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Nutrition

How to Get More Probiotics

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Good bacteria can have a big impact on your health. 

You’ve heard a ton about probiotics—but what are they, exactly? Probiotics are good microorganisms that are the same or similar to the trillions of microbes that already exist in your body. The majority of the bacteria in your body live in your gut, but their effects extend far beyond it. Probiotics support your body’s good bacteria, which can be disrupted by factors such as poor diet, antibiotics, or traveling

These little bugs can have a big impact on your microbiome health: Probiotics help with digestion by breaking down some hard-to-digest foods like starches and fibers; keep bad bacteria at bay; produce vitamins such as B vitamins and vitamin K; and support your immune system—after all, 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut. And these friendly bacteria aren’t just for when you’re not feeling well: The International Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics says probiotics may help your immune system develop properly and stay healthy. 

So now you know what probiotics are—but how do you get them? One easy way to get more good bugs in your diet is to take a supplement daily.  When buying supplements, it’s important to pay attention to which strains you’re getting—some strains have been researched more thoroughly than others, and different strains have different benefits. Try Emergen-C Probiotics+, a new, naturally fruit-flavored fizzy drink mix that guarantees 2 billion cultures until its expiration date. Specifically, it contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium animalis: Clinical studies have shown that these two can support gastrointestinal health and immune function. Emergen-C Probiotics+ supplements also have a boost of vitamin C to further support your immune system.

How else can you get probiotics? If you like some tang, there’s a whole wide world of probiotic-rich foods out there (literally—many cultures have their own fermented specialties that can contain live microorganisms). If you want to drink your probiotics, try kefir or kombucha. Or if sour drinks aren’t your thing, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and miso can contain probiotics. If you’re a yogurt fan through and through, look for a brand with the Live & Active Cultures seal, which manufacturers can use only for refrigerated yogurt with at least 100 million live cultures per gram.   When you buy probiotic foods, you should check to make sure that specific product contains the levels of probiotics needed to reap the health benefits.

In general, when shopping for probiotics, do your research beforehand. For probiotic foods, make sure you buy brands that haven’t been heat-treated or filtered to increase your chances of reaping the benefits of the bacteria. And for supplements, look for reputable brands, keep an eye out for which strains they’re offering, and make sure the supplement is clearly labeled with the expiration date—after all, all that bacteria is only good for you as long as it’s alive! 

Find other great health and wellness stories at BHG.com/Strive