And since bacteria is known to cause disease and infections, why in the world would you want to eat probiotic food or take probiotics supplements?
And what are probiotics anyway?
In the world of bacteria, just like everywhere else, there are both the good and the bad. Natural probiotic foods and quality probiotics supplements contain millions of good friendly bacteria that help make you healthier.
Probiotic literally means “good for life.” But certain factors can destroy the good bacteria and upset your natural probiotic balance. These include:
- Prolonged diarrhea,
- A diet of processed, low fiber foods,
- Infections from “bad” bacteria, viruses and fungus,
- Antibiotics and other drugs that kill both the good and bad bacteria.
Probiotic Foods with Active Culture
Probiotic foods, drinks and supplements are everywhere these days.
But remember this: Effective probiotic foods are cultured by live beneficial microorganisms. In order to get the many great probiotic health benefits, always choose unpasteurized versions of the foods listed below.
Yogurt, made from milk, is the most popular probiotic food. When choosing yogurt, make sure it still has live cultures and isn’t pasteurized after fermentation – heat destroys all the good probiotic bacteria. So look for “live and active cultures” on the container.
Sauerkraut is cabbage fermented in brine. However most commercial sauerkraut is pasteurized, killing the friendly probiotic bacteria. So make sure your sauerkraut is still raw with active culture. Or you can make your own at home.
Kefir is a sour drink similar in taste to probiotic yogurt. It’s generally made of cow, goat or sheep’s milk and fermented with kefir grains, which contain “friendly” yeast along with the good bacteria. Kefir is easily digested and the friendly yeast and bacteria discourages the growth of “unfriendly” yeast.
Tempeh, unlike tofu, is made from whole fermented soybeans. Its chewy meat-like texture has a nutty taste. In order to get the full live probiotic benefits, tempeh should not be cooked.
Buttermilk is a fermented probiotic dairy food with beneficial bacteria. The tangy flavor is a little more sour than yogurt.
Miso is a fermented Japanese seasoning made from various beans or grains. It’s used as a sauce, spread or in soups. But remember, high heat kills the friendly probiotic bacteria.
Cheese from raw milk that’s fermented is another probiotic dairy source. The longer the cheese is aged the higher the probiotics.
Kim Chi, a spicy, pungent Korean fermented cabbage similar to sauerkraut but stronger tasting, can be used as a side dish or relish.
Pickles and olives can contain probiotics if they’re not pasteurized. Look for active cultured organic varieties that don’t contain sodium benzoate.
Quality probiotics supplements and foods have been shown to increase nutrient absorption and help alleviate many health conditions, such as constipation, colitis, gastroenteritis, infections, diarrhea, gas, lactose intolerance, poor digestion and cancer, especially colon cancer.
Natural Probiotics Supplements that Work
While it’s certainly possible to get all of the great probiotic health benefits without taking probiotics supplements, by including good quality supplements, you can get more effective, faster results.
A good quality probiotic supplement will contain a broad-spectrum of beneficial friendly bacteria from human food sources.
The concentration for one serving should equal at least five times the active cultures found in one serving of quality probiotic food.
And, most importantly, supplements should have an enteric coating to protect the cultures while they pass through the digestive tract to be delivered alive in the intestines. This is a guarantee of potency.
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