Probiotics are a type of ‘good’ bacteria which can help to restore equilibrium in the gut. The body naturally contains both good and bad bacteria, and if the balance between good and bad is lost, we may experience some digestive problems, such as bloating, aching, and perhaps even a bout of diarrhoea. Yogurt is the most well known source of probiotics, but there are actually many more places to find them.
Yogurt is a type of fermented food, which means that it’s formed when natural bacteria (probiotics) convert carbohydrates in the yogurt starter into organic acids. Sourdough bread is another food that’s created through the fermentation process, along with kimchi, sauerkraut, and other pickled vegetables.
Probiotic drinks are now readily available in supermarkets and health food stores across the United Kingdom. They have probiotics added to them, taste very similar to yogurt, and come in a large variety of flavours. Probiotic drinks are considered to be a convenient, on-the-go alternative to healthy yogurts.
An even more convenient option for those leading busy, hectic lifestyles is taking food supplements. Whether in capsule form or a powdered variety, it’s possible to increase probiotic intake through taking supplements on a regular basis, as part of a healthy diet. Supplements can be found in online health food shops.
As well as increasing probiotic intake, it’s also worth adding other foods to your diet that have a similar effect on the gut. Chocolate, for example, doesn’t contain probiotics, yet research shows that cocoa mimics the effects of probiotics in the body. Chocolate has been shown to increase levels of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli; two of the primary ‘good’ bacteria found in the body. Experts claim that it could minimise digestive discomfort, including some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.