PROBIOTICS 101

It’s probiotics time to shine. These helpful microorganisms are all the rage because they pack a powerful punch, helping to keep digestion and the immune system in check. Even though probiotics are naturally occurring in the intestinal tract, you’ll get an added boost by taking a dietary supplement or eating certain fermented foods. So if you want to get a jumpstart on rejuvenating your gut, you’ve come to the right place!

Types: The largest strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, both of which can be found in most probiotic supplements. Make sure to read the nutrition label on your supplement of choice to confirm at least one of these strains is present. It’s also important to read the label because certain brands require refrigeration since probiotics are living organisms, although these days you’ll be hard pressed to find one that can’t be stored at room temperature instead. If you already have a multivitamin regimen in place go ahead and add a probiotic pill to your routine, but if you’re more of a smoothie or green juice person there are several great probiotic powders or liquids you can easily add to your beverage of choice.

Benefits: Getting that daily dose of probiotics can do you wonders. It’s been shown to balance out microorganisms in the gut, ridding the body of excess harmful bacteria and promoting digestive health. Improved digestion can also play a big part in clearing up certain gastrointestinal disorders including diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. More than just a squeaky clean gut, probiotics can help treat yeast infections, urinary tract infections and eczema by boosting the amount of good bacteria in the body.

Food sources: If you’re not into maintaining a regimented schedule of taking dietary supplements every day, there are tons of foods you can add to your diet instead that are jam packed with live bacteria. Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles, a live-cultured milk product called kefir and the tart but delicious kombucha tea are all excellent alternatives that will do the trick in helping to keep your gut so fresh and oh so clean. Better yet, the list of probiotic-rich foods goes on and on, from certain raw cheeses like Gouda and feta to sourdough bread, so your options truly are endless.

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