Posts Tagged ‘probiotics’

A new year provides an opportunity to look at your health and to decide how well you are doing in terms of your eating habits. Instead of starting this year off being negative and looking at the habits you should not be doing or the foods you should not be eating, why not turn the tables and focus upon the foods you want to start adding to your daily meals?

Adding superfoods to your diet plan is always an excellent way to spruce up your health and to give you more of the antioxidants you need to stay healthy and strong.

If you do not know what a superfood is then here is a quick explanation of it. Superfoods are foods that contain compounds that have been found through medical studies to prevent the onset of disease. They are also capable of optimizing your overall level of health and well-being. Superfoods are fabulous and health enhancing!

Here are two delicious superfoods to think about adding eating more of to your diet in the coming year:


Many years ago eggs were blamed for contributing to high cholesterol levels and we were told that we should limit the number of eggs we ate per week. With time has come knowledge and we now know that it is saturated fats and trans fats that raise cholesterol levels and that eggs are not such villains after all.

Eggs are a superfood that you need to make sure you eat regularly to improve your health. Eggs are very high in protein – most of it in the white and not the yoke – and provide up to seven grams per serving. This helps to make you feel full and it also helps to break down fat in your body. If you have no cholesterol problems whatsoever then eating six to eight eggs per week (omega-3 free range eggs are best) is perfectly fine. However if you are looking for ways to reduce fat in your diet then eat only the egg whites.

Greek Yogurt:

If you have always found yogurt kind of a blah food then you have not been introduced to Greek yogurt yet! This type of yogurt is creamy and tastes more like an appetizing dessert. In fact for non-yogurt lovers you may not even realize that you are eating yogurt because it tastes so darn good!

Greek yogurt is high in protein, full of probiotics and is low in fat. It is also very thick in its consistency which gives it the creamy taste. What makes Greek yogurt different from regular yogurt is an extra straining process it is put through that gets rid of the liquid that it is common to see resting on top of regular yogurt. The fact that Greek yogurt does not have this liquid means that it is thicker and is also more concentrated in regards to the amount of protein and calcium that it contains. Consuming one half cup will provide you with 18 grams of protein and 50 percent of the daily dietary requirement for the mineral calcium.

Add berries to your yogurt for breakfast and any time of the day. Mix in some flaxseed powder, some wheat germ or some granola. Adding a tiny amount of honey to fat-free Greek yogurt can also give it an extra special taste!


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Many of the new buzz words in the health community are not ones that everyone is familiar with.

For instance are you aware of what prebiotics and probiotics are? Before we can delve into this topic it would help to get a little background. For that we must turn to the digestive system.

We all have bacteria living in our digestive systems. Some of these bacteria have the potential to make you ill (bad bacteria). We also have bacteria that are useful and can contribute to keeping you well (friendly, good or healthy bacteria). The good bacteria’s job is to keep bad bacteria and yeast from developing in the intestinal tract and leading to health problems. This friendly bacteria also helps in the production of vitamin K and aids the immune system in working to its highest capacity.

Most of the time there is an abundance of good bacteria in the intestinal tract. However such things as taking a course of antibiotics, stress and making unhealthy food choices can lead to what is known as intestinal dysbiosis. This condition is a bacterial imbalance that leads to the overgrowth of yeast and bad bacteria.

Dysbiosis is more common than you might think. However most health issues that result from this problem are called by other names. For instance this condition has been connected to disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), yeast infections and rheumatoid arthritis.

Antibiotic therapy is a common reason that dysbiosis occurs. This is because when you take an antibiotic to get rid of an infection not only does it destroy the bad bacteria but it also affects the levels of friendly bacteria that reside in the digestive system.

This brings us to the topic at hand – prebiotics and probiotics. What are they and how can they help our bodies to function better?

Both prebiotics and probiotics are able to restore the balance of bacteria that exists in the digestive tract. Probiotics can be defined as beneficial or healthy bacteria that are found in a selection of foods and/or can be taken as supplements. There are different strains of probiotics but the two most common families of bacteria include Lactobacillis and Bifidobacterium.

Prebiotics on the other hand are foods that are non-digestible that are able to make their way through the digestive system. The job of prebiotics is to support healthy bacteria to grow and to multiply in numbers. Think of it this way- prebiotics see to it that good bacteria remain healthy and plentiful in order to fight any bad bacteria that they encounter.


