without overhauling your lifestyle.
You dont need a supplement
A supplement can be a great place to start, says Youkilis, but she tends to encourage her clients to get their fill of probiotics when they dine. They taste delicious, she says. At the heart of all of this, Im a foodie. Add a spoonful of sauerkraut to your salad for tang. A dollop of kimchi gives your fried rice some zip. You might even already be incorporating some probiotics into your diet through chocolate, wine and sourdough bread. The amount and types of probiotics are not quite the same as those found in yogurt or kefir, but hey, youre on the right track!
Know how to cook with probioticsTime it rightDont worry about eating too many
How Do Probiotics Work
The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral. When you are sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better.
Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also:
- Help your body digest food.
- Keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick.
- Create vitamins.
- Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed from entering your blood.
- Breakdown and absorb medications.
This balancing act is naturally happening in your body all of the time. You dont actually need to take probiotic supplements to make it happen. Good bacteria is just a natural part of your body. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber every day helps to keep the number of good bacteria at proper levels.
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Pair It With Prebiotics
Prebiotics are food for probiotics and the native bacteria in your gut. You wouldnt want them to go hungry, right? Prebiotics are specialized plant fiber that stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria.
You can nourish your probiotics and native bacteria by eating the prebiotics found in most fruits and vegetables. Foods with prebiotics typically contain complex carbohydrates .
If you have a relatively balanced diet, you probably already get a good amount of prebiotics. Here are a couple of ways to eat to add even more: try adding banana to your yogurt, DIY some overnight oats, and always add a side of veggies to your dinner.
Fermented Foods And Probiotics
The probiotics present in fermented foods vary from one food to the next. The most common, however, are the micro-organisms that belong to Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Bifidobacterium groups.
But, before you go and purchase some beer and wine in the hopes of increasing your probiotic intake, know that probiotics may not be present in all fermented foods. According to Harvard Health Publishing, beer and wine remove the probiotics before bottling. High heat during baking and canning inactivates micro-organisms, as does pickling with acids like vinegar.
Incorporating fermented foods into your diet is a no-brainer. They help keep your gut healthy, which, in turn, can alter your mood and may even stop the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Just be sure to look for labels that state they are naturally fermented or contain live cultures .
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Foods With Added Probiotics
Welo Probiotic Drink is a new product on the market. In fact, Welo is one of my Innovation Guelph clients! It is a cold-pressed, vegan, organic juice with low sugar and no added flavours or preservatives. The probiotic in Welo is Bacillus coagulans GBI 30 6086 which is touted for improving protein and carbohydrate digestion. Welo is offered in a variety of flavours including Strawberry Basil Chia and Ginger Kale, so its easy to drink daily.
Take A Kombucha Break
Kombucha is a probiotic-rich fermented drink made with tea, sugar , bacteria, and yeast making it a great vegan alternative to other probiotic-rich dairy products, such as kefir or yogurt, Sassos says. You can swap the refreshing probiotic drink for your afternoon coffee or happy hour cocktail, she adds.
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Why Eat Probiotic
Probiotics are live microorganisms that help populate the good bacteria in your digestive tract. This is called your gut microbiome.
Because so much of our overall health depends on the health of our gut, its important to practice habits that support an optimal balance of good, health-promoting bacteria.
Research also suggests that probiotics have benefits for your immune system, so it makes sense that optimizing the health of your gut is a good place to focus.
While there are plenty of probiotic supplements to choose from, these arent the only ways to help boost the good bacteria of your gut.
Eating foods naturally rich in probiotics is an easy way to introduce healthy bacteria regularly.
While the research on specific probiotic foods and their health benefits is still limited in humans, the general consensus is that theyre worth a shot, given their potential positives and overall low risk for harmful effects.
Fortunately, probiotic-rich foods are generally easy to find in most supermarkets and are typically in the refrigerated section.
To be considered a true probiotic food, the Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization require that the microorganism strains being used meet the following four criteria:
You can choose from a variety of probiotic foods as you decide which ones would fit best into your lifestyle and meet your needs.