The word “Probiotic” itself is translated to “beneficial for life” …..and man is that true!
We get probiotics from any kind of fermented foods we eat, for example; greek yogurt, kefir, kimchi (fermented cabbage), sauerkraut, aged cheeses, soy products (like miso), kombucha etc. Probiotics are “good” bacteria, they are live microorganisms that are similar to ones we already have within our body (inside our gut!).
Probiotics are great for us, but most people are never actually getting enough from the food they eat. That is why we recommend you supplement with a good quality probiotic as well as eating foods rich in them. Within our gut we have this microbiome that consists of tons of microorganisms that live and colonize on virtually everything! From people, plants, soil, animals and even oceans. Some of this bacteria can be harmful and cause viruses in our bodies, others can be beneficial, like probiotics from greek yogurt or kefir.
The HUMAN microbiome is what helps us absorb nutrients from our food and helps protect our bodies against pathogens. Taking in a good amount of probiotics can help balance out our microbiome and essentially replenish our “good” bacteria and research points to that possibly improving overall digestion and leading to a stronger immune system.
FDA recommends taking 1-10 billion CFU’s (colony forming unit) daily. However, as long as your physician has no issues with it, taking much more than that can be even more beneficial. If you have a well balanced diet, you are most likely getting some amount of probiotics from food. Just an 8oz serving of Lifeway Kefir (my personal favorite) can deliver approx. 12 million cfu’s!
So what are the exact benefits of eating foods rich in probiotics AND supplementing with it?
- Improved gut health – supports a healthy gut-brain axis
- This basically means that it helps our brain and gut communicate better with each other. Our gut is comprised of millions of neurons (called the enteric nervous system) and scientists have found that the gut does ‘communicate’ with the brain and vice versa. This communication is to alert our immune system of any foreign invaders, or any digestive/absorbing of nutrients that needs to be done.
- Supports the immune system!
- Our gut health plays a HUGE role in our overall health. To perform at our absolute best we need to be able to absorb the most nutrients out of our food. Having poor gut healthy or ‘leaky gut’ disorder can cause us to only absorb a portion of the nutrients we are taking in.
- Breaks down Lactose
- For individuals with a lactose intolerance, probiotics can be very helpful by breaking down the lactose due to the live and active probiotic cultures. Having a high probiotic food like kefir can be helpful for this or you can look into supplementing with a ‘good’ quality probiotic.
Supplementing with Probiotics
Using a ‘good’ quality probiotic can also be beneficial to our overall health. Some research shows that we may not completely digest or take in everything from a supplemental probiotic but plenty of people have reported great benefits from them. I take a probiotic daily in the morning, mine is 35 billion cfu per serving. Since more than likely the entirety of that serving will not be taken it, having a probiotic that is way above the FDA will then deliver at least the recommended amount.
If you are an active adult or current athlete, I recommend supplementing with a probiotic and also having a few of the fermented foods I mentioned above AT LEAST 3-4x per week or perhaps once a day (greek yogurt a day – a cup of kefir a day etc).
Overall, Probiotics are great for our health and EVERYONE should be supplementing or at least be eating foods rich in pro/prebiotics!
Post Courtesy Of:
Head Strength Coach / Director of Nutrition & Education