Updated: Jul 19, 2022
By Betsy Stenard, Winthrop University Student
Probiotics have steadily become more and more trendy in today’s society, and for good reason. Consuming probiotics is one of the best ways to improve your gut health, digestion, and overall well being. Probiotics have also been shown to help some people with IBS and IBD symptoms because of their positive impact on the gut.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria/microorganisms that aid in our digestion process in our intestines by helping us break down the food we consume. They help grow our gut microbiome which is simply all the beneficial bacteria that make up our gut to help us digest and function optimally.
Getting your Daily Dose:
Probiotics come in many different forms, including in drinks, foods, and supplemental pill form. There’s no one right way to consume them, and it often depends on what you find most palatable and agrees with your system the most.
A common snack that contains lots of probiotics is yogurt, and whether or not it contains dairy does not affect its probiotic content. Additionally, it is important to check the added sugar on any yogurt you buy as many can contain 17g of sugar or more, which is closer to a dessert or a treat than a healthy snack to consume regularly.
Some good brands to try:
Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr, Nancy’s Organic, Fage, and plenty more
Dairy free options: Cocoyo from GTs Living Foods (same makers of the popular kombucha brand), Silk, and So Delicious
Other foods to try are fermented foods like:
Miso - a paste used for seasoning in traditional Japanese cooking, salty and great in soup
Sauerkraut - cabbage fermented to create a sour taste, a common side dish for a variety of meals or on its own
Tempeh - soybeans, also a great source of protein
Kimchi - traditional Korean dish made using napa cabbage and radish, usually spicy
Kefir - a milk drink similar to a thin, drinkable yogurt
Kombucha: a trendy, fizzy drink that has become popular in the past few years. It's known for its slight sour flavor and tends to be an acquired taste for some. It contains a small amount of alcohol because of the fermentation process, but contains many live probiotics that are great for the gut. Something to keep in mind however is the sugar content, as it is made using fruit juice and a fair amount of sugar in order to make it properly. If it's something that you enjoy and find easy to consume regularly, then it is good to keep in mind how much sugar you are consuming overall.
Lastly, some find consuming probiotics in a pill form to be easiest for them, and there are many different types. Everyone is different, so find the ones you like the best and what fits into your budget. However, there are some that need to be refrigerated in order to keep the bacteria alive. Often these are more expensive but not worth the extra money as the bacteria need to stay alive throughout your whole digestion process.
How do you like to consume probiotics, sweet, savory, or another way?