Probiotics – What You Need to Know

Lucia Litman is back with another guest blog post. Lucy is a native Minnesotan, but has lived in DC for the past 7 years. She is an avid Fuse Pilates DC student and you will see her at the studio several times a week. She works for sweetgreen and is passionate about food and helping others find balance and a healthy lifestyle that works for them.

2014 may be the year of Justin Bieber’s retirement or the year that Google Glass is finally released, but it will definitely be the year that probiotic foods begin to appear more on menus and grocery stores aisles all around you.

What are probiotics? They are foods that are filled with microorganisms and helpful bacteria that aid in digestion and help treat and prevent various illnesses.

If you shudder at the idea of eating bacteria, that’s normal.  Traditionally, bacteria are associated with disease and health issues, but there are also many types of beneficial bacteria that help support your body’s internal functions. These kinds of bacteria—probiotics— aid in digestion, and, more astonishingly, can treat, and even prevent, various illnesses. So if you are looking to make a healthy dietary change in 2014 – make friends with probiotics. Have digestive issues or immune problems? Probiotics can be a game changer.

Where can you find probiotic foods? The good news is that they are in a lot of foods that you are probably already eating and drinking: miso soup, kombucha, tempeh and soft cheeses (like goat cheese) naturally contain probiotics. Even pickles and pickled foods, believe it or not, are an excellent source of probiotics. To get the maximum benefit, opt for naturally fermented pickled vegetables that don’t have vinegar, which can kill some of the beneficial bacteria. My personal favorite is kimchi, Korean fermented cabbage, that contains vitamin A, iron and calcium as well as the additional benefits of healthy bacteria!

 

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