There is a lot of random diet advice out there, and it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t. You can rest assured that at least one of the many diet trends floating around online, probiotic foods, is backed by science.
Our bodies contain a lot, and we mean A LOT, of bacteria. Most of this bacteria is “good” bacteria, meaning it exists to protect us and keep us from getting sick. This is especially true in the gut, which is responsible for helping us absorb nutrients and getting rid of the substances we don’t want lingering for too long.
Probiotics are foods that contain live cultures of the kind of bacteria we need to keep us healthy. Many dairy products, and several other foods you might not expect contain this bacteria. Here are just a few examples, and how eating them more regularly can help improve your digestive system, lower your risk of developing obesity and more.
Examples of probiotics
Yogurt, preferably brands that don’t include too many added or artificial ingredients
Raw cheese, meaning fresh cheese that doesn’t come in a package, powder or spread
Pickles, to add to your sandwich or munch on when you’re craving something crunchy
Dark chocolate, because anyone who says chocolate is bad for you has no soul
Olives, a great excuse to eat more salad and pizza
Why eat more probiotics?
The primary benefit of consuming probiotics regularly lies in our digestive tract. If you have ever had stomach problems while taking an antibiotic, that’s because antibiotics kill off both the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut. Therefore, it’s believed that replenishing your system with added good bacteria can promote digestive health even when you’re not sick.At the moment, scientists also theorize that a healthy gut may also lead to lowered obesity risk.
At the moment, scientists also theorize that a healthy gut may also lead to lowered obesity risk. Studies have suggested that those with more good bacteria in their digestive systems tend to be slimmer while those with a less “diverse” population of bacteria tend to be heavier. Therefore, a diet rich in probiotics might be able to improve the gut’s ability to break down nutrients and curb weight gain.
It can therefore also be inferred that probiotics may play a role in improving our immune systems and relieve symptoms of certain stomach problems like irritable bowel syndrome.
Tips for consuming more probiotic foods:
Your best bet when considering probiotics is to stick to the probiotic benefits of whole foods instead of going straight for a supplement. That way you get not only the benefits of the bacteria but other health benefits as well. If you can get something from a supplement that you can easily get from food, always choose the food.
As with any other change in your dietary habits, try to incorporate probiotic foods into meals you already eat regularly. If you like snacking on crackers and cheese, try switching from a more processed form of cheese to raw. We probably don’t have to encourage you to eat more dark chocolate: just do it.
Probiotic foods aren’t going to hurt you, so give them a try and see if they start to benefit your health, even in small ways.