The Good kind of Bacteria

probiotics

Have you heard or seen the word ‘Probiotics’ and have thought to Google it or ask a health conscious friend? Well, you’re likely not the first, as probiotics are the latest buzz. Making their way with a big impact, you will find many people consuming probiotics in different forms. Probiotics, believe it or not, are live bacteria and yeast found to be good for the body. They live in different areas of the body, which include the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, intestines, stomach, armpits, colon, and urinary tract. Research has found probiotics to help with a variety of health conditions, with its main benefits including:

  • Boost immunity
  • Help digestion
  • Lessen allergies
  • Improve mood

The actual beginning of probiotics is thought to have begun 10,000 years ago with the transport of milk and water in animal skin bags. Humans would travel across areas of low humidity and dry temperatures leading to a fermentation process. Over time, foods involving the fermentation process like beer, cheese, wine, and kefir were believed to have had nutritional and healing powers. Today, we can find our sources of probiotics to be in whole foods products like:

  • yogurt
  • kefir- fermented cow’s milk
  • kombucha tea- fermented mushroom drink
  • kimchi- spicy pickled cabbage
  • sauerkraut- pickled cabbage

Also, there are probiotic supplements that come in either liquid or pills and may or may not need to be refrigerated.

The body is known to have over 500 different types of probiotics, also known as probiotic strains. Scientists are able to separate some of these strains and find their key function or beneficial qualities, like with those important for digestion or a role in improving blood sugar. Picking a source, either regularly consuming whole foods or supplements, probiotics are not ‘one size fits all.’ If starting probiotic supplement, it is best to take in small doses as there can be side effects like mild constipation, diarrhea, rash, cramping, and gas. A low dose may be considered starting below 10 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units), which is just a fancy way of saying 10 billion probiotic bacteria. The dosage can be increased slowly over time, and as a note, if you’re concerned with the side effects, a whole food product is still a great source that may not cause any discomfort. Just remember to regularly consume the previous list of fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, etc.) to experience the benefits!

Watch for a future post discussing more about probiotics!

Campus Tips:

  • Make a yogurt parfait at Smart Choices in the SUB
  • Try the breakfast yogurt bar at The Market
  • You can find grab n’ go yogurt cups at Einstein Bros and Sam’s Places Mini Markets
  • The Union Bistro offers sauerkraut for sandwiches

For more information, check out: probiotics.org & https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics

Created by: Ashley Knuf, TTU Graduate and Dietetic Intern

Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD mindy.diller@ttu.edu smartchoices.ttu.edu 

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