What are Probiotics?

It seems like a day doesn’t go by without a new article about how probiotics are going to change your life for the better. Your social media accounts are flooded with posts about how this miracle substance is going to make your digestive system run smoothly and keep your immune system kicked into high gear. What you may not have heard is that you can get all of these benefits from some of your favorite foods, and that these foods can fit easily and deliciously into your diet -- from breakfast to snacks to dessert. 

What are these little buggers? 

Yes, it may be a bit creepy at first to think of probiotics as what they actually are –they are made out of bacteria. Don’t worry – these are the good guys – and as with most families, they are competitive with their relatives. This means that when you bring in the good guys they keep out the bad seeds of the family, the ones that make you sick.  

Probiotics are a natural part of the food-making process. You love your morning yogurt, and you’ve heard it’s good for your digestion. Probiotics are the reason why – the special types of bacteria that are used in yogurt help turn the milk into the tangy thicker texture that we have come to love. In fact you can’t make yogurt without the bacteria, they are a natural part of foods you already love, have important health benefits and add a great taste.

Maybe it is not news that yogurt has probiotics but there are plenty of other foods that also share the same gut and immune boosting properties. Have you ever tried kefir? Buttermilk, yes as in the pancakes? 

Don’t like dairy? We don’t have to look far to see that Asian cultures love probiotics too – and this love affair has been going on for centuries. Miso and kimchi are leading the wave of probiotic foods that you can use as ingredients to incorporate into your new favorite recipes. 

Whether it is synthesizing vitamins, keeping our intestines on schedule, stopping babies from crying, lowering blood pressure, or preventing cancer – probiotics seem to be able to do it all. 

The way to get all of the incredible health benefits of probiotics is to make them a staple of your diet!