Can bacteria in your diet really keep you healthy? According to experts, it can - if you eat the right kind. Strains of probiotics, also known as -œgood- bacteria because of the healthy benefits it delivers to your digestive tract and immune system, are naturally found in your gastrointestinal tract or in fermented foods. In response to probiotics growing popularity, food companies are also keeping probiotics well-concealed in a variety of tasty, good-for-you snacks. Here are a few food sources of probiotics.
When you are sick, your doctor may prescribe antiobioitcs. But when you want to avoid getting sick – and maintain a healthy digestive tract – stock up on probiotics. According to the World Health Organization, eating or drinking this "good" bacteria can boost your immune system, provide extra calcium and lead to a longer, healthier life. Including priobiotics in your diet is easy – here are three delicious ways to consume more of this good-for-you bacteria.
YOGURT WITH PROBIOTICS
With each spoonful of yogurt you swallow, you ingest a bit of bifidus regularis
. This most common of probiotics, this keeps things on track in your digestive tract (and may also curb constipation). While most good-for-you bacteria can be found in plain yogurt, you may also opt for the flavored, fortified varieties like Dannon's Activia
, that provide billions of beneficial probiotic cultures. Note that when you are buying any yogurt, be sure to check the ingredient labels and buy the yogurt brands containing active or live bacteria and cultures.
Cottage cheese is teeming with the good-for-you bacteria lactobacillus casel
, which boosts immunity and slows the growth of harmful bacteria in your system. To up your good bacteria count, snack on Horizon Organic Cottage Cheese
, which is also enhanced with extra calcium. If you can't stomach plain old cottage cheese, add sliced peaches, honey or brown sugar to make it a sweeter snack. You can also fill your fridge with Breakstone's Cottage Doubles
– the fruity topping adds flavor and extra vitamins, too.
By starting your day with a bowlful of lactobacillus acidophius, you aid digestion and fight off effects of bad bacteria in your intestines. While cereal kings like Kraft are still working on introducing probiotic-packed products, lesser-known brands offer a few options on the grocery store cereal shelves. Look for Kashi Vive
, a combo of lightly toasted flakes, crunchy graham twigs and vanilla-coated crisps (containing one billion probiotics per serving), or YogActive Cereal
, a scrumptious blend of rice flakes and fruit plus yogurt "pearls" that contain active lactobacillus acidophilus cultures.
A word of caution: If you suffer from a weakened immune system or are staying in a hospital, talk to your doctor about probiotics in your diet -- your doctor may recomend that you steer clear of probiotics, as the live bacteria may have adverse effects on your digestive tract. However, for more details on the healthful benefits of probiotics, visit the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM
For more healthy diet tips, visit these links:
The four healthiest green vegetables
Naturally sweetened dessert recipes
Healthy grocery shopping made easy