September 11th, 2012

Why I’m Adding Probiotics to My Diet

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There’s a cabinet above the fruit bowl in our kitchen that’s overflowing with vitamin supplements. When I was pregnant I was very diligent and took my prenatal vitamin like clockwork. But ever since my pregnancies I’ve completely fallen off the wagon and all those supplements are sitting in the cabinet untouched.  I focus on eating well and hope that everything I need comes from my diet. Not always the case.

Adding vitamin supplements back into my diet has been on my mind for quite sometime. I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf now that the school year has begun.  I’m going to take a probiotic for starters and the rest of my family is going to join in on the fun.

What is a probiotic?

When someone mentions “probiotics” I automatically think of yogurt. The word “probiotic” is a compound of two Greek words: “pro,” to signify promotion of and “biotic,” which means life. 

Probiotics are bacteria that help keep everything balanced in your intestines. The human digestive system is designed to have “good” and “bad” bacteria. Trying to maintain a balance between the two keeps us healthy. Many times we are able to do this through a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle, but there are times when your body needs a little extra help. Taking medications, a change in diet, diseases, and the environment can upset our bodies natural balance. Adding a probiotic to your diet can help.

Health benefits of taking a probiotic

The list of potential health benefits of probiotics continues to grow. While research is on going, the Mayo Clinic suggests that taking a probiotic could help:

  • Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
  • Prevent and treat yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
  • Prevent and treat eczema (and potentially allergies) in children
  • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Help with obesity

Which probiotic supplement should I take?

All probiotics aren’t created equal. ‘Probiotic’ has been a buzz word in the supplement industry for a few years and many vitamin manufacturers are eagerly entering the retail space. There’s an over abundance of probiotic choices. Here are a few tips to help find a probiotic that’s right for you:

  • Use a reputable brand. Be picky.
  • Look for a high dose-over 8 billion live cultures per capsule.
  • Ask questions. I always accost the people at our local Whole Foods with questions.  

Here’s what I am using:

For the kids: Jarrow Yum-Yum Dophilus 120 Chewable Tablets

For the adults: Renew Life Ultimate Flora Adult Formula

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to probiotics so use your best judgment and chose a brand that you trust.

Top probiotic foods

There are plenty of foods out there that contain probiotics. Try adding any of these to your diet.

  • Yogurt
  • Natto
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Tempeh
  • Miso

Before taking any supplements please check with your doctor to make sure they are right for you.

Do you take a probiotic supplement? What do you recommend? 

Yogurt | Stock Photo © Simone Voigt #5030990

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16 Responses to “Why I’m Adding Probiotics to My Diet”

  1. I have taken Culturelle — my MD brother-in-law tells me it’s one of the only ones with any clinical evidence supporting its use. We eat A LOT of yogurt around here (almost every day) — the good stuff with live cultures and nothing added — but this is making me think about stepping up our probiotics. It’s really a question for me of how many supplements I want to pay for and have my kids take — we already do omega-3 gummies and a multivitamin for our picky eater.

  2. We’ve used probiotics for years. I get whatever brand my son likes the taste of. Currently, that is Rainbow Light Probiolicious Gummies.
    For the adults, we’ve been using PB8 by Nutrition Now. Our friend is the Director of Research for an acupuncture school. I figure if he had done his own personal research on supplements, why should I duplicate it?! He uses PB8.

  3. Thanks for this great information. I have been thinking about probiotics for my family for a long time. My problem has been that it really is overwhelming, there are so many choices. And unfortunately what works for one person might not work for another person. I started looking again yesterday so hopefully I find something.

  4. Great info! I take New Chapter prenatal vitamins made with whole foods and probiotics.

  5. Thanks for the great info Lori! I’ve never taken a supplement but we make homemade kefir and eat it most mornings!

  6. We also have been using probiotics for years – especially when taking antibiotics. Thanks for the info on the benefits I didn’t know about!

  7. A few months ago, I started to think I had become lactose intolerant. At the point that I couldn’t stand it anymore, I went to our natural foods store and asked them what might help.
    They said probiotics.
    And can I tell you, within the day I was feeling better. Within a week, I could eat dairy without issue. No joke!! So now I take them everyday and have even started my daughter on them.
    How can it be as easy as putting the good stuff back in our bodies?? Why didn’t I think of this before?? :)

  8. Hi Gretchen, Thanks for sharing your story. I love hearing when things actually work. So glad you are feeling well.

  9. Hi Nancy, Thanks for letting us know that you’ve been taking probiotics for a while. I’m looking forward to all the positive side effects.

  10. This may be too much information but I take probiotics for my bowel issues. My colonic lady recommended it. It makes a world of difference. I am not taking them since I am traveling and I miss them. :(

  11. […] This is the time of year when we start to get slammed with all sorts of sickness. Nicole over at Simple Homemade shared a few great tips to keep your immune system in check this fall. I was happy to see one of her tips included taking a probiotic. […]

  12. Never too much info Meg! Thanks for sharing. I think your “colonic lady” gave you good advice :) Once you are back from your travels I’m sure you’ll get into a routine again.

  13. Thanks for all the great information and tips Lori! I am a fan of Kombucha, and feel that is the only thing I get probiotics from. Recently I have found I have a reaction to gluten/wheat and dairy products. I am now thinking about further researching a supplement that may help with some of those issues. Thanks again for sharing! Here is an interesting article I found for more probiotic newbies like me!

  14. Hi Alexi, Thanks for sharing the link. Sorry to hear you are reacting to gluten, wheat and dairy. What type of diet are you eating? Raw? Thankfully over the years the number of options for those with allergies has increased. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. I also believe that probiotics, along with other nutrients/vitamins are very vital to the body. Even a simple though famous spice, curcumin/turmeric has some benefits to the body. Others are not just aware of it. :)

  16. […] This is the time of year when we start to get slammed with all sorts of sickness. Nicole over at Simple Homemade shared a few great tips to keep your immune system in check this fall. I was happy to see one of her tips included taking a probiotic. […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

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