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Probiotics – That’s yogurt right?

Image Source – Vancouver Sun

Since the scientific evidence has been piling up demonstrating the benefits of probiotics, everyone is jumping on board.  Well established evidence links probiotics to the improvement of gastrointestinal health, allergies in children, and prevention of vaginal and urinary tract infections in women.

At first thought most of us think probiotics are synonymous with yogurt because of the popularity of yogurt as a food source of probiotics.  There are many other foods that are sources of probiotics, specifically in fermented foods including sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, pickles, and tempeh.

Many of these fermented foods are not as large a part of our diet, since modern food preparation and pasteurization have become the norm. Commercially available yogurts, have a bacterial strain is added after pasteurization, and in most cases is only one strain.  In traditionally fermented foods there are multiple strains and much higher numbers of bacteria.

Probiotic supplements are also an option especially for individuals who do not tolerate dairy probiotic sources, like yogurt or kefir.  Quality of probiotic supplements matters, choose a brand that contains multiple strains from a source that is refrigerated, or vacuum packed as probiotic cultures are very temperature sensitive.

Take home message – probiotics are beneficial to your health.  If fermented foods are not regularly part of your diet, and your gut flora may be out of balance, probiotics may be an option for you.

 

For individuals with a specific condition is important to discuss probiotic use with your health care provider, or Naturopathic Doctor, as different probiotic strains are used for specific conditions.  This post does not replace a visit with a health care provider, and is for educational purposes only. 

 

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