If you suffer from frequent tummy trouble or are prone to lactose-related allergies, you’re all too familiar with the ways in which “bad bacteria” can affect how you feel and your lifestyle. While there’s plenty of this bacteria lurking in your digestive system, it can be balanced with “good bacteria” to boost your health overall.

 

Probiotics and Your Health

Probiotics are microorganisms that promote gut-friendly good bacteria that aid in digestion and boost systemic immunity. All this really means is that these friendly bacteria promote a healthy balance in your digestive system and help you to better process the foods you eat.

Certain strains, like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, occur naturally in some foods and are also available in supplements. These strains work to improve gastrointestinal function, strengthen your immune system, and increase absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.

Research in recent years has shown that certain strains of probiotics can alleviate or tame a multitude of digestive and immune system issues. Some of the more common ailments include:

  • Allergies and colds
  • Respiratory infections
  • Colic in babies
  • Eczema
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Vaginitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation, bloating and gas
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

 

Despite the healthful effects of probiotics, more is not always better. Of the billions of strains out there, only 20 or so have been clinically studied. Plus, not all strains treat every symptom or condition. When in doubt, focus on adding known strains, such as those associated with lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, to your overall diet and nutrition plan.

 

Locating Probiotic Foods

Your best bet for finding probiotic-rich foods is to look for cultured dairy products and fermented vegetables. These products are teeming with live, active cultures that promote gastrointestinal health and improved immune function. While yogurt is touted as the probiotics rock star, you can also find the healthy bacteria in a multitude of products:

  • Kefir
  • Buttermilk
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Kombucha tea
  • Tempeh

 

Not all fermented foods deliver probiotics benefits, however. Bread products such as sourdough and some pizza crusts contain probiotics, yet when heated, the bacteria are killed off. Similarly, fermented drinks like beer and wine naturally include good bacteria—that is, until they are filtered, at which point the microorganisms (and their health benefits) are removed.

 

Supplementing Your Diet

Adding more good bacteria to your diet will create a healthier balance in your gut and make for a much happier you. However, with only a handful of naturally-occurring probiotic foods available, it’s not always easy to get your daily intake. If you’re not consuming enough of the good stuff, you may need to incorporate supplements into your diet.

Looking for encapsulated supplements? A great option to try is UltraFlora™ Spectrum. This concentrated formula offers multidimensional support for improved intestinal and immune health. Each capsule contains a proprietary blend of seven beneficial probiotic strains, including the highly-researched Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM.

An excellent powder supplement to try is Dynamic Fruits and Greens. This nutrient-rich superfood formula offers powerful antioxidants as well as enzymes, probiotics and fiber for optimal digestion. And since it doesn’t contain added sugars, wheat or dairy products, it’s safe for everyone, from children to adults.

While powders are typically associated with smoothies, they aren’t just a one-trick pony! There’s myriad ways you can easily mix this great tasting powder into foods and beverages. Whether you’re looking to amp up your post-workout snack or pack more nutritional punch at breakfast time, here’s a whole slew of recipes that will make eating healthy anything but boring.

 

Now It’s Your Turn

What creative ways do you use to get your daily dose of probiotics? Share your gut-friendly recipe ideas in the comments below.