Probiotics are one of the hottest food trends of late. They have been in existence for a very long time, but only recently has mainstream medicine begun to acknowledge their benefits. This has led to their appearance in a number of new food products, and an increased awareness of their natural presence in products that were already on store shelves.
Probiotic supplements are also increasing in popularity. They are not, however, regulated very well. They may not have enough beneficial bacteria in them to make a difference. They also are not as conducive to the survival of the bacteria as food sources that contain them naturally.
Yogurt is one of the most recognizable sources of probiotics. It naturally contains a substantial amount of bacteria. But if you’re counting on getting your daily dose of beneficial bacteria from yogurt, it is important to read the label. It should contain live and active cultures in order to provide the maximum benefit.
Yogurt is not the only dairy product that contains probiotics. Others include kefir, acidophilus milk and buttermilk. Dairy products provide a good environment for friendly bacteria, protecting them from acid and bile. Dairy foods also contain prebiotics, which are compounds that stimulate the growth and activity of probiotics.
Fermented vegetables are also good sources of probiotics. Some examples of these include sauerkraut, kimchi, and curtido. Salted gherkins and brine-cured olives contain lots of beneficial bacteria as well. Those that are sold commercially, however, often go through processes that kill the bacteria in them. These processes include pasteurization and the addition of preservatives such as sodium benzoate.
Probiotic juices are also beginning to show up in grocery stores. They contain bacteria that have been shown to promote immunity and aid in digestion. These bacteria are also believed to be beneficial for sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Food manufacturers have begun to add probiotics to a number of foods that do not naturally contain them. These include cereals, chocolate bars, and dairy drinks. In some countries a variety of probiotic beverages are on the market, and there is even a brand of probiotic ice cream. With these options becoming available in more and more places, it is becoming much easier to include probiotics in our diets.
The medical establishment has only recently begun to take probiotics seriously, but the studies that have been done are very promising. Probiotics have a low incidence of side effects, and they have been shown to be good for the digestive system and bowels. They are also believed to help prevent, and in some cases treat, many types of infection. Including probiotics in your diet each day will not cause any ill effects, and it could significantly improve your health.