This is part 2 of The Simple Guide to Gut Health: Probiotic Rich Foods
Probiotic’s can simply be defined as stimulating the growth of other organisms that are beneficial to our bodies. Probiotics can be in the form of foods and supplements.1 Introducing probiotics either from foods or a supplement (after talking to your doctor!) has been shown to have a positive impact on the overall health of the good bacteria within the gut.1
Probiotic’s can be especially helpful when you are taking an antibiotic. Antibiotics kill all bacteria, good and bad. Probiotic’s help to restore the good gut bacteria and lessen’s the chances for symptoms such as diarrhea and yeast infections.
Research has also found that individuals who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or IBS (ME!!) can benefit from the use of both probiotic rich foods and supplements. A recent study including 1700 individuals found the use of a probiotic reduced both the severity in pain and symptoms of IBS at both 4 and 12 weeks after introducing a probiotic to their diet.2 I am not saying that probiotics perform miracles or that they will fix all GI symptoms, but after doing a very thorough review of the research, it is safe to say that they are worth having a conversation with your doctor about!
Types of Probiotic Bacteria
- “ Marked as human and animal health promoters & may support the suppression of the inflammatory response within the intestinal tract”
- Helps to treat travelers diarrhea
- Promotes nutrient absorption from food
- Promotes immune health
- May help with constipation
- Helps break down fiber
- Promotes immune health
- May help prevent Gastrointestinal (GI) infections
Now onto my favorite part….. FOOOOODD!!
Did you know that there are tons of foods that contain live bacteria and probiotics?! Amazing right? A good place to start is with probiotic rich yogurt. Most probiotic rich foods are fermented due to the fact that the good bacterium have a chance to grow during the fermentation process. See list of probiotic rich foods to try below:
- Low sugar yoghurt
- Pickled vegetables (not pickled in vinegar)
- Cottage Cheese
It is important to read the labels on these foods to see if that particular brand has live cultures of probiotics in them. I have been fooled by this plenty of times.
SO WAIT… what about kombucha?!
Kombucha is a probiotic and don’t get me wrong, I really do love kombucha, and I drink it about once or twice a week. There are a lot of health claims attached to kombucha that have not be verified, such as improving gut health. Kombucha has been shown to have antioxidants like many other teas and is a tasty treat, but like alcohol, it is recommended in small doses to produce health benefits. Kombucha also should be consumed with lots of water because it can dehydrate the body. I love komucha, I am not saying don’t drink it, I am just saying that more research needs to be done before recommending it for health purposes.
BOTTOM LINE: Probiotic rich foods can help you digestive system and if you have more issues, such as IBS, a probiotic supplement may be necessary. When it comes to taking any supplement, talk to your doctor!
*FYI: Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so I recommend using a site like Consumer Labs, which is an independent laboratory that tests supplements for purity, accuracy of labeling and quality before purchasing any supplement.
- Didari T, Mozaffari S, Nikfar S, Abdollahi M. Effectiveness of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome: Updated systematic review with meta-analysis. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG. 2015;21(10):3072-3084. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i10.3072.
- Harvie, R., Chanyi, R. M., Burton, J. P., & Schultz, M. (2017). Using the Human Gastrointestinal Microbiome to Personalize Nutrition Advice: Are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Ready for the Opportunities and Challenges? Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117(12), 1865-1869. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2016.10.020
- Michiel Kleerebezem, Oscar P. Kuipers, Eddy J. Smid; Editorial: Lactic acid bacteria—a continuing journey in science and application, FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Volume 41, Issue Supp_1, 1 August 2017, Pages S1–S2, https://doi.org/10.1093/femsre/fux036
- Ruan, Y., Sun, J., He, J., Chen, F., Chen, R., & Chen, H. (2015). Effect of Probiotics on Glycemic Control: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials. Plos One,10(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132121
- Quigley EMM. Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease. Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2013;9(9):560-569.
- Vijaya Kumar B, Vijayendra SVN, Reddy OVS. Trends in dairy and non-dairy probiotic products – a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2015;52(10):6112-6124. doi:10.1007/s13197-015-1795-2.