Beneficial Bacteria: Probiotics 101

Looking to improve overall health and digestion? You many want to turn to probiotics for a boost. Here is your quick shopping 101...

July 28, 2014

Looking to improve overall health and digestion? You many want to turn to probiotics for a boost. Here is your quick shopping 101.

What are Probiotics? Probiotics are living organisms, commonly live “good” bacteria or yeast that when consumed may help the immune system and help regulate digestion. 

How to Buy: Found in refrigerated dairy products section and include products such as yogurts, kefirs, some cottage cheese, other fermented beverages such as kombucha and more. Kefir is a liquid beverage; yogurt has thick, creamy consistency of pudding, kombucha is a naturally effervescent beverage and flavors vary. Probiotics are also available as nutritional supplements.

Refrigerated sauerkraut and pickles are also rich in beneficial bacteria (when unpasteurized).

What to look for on the Label: Look for “Live Active Culture,” on the product seal that guarantees at least 108 viable (live) lactic acid bacteria per gram in refrigerated products and 107 for frozen. Check for the expiration date; the older the product the less live cultures. Most brands will name the bacterium and health benefit. Buy right before leaving the supermarket and store in cool area of car.

Choices: Check for bacteria names such as: Bifidobacterium or Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, and Lactobacillus.

How to Use: Enjoy probiotics foods and beverages as a meal or snack.

How to Store: Refrigerate at 40ºF.

Smarter and Healthier Shopping: Add your own fruits or veggies to yogurt for nutritional punch and better value to plain varieties.

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