Posts Tagged ‘prebiotics’
Thanks to actress Jamie Curtis and her TV ads for Dannon’s Activia, you’ve probably heard of the term “probiotics.” Probiotics are, simply, “good bacteria” … natural living micro-organisms which are most often found in dairy products. I like to think of them as a little army of health warriors, fighting to keep me balanced.
Americans have become much more proactive when it comes to digestive health, and probiotics are a critical component of happy innards. Sure, it’s a slightly unappealing subject, but having health concerns in that area is no fun at ALL, so I like to arm you with information to keep you on the offense, rather than the defense.
Probiotics promote a healthy colon, but they also improve the immune system’s overall function AND are proven to raise levels of good cholesterol. How can you beat that?
Many people look for probiotics via nutritional supplements but I will always advocate for eating the right food over popping a pill, especially when it’s tasty. The amounts of live cultures found in the right foods and drinks are far greater than what you’ll find in a pill or tablet. So just enjoy a little yogurt for breakfast or midday snack. Good health can be delicious.
Product packaging will make you think all yogurts all equally healthy, but one or two brands offer far more living cultures. All yogurts do have good bacteria in them, but if your budget allows, opt for the gold standard (Dannon’s Activia, Yo Plus, Stoneyfield). Stoneyfield milk and sour cream also contain the “good bacteria.” Add a bit of one of these foods to your daily diet.
For the record, probiotics or “live cultures” – when not the main marketing angle of a food product – also go by a host of very long, very Latin names: L. caseii immunitass, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus essensis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
The list of symptoms eased by these helpful micro-organisms includes lactose intolerance and irritable bowel. Research has been done on probiotics in regard to other issues, too, including reducing the occurrence of bladder cancer and even eczema prevention in kids.
Now here’s what Paul Harvey would have called “the rest of the story.” There’s also a thing called prebiotics. Simply put, prebiotics are the food to feed the good bacteria. Many prebiotics are classified as dietary fiber and the body does not fully digest them.
Foods with both prebiotics and probiotics are known as synbiotic. (Huge points for this word in Scrabble!) Synbiotics may help support probiotic bacteria by stimulating their growth and making them more active, all of which improves the balance of “good” bacteria in the GI system.
While you chew on that, please focus on the fact that you can give your body what it needs by simply eating the right things. If you need extra guidance, motivation or accountability, call a registered dietitian. Associates in Nutrition has special discounts monthly for nutrition counseling, fitness and wellness. Call 239-826-2021 or visit AssociatesinNutrition.com.
How probiotics affect you depends on a host of factors, but the main thing to remember is that while probiotics are likely to improve your digestive health, they’re not a cure for digestive problems. I encourage you to take action, and fend off a problem before it occurs. Get out your spoons and say “En guard!”
While you chew on that, please focus on the fact that you can give your body what it needs by simply eating the right things. If you need extra guidance, motivation or accountability, call a registered dietitian.