Probiotics pop up everywhere these days, and many of the low fat foods we buy have a good dose of them thrown in. Ten years ago who would have thought you would seek out ‘good bacteria’ in your food?
Whilst probiotics do help a lot with digestion and general health, there are some things you should know about them.
They are not regulated – as a consumer it’s hard to tell what standard of probiotics you are getting. A lot of products will claim to contain them, but what level of this wonder bacteria is contained within is not easy to discern. You need a little bit of knowledge about what you are buying.
You probably know that dairy products contain the most probiotics, but it’s a good idea to know which other foods are relatively rich in them. Fermented milk drinks and cheeses such as cheddar, or Gouda are good sources.
Read the labels too. If you are dealing with live organisms such as probiotics, you need to appreciate that they can have a relatively short expiration date. Check the storage instructions and make sure that you don’t store them at the wrong temperature.
Bear in mind that you might not be able to take probiotics. For a person in regular health, they are a boon to immunity, but not necessarily for those with a weakened immune system. If you have had heart surgery, or another serious operation, you should probably avoid them for a time at least.
In most instances, it’s good to get some probiotics into your diet, but to maximise the benefits they offer you, check labels, adhere to storage instructions and make sure you are in the right shape to take them. If you take them properly they can be a boon to your health and your diet, and a lot of products that contain them taste great too.