Kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, coconut yogurt; these are just some of the trendy products on the market promoting gut health. They advertise providing interesting and natural sources of probiotics, but what are probiotics?
Not to be confused with prebiotics, probiotics are living microorganisms that have the ability to work with our bodies to promote our health. Studies are indicating that, in the right amounts, probiotics can aid in the prevention and treatment of illnesses such as diarrhea, and are also shown to work symbiotically with intestinal flora to enhance our gut health. In other words, these microorganisms don’t cause harm to our sensitive digestive systems; they work together as a team.
Probiotics come in many different forms. If you walk into any grocery store you’re bound to find supplements, cleanses, and beverages that advertise housing our probiotic friends. The search can be overwhelming; so before you dive in, take your time, do your research, talk to your doctor, and use these pro-tips before making your next probiotic purchase.
Is it refrigerated?
Whether it’s a supplement, a beverage, or a food; remember to look for the refrigerated products. Microorganisms are living creatures that require certain environments to thrive. To get the most out of your purchase, it’s worth spending the extra dollar on items found in the refrigerator section. The supplements found on the shelves are usually freeze-dried microorganisms, and the survival rate when processed this way is pretty low. Go with the stuff that’s alive and awake the whole time.
Save the money, eat your probiotics.
The best way to consume your probiotics are to eat them. Of course taking a capsule in the morning is the most convenient, but they tend to be more expensive and not always promising. Look to the food shelves for naturally containing probiotic foods. Think sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso. Adding these foods to your regular diet is a simple way to incorporate probiotics into your body, while keeping your meals interesting.
Find a reliable source.
Try to stay close to home. Local probiotic-containing foods are great reliable sources. Shopping local usually means there are less unwanted added preservatives, because it’s coming from your backyard. The less travel time it needs to get to the grocery store, means the most fresh and best product for you! If your location doesn’t allow to buy local all year long, consider doing some research on certifications and companies. The organic label is handy to rely on. A product must meet very specific requirements to be considered organic, creating a more transparent product for you.