The Best Source of Probiotics

There are TWO ways to get more good bacteria to improve your digestive system: fermented food products and dietary supplements. 

Often, we hear people asking if they should be taking probiotics supplements in addition to their diet.  

Well, it is always the best to consume the natural source while you can – fermented foods.

Foods that are fermented go through a process where sugar and starch are being fed into the natural bacteria in the food, creating lactic acid. The presence of lactic acid creates an environment that preserves the food and promotes beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as various species of good bacteria, which helps in diversifying your gut bacteria, contributing to a healthier gut environment. 

Probiotics are found in foods like yoghurt with live cultures, kefir, and other fermented foods, like kombucha, kimchi, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread.

Truth is, not all fermented foods contain probiotics. Some foods undergo steps that remove the probiotics. For example  beer and wine. 

Probiotics supplements, or any kinds of supplements which are sold over the counter, were not recommended for daily use, unless as prescribed by your GP as a treatment for your medical condition. Additionally, not all supplements are being regulated by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

To date, there is no recommended daily intake for probiotics due to the lack of scientific data. There is also no guarantee that taking probiotics helps to improve any underlying gastrointestinal medical condition or enhance immune function. 

While more intensive research is needed to understand the health benefits of probiotics, adding an adequate amount of fermented foods into your diet on a regular basis helps to create a well-balanced gut environment. 

Yoghurt is considered the most valuable probiotic foods. It is versatile and easy to add into your diet as breakfast or a midday snack. Yogurt also can be the basis for sauces, salad dressings, or marinades. However, one must always look for the words “live and active cultures” on the label. 

It is always best to talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) about the adequacy of your probiotics intake for a safer and healthier advice. 

Written by: Ms Kee June Ooi (Accredited Practising Dietitian) 

References:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-get-more-probiotics#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20fermented%20foods,sourdough%20bread%20and%20some%20cheeses.
  2. https://www.pennutrition.com/KnowledgePathway.aspx?kpid=3382&pqcatid=146&pqid=3647

 

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