5 Tips for Eating Good Bacteria

Try some of these probiotics to add more good bacteria to your day.

Praised for their digestive benefits, probiotics are one of the most popular natural supplements in the US. Recent studies have shown that probiotics may also play a role in treating diabetes.

In a new study published by Diabetes, a team of researchers used a specially-engineered strain of the probiotic Lactobacillus. The probiotic released a hormone called Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which stimulates the secretion of insulin.

Although the study was conducted in animals, researchers hope that If the findings can be replicated in humans, it may lead to an additional treatment method for diabetes to reduce blood glucose levels and subsequent long-term complications.

In the meantime, there are a number of ways to increase your intake of healthy probiotics. Yogurt, cheese, and even chocolate contain Lactobacillus gasseri, one of the most common probiotics. To follow is a list of some of the best dietary sources of probiotics.

Kefir (shown above) is a fermented dairy product, which contains beneficial yeast as well as probiotics. Like a drinkable yogurt, be sure to keep your kefir cold since the live and active cultures are sensitive to heat.  Also, look for kefir lower sugar content since large quantities of sugar can affect healthy bacteria growth in the intestine.

Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt gets its thick consistency by straining the yogurt to remove its whey. For true Greek yogurt, check the ingredients list. It should only read: Milk and cultures to get the true benefit of healthy bacteria.

Real Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut, a traditional side dish, is made of lacto-fermented cabbage. Avoid canned sauerkraut because it is pasteurized and the healthy bacertia is destroyed. Instead, make your own homemade sauerkraut in a crock pot.

Homemade sauerkraut.

Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has been promoted for its many health benefits. Look for chocolate with at least 70% cacao. The higher the cocoa, the lower the sugar content.  An adult can enjoy a full ounce of chocolate during the day if it's 70%  cocoa; 1¼ ounces if it's 85% cocoa.

Artichokes are potent prebiotics, meaning they contain undigestible nutrients that help feed the beneficial bacteria growth within your digestive system.
If artichokes aren’t your thing, try other potent prebiotics like bananas, lentils, and asparagus.

Updated on: March 18, 2015
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