Digest This!


Probiotic products have become increasingly popular in recent years and are considered to be a "trendy" food item by many foodies. Probiotics contain live bacteria that are good for your health, especially your digestive and immune systems. They work by balancing the "good" and "bad" bacteria in your gut. The "good" probiotic bacteria help improve digestion and absorption of food as well as help defend against harmful "bad" bacteria.  Probiotics are considered safe to eat and have minor, if any, side effects. Today, there are a wide variety of probiotic products available on the market for consumers to choose from.

Some potential benefits for incorporating more probiotics in your diet:

·        Prevent occasional digestive upsets (gas, bloating, and irregularity)

·        Improve lactose intolerance

·        Alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

·        Enhance the immune system

·        Improve transit time (time it takes for food to travel through the digestive system)

Some common varieties of probiotics include:

  Yogurt - With so many varieties available, this creamy, fermented dairy product has practically taken over the dairy section in grocery stores! Yogurt contains billions of live "good" bacteria that are good for your health and come in many tasty favors. Look for brands that contain a variety of bacterial strains listed on their label such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteriu

   My Pick: Siggi's Vanilla Skyr. This yogurt contains 5 strains of good bacteria, zero fat, and only 9g of sugar. It is a great source of protein (14g) and calcium (15% daily value), and tastes great!

Kefir - A fermented milk product that has a sweet and pleasant taste, contains B vitamins, and is a good source of calcium, magnesium, and protein. You can drink Kefir on its own- add it to a smoothie, or use in place of milk when baking to add extra protein.

  My top pick: Lifeway Low Fat Kefir Blueberry. This kefir contains 12 live and active probiotic cultures, is gluten-free, and 99% lactose free. It is a great source of protein (11g) and calcium (30% daily value), and is low in fat (2g).


Kimchi - This Korean staple is made by fermenting cabbage and other vegetables with probiotic bacteria. Kimchi is low in calories and fat and rich in vitamins A and C. It can be used in salads, sandwiches, and stir-fries as well as a topping to your favorite taco or burger.


My top pick: Cosmos Kimchi. This brand contains no artificial preservatives or ingredients. It has zero fat and cholesterol and less then 1g sugar. This product is relatively high in sodium (340mg per serving), as salt is crucial to the fermentation process. If you are on a low sodium diet, limit the amount of kimchi you eat.


Probiotics are a great way to maintain a healthy digestive tract and keep your systems in balance. So try out some of these varieties of probiotics- your digestive and immune system will thank you!


Leigh is a Buffalo native and graduated from the University at Buffalo with a BS in Biomedical Sciences. She is currently studying for her Master's in Nutrition and Dietetics at D'Youville College. She has always had a passion for good, healthy food and enjoys eating at locally-owned restaurants. In her spare time, Leigh likes to do yoga and experiment with baking healthy desserts. 


Categories: Healthy Eating
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