You may have seen food labels at your local Whole Foods touting products “high in probiotics.” You might have grabbed the item off the shelf, determining that it must be healthy if it’s high in probiotics. Of course, you may have done all of this knowing full well you have no idea what probiotics truly do for your body.
The reality is, probiotics do a body good, and are worth learning more about so you can experience their full benefits. The best part is that they easily fit into many different diets; whether you’re gluten free, vegan, paleo, or counting your macros, you can find probiotic-rich products that work for you. So what’s all the fuss about these gut-friendly bacteria? And, Why Should You Be Pro-Probiotic? You’re about to find out!
Why Should You Be Pro-Probiotic?
Why Would I Want to Eat/Drink Bacteria?
Probiotics are a “good” bacteria, naturally produced within your digestive system. They help in the digestive process, enabling food to move through your body. They may be particularly helpful to individuals suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
According to some sources, some individuals have found them notably useful in treating skin conditions, allergies, oral health issues, and urinary and vaginal health problems. Good bacteria like probiotics help your body absorb vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, and vitamins A, D, E and K.
You may be wondering why you would ever need to consume probiotics if your gut manufactures them naturally. The reality is, you sometimes lose this good bacteria in your intestines after taking bacteria-killing antibiotics (antibiotics don’t discriminate between “good” and “bad” bacteria).
If you have any of the aforementioned bowel problems or infections, consuming additional probiotics can also be helpful. You can’t overdose on probiotics… they will only help you and your body.
Before you stop reading this because you’re on a specific diet and can only eat certain foods, you should know that probiotics occur naturally in many food items friendly to the array of popular diets. There are lots of probiotic-rich foods that are compatible all kinds of dietary restrictions. Here are some popular, and tasty choices:
Typically gluten-free, and if you’re counting your macros, yogurt is generally considered a good choice.
Fermented items are loaded with probiotics, and kefir yogurt typically does not contain gluten. Counting your macros? Still a great choice, like most probiotic-rich items are.
Chocolate is allowed on the paleo diet as long as it has a 70% or higher amount of cocoa. A number of plain dark chocolate bars are also gluten free. So good news! Eat more chocolate!
Thinking about ordering some before your sushi? Go for it! It’s actually made with fermented rye, beans, rice or barley. It’s definitely vegan, and is paleo according to most sources, as long as you avoid the tofu inside of it.
It’s not for everyone, but this delicious drink that you either love or hate is great for vegans and gluten-free tea-drinkers. It may be expensive, but it’s also paleo. You can make it at home for less if you buy the live cultures ahead of time.
Getting in Those Probiotics
If you’re ready to make improvements in your digestive system, it’s easy to integrate probiotics into your diet. While you don’t need to start consuming all of the above items at once, consider the positive findings about this bacteria license to enjoy some dark chocolate or rich yogurt. If none of these foods appeal to you, you can also take probiotic supplements. You’ll find them available at many health food stores (just be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement).
If you have any health issues, you should consult a doctor before making an effort to enrich your diet with probiotic-heavy foods and drinks. Your body, and your wallet (Kombucha tea is pricey) will thank you.
The idea of drinking or eating bacteria purposely may seem strange, but you’ve probably been doing it all along if you consume any of the listed food items. If you love pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi, good news! You’re also getting probiotics.
Healthy diets are already likely to be rich in healthy bacteria, but if you’d like to make some changes and incorporate a healthy new food trend, hop on this bandwagon… kombucha in hand!