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Got Priobiotics?

Heather Bauer Heather Bauer
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  • Tomato Basil Pasta, 9/1/14

    Tomato Basil Pasta, 9/1/14

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:26 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:26:50 GMT
    Serge KrikorianDinner's Ready2 Servings2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided5 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided (NOT margarine)1 tsp. Minced Garlic1 Shallot, minced1 Pt. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise8-10 Leaves Fresh Basil, cut into ribbonsSalt Ground Black Pepper, to tasteGrated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish4 oz. Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directionsOption Add-Ins: Diced Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, sauteed sliced fresh...More >>
    Serge KrikorianDinner's Ready2 Servings2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided5 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided (NOT margarine)1 tsp. Minced Garlic1 Shallot, minced1 Pt. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise8-10 Leaves Fresh Basil, cut into ribbonsSalt Ground Black Pepper, to tasteGrated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish4 oz. Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directionsOption Add-Ins: Diced Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, sauteed sliced fresh...More >>
  • Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:49:39 GMT
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
  • Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Monday, August 25 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-08-25 12:49:13 GMT
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>

By Heather Bauer, R.D., nu-train

With nutrition and health, it happens all the time. Suddenly, through marketing or through increased interest from a few highly respected media personalities, certain fads or foods hit the spotlight. And while sometimes it may lead to a misinformed public blindly following a new fad (i.e. The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Ball Diet, etc.), occasionally a few healthful gems are unearthed.

One such beneficial food component is probiotics.

Though probiotics were discovered back in the early twentieth century (and recognized as healthy bacteria way before that), it is only in the last few years that probiotics have made it big. Oprah has mentioned them in both her magazine and on her show, and now each major yogurt company is touting the different probiotic cultures that their yogurts contain. So, we now know that probiotics are good for us, but what exactly are they?

What They Are

Probiotics are friendly bacteria. These bacteria live naturally in our stomach and intestines, which keeps us healthy and functioning. In fact, it has been estimated that there are more healthy bacterial cells associated with the human body than there are human cells, and that there are more than 400 species of probiotics.

The intestinal microflora, which means the variety of bacteria in our intestines, is highly specific for each individual. These friendly bacteria begin to accumulate in our gastrointestinal (GI) tracts from infancy, and tend to remain fairly stable over time. However, our microflora develops in stages throughout our lives and are affected by diet, illness, and even environmental factors. This is important since optimal gut and digestive health is necessary for the absorption of nutrients and for removing toxins. For this reason, many health professionals feel that ingesting probiotics to further ensure GI health is beneficial.

Why They're Getting Even More Press

Recently, there has been a plethora of new research regarding probiotics and health. All of the research, however, is preliminary and mostly inconclusive so don't try and treat any medical problems without consulting a physician.

Intestinal Benefits

  • Promote recovery from diarrhea
  • Help alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance and malabsorption
  • Relieve constipation

Immune System Effects

  • Stimulate gastrointestinal immunity
  • Reduce chance of infection from common pathogens (i.e. Shigella, Salmonella)
  • Normalize immune responses
  • Inhibit chronic sub-clinical inflammation
  • Improve inflammatory conditions with an autoimmune component, such as asthma, eczema, or Crohn's disease

Effects on Disease

  • Improve food allergies
  • Promote recovery from vaginal (bacterial and yeast), urinary tract, and bladder infections
  • Reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce several risk factors for intestinal cancers
  • Ameliorate inflammatory intestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Where We Get Them

Probiotics can be found in supplements and in foods such as certain yogurts and other dairy products. Consuming probiotics from foods, however, appears to be the best way to go. Dairy foods help to protect probiotic bacteria. Since our stomachs are highly acidic, many varieties of probiotics may die before they even reach our colons. Dairy foods, however, help to buffer stomach acid and increase the chance that the bacteria will survive into the intestine.

The most common bacterial strains added in yogurt are L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, and L acidophilus, so look for these on the label. It is important to note that not all yogurts contain active bacterial culture. Make sure to check the label for words such as "live cultures" or "active cultures". Also, avoid yogurts that say "heat treated after culturing" since this means that the live cultures were destroyed and will be of no benefit to you.

Finally, the potency, or amount, of live cultures is also important since a certain number of cells are required to attain the benefit. Check to see if the label states how many viable organisms are in the product.

The Bottom Line

Probiotics are a current trend that is actually healthy for our bodies. Including one serving of yogurt or another probiotic containing food per day, can help you reap the benefits.

Aside from its probiotic qualities, yogurt is also a great source of protein, calcium, B vitamins and other nutrients. To ensure the probiotic health benefits, however, you don't want to heat the yogurt or you will destroy the live cultures. Instead, try incorporating it into cool dishes like cold soups, dips, salad dressings, or parfaits.

Provided by Heather Bauer, a Registered Dietician (RD) specializing in the interrelation between eating habits, metabolism, and lifestyle. Visit nu-train for more tips and tricks and sign up for her monthly newsletter.
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.