The prebiotics in your system that is responsible for being a food source for friendly bacteria mainly come from carbohydrate fibers known as oligosaccharides. These fibers are not digested and for that reason they stay in the digestive tract and encourage good bacteria to grow.

The sources of oligosaccharides include fruits, whole grains and legumes. You can also find supplements known as fructose-oligosaccharides that you can consume. Yogurt with prebiotics is made with bifidobacteria which in turn contains oligosaccharides. Check the yogurt label to make sure of this before you purchase it.


Probiotics or probiotic bacteria such as lactobacilli are naturally occurring in foods that are fermented. Examples of these include sauerkraut and yogurt. There are some types of foods that will have probiotics added. Always check your labels.

You can also buy supplements such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus.

Becca Scott

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Probiotics are good bacteria that are friendly and beneficial to the human body, especially when it comes to the digestive system.

We are taught that bacteria are not good for us. We are always trying to fight bacteria and bacteria related infections with antibacterial this and antibacterial that. In fact you probably have some antibacterial wipes in your home, car or purse right now. You might even have some stashed away in a drawer at your desk at work.

The desire to fight bacteria is good because there are many different types of bacteria that can lead to an assortment of unfortunate health problems. Many of these often require antibiotics and some are serious enough to necessitate hospitalization. However if you believe that ALL bacteria are bad then you are laboring under a false pretense. All bacteria are not bad. In fact there are some types that fall under the name probiotics that can actually benefit the human body.

Bacteria have a bad reputation and in most cases, rightly so. Bacterial infections can wreck terrible havoc wherever they go. On the other hand, there are the helping bacteria or the friendly bacteria called probiotics that seek to improve the way the body functions.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are defined as “living micro organisms which, when ingested, have beneficial effects on the human body.” The most common form of good bacteria or friendly bacteria is known as Lactobacillus Acidophilus. Lactobacillus is the genus name while Acidophilus is the strain of bacteria.

Ever heard of it?

Good bacteria readily live and thrive in the intestines and the vagina where they protect against the invasion of and growth of bad bacteria that can cause infections and disease. Good bacteria also serve another useful function- they create lactase which is an enzyme found in the body that makes it possible for lactose or milk sugar to be broken down into simple sugars that the body can digest. The term “lactose intolerant” describes individuals whose bodies do not produce the enzyme lactase and therefore could greatly benefit from taking a probiotic supplement.

Taking a Lactobacillus Acidophilus supplement is also recommended after taking a supply of antibiotics. While antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria they also kill off some of the good bacteria as well. Supplements of this probiotic can help replenish the supply and balance the good and the bad bacteria to prevent another problem from starting. If you have ever developed a yeast infection following a bout of antibiotics then a probiotic supplement could be of help to you. Yeast infections occur because the balance of bacteria in the vagina has been upset and needs to be equalized. Probiotics can become the friendly equalizer of bacteria in this instance!

Probiotics encourage the immune system to work to its greatest capacity when you are healthy. When you become sick, probiotics comes to the rescue as they help to relieve a variety of health concerns- everything from colon cancer to liver cancer to indigestion and diarrhea.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus- A Funny Name for a Helping Hand

Lactobacillus Acidophilus aids in the production of the B vitamins folic acid, niacin and pyridoxine while the digestive process is taking place. The level of cholesterol is reduced in the blood when there are plenty of good bacteria around. Yeasts such as Candida albicans that are responsible for vaginal yeast infections (as previously mentioned) in women are reduced when Lactobacillus Acidophilus is plentiful in the body.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus can be found in yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures (always make sure it states that on the label as some brands have little if any bacterial cultures included), milk that is enriched with Acidophilus (again read the label carefully), miso and tempeh. For those who are not familiar with either miso or tempeh, miso is a fermented bean paste that derives from soybeans while tempeh is a “tender, chunky cake of fermented soybeans” that is a regular dietary element of Indonesian cooking.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus can also be consumed as a supplement and it can be purchased either in the alternative health food section of a grocery store or at a health food store. Preparations of Lactobacillus Acidophilus consist of liquid or dried cultures of living bacteria. Don’t be scared of the term “living bacteria” as it really is a very healthy thing! Most of the time these live cultures are grown in milk but sometimes they are not. The preparations can be purchased as freeze dried capsules, granules or powders and they usually require refrigeration. Before starting to take any form of a supplement, always talk it over with your doctor first.

To learn more about probiotics, please visit these websites:



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