What are probiotics and why are they good for you? [Sponsored]

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By Kathleen Wood, in partnership with Whole Foods Market

Have you avoided getting a cold this winter? If so, you might have probiotics to thank! Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that live in our bodies and are good for our health.

Hopefully you didn’t cringe when you heard the word bacteria… often when we hear this word we think of disease, but your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad, and probiotics are the "good bacteria”!

They support our digestive system where most of our immunity work is done so this is how probiotics help us fend off illness. There are hundreds of different species of these friendly probiotics that are present naturally in our bodies, but they can also be created in food through the process of fermentation.

During fermentation, food is broken down by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms and probiotics are created. Adding these fermented foods to your diet is a great way to boost immunity, and in addition, probiotics will help you synthesize vitamins, eliminate toxins, digest your food and absorb nutrients.

So how can you get more of these beneficial bacteria into your system? Try some of these foods, but make sure the package reads “Live” or “Live cultured”:

  • Yogurt (not all commercially sold yogurts have live cultures, so you have to check!)
  • Kombucha -a fermented tea drink (Try GT’s organic raw kombucha!)
  • Live cultured pickles
  • Live cultured sauerkraut-Fermented cabbage
  • Live cultured kimchi-Spicy Korean fermented cabbage
  • Live pickled veggies
  • Unpasteurized miso
  • Live cultured cheese
  • Kefir-a popular cultured dairy drink
  • Probiotic supplements-At Whole Foods Market we keep a large selection in the Whole Body department

 

Here are some tips for incorporating probiotics into your day:

  • Incorporate kefir and yogurt into your meals.
  • Make smoothies like our gorgeous Sunrise Breakfast Smoothie, or enjoy fruit salads, hot cooked cereals and more, topped with fresh yogurt or kefir.
  • Have a kombucha drink with your lunch!
  • Cook with Miso. Here’s a recipe for a delicious Miso Soup with Garlic and Ginger
  • Add kimchi or sauerkraut to your sandwiches or burgers, like we have here on our Kimchi Burgers.

Kathleen Wood, a Nutritionist with Whole Foods Market, leads Healthy Eating programming for the Mid-Atlantic region. She graduated from Dickinson College and then did a Master’s degree in Public Health at Boston University where she focused on theories of health behavior change. She also completed a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University. She’s happy to offer you advice on food, recipes and nutrition. Please feel free to contact her at kathleen.wood@wholefoods.com.