Probiotics: Why Do We Need Them?
Everyone’s body has gut flora [also called microbiota], microorganisms that are mostly bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract, usually the large intestine. The bacteria in our gut flora can be beneficial for our digestion and can destroy harmful bacteria. However, sometimes the “good” bacteria in our gut flora is decreased when we take antibiotics, which can kill off all bacteria - the good and bad. When you lose some of the good bacteria, probiotics can help replace them. Probiotics are also living microorganisms, bacteria or certain kinds of yeast. There are many added health benefits including boosting your immune system, increasing your metabolism, increasing your energy levels, and increasing the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Probiotics are generally healthy for everyone, but recent studies show that taking probiotics post bariatric surgery can have added benefits. They can reduce gastrointestinal symptoms and increase the absorption of Vitamin B12.
Probiotics naturally occur in certain fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha. If you want to add probiotics to your diet look for the phrase “live cultures” on the nutrition label or CFU’s which stand for colony forming units to ensure that you’re receiving the full benefits of probiotics. You can also take a probiotic supplement in pill form - we have one for purchase in the office by the Celebrate brand.
There are probiotics added to drinks and all sorts of products these days. As we always say, be sure to read the labels. Be careful of probiotics found in certain drinks due to their added sugar content, and I’ve even seen probiotics added to potato chips, cauliflower puffs and other salty snacks. Adding probiotics to these doesn’t make them good for a bariatric diet! I always suggest the most natural sources of probiotics such as yogurt [be sure to find one low in sugar] and sauerkraut etc.
See our recent blog post on Dannon’s new yogurt – Two Good Greek Low-Fat Yogurt as an example of a low sugar option.