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An RD Answers: Should You Take a Daily Probiotic?

Probiotic supplements are certainly having a moment, with some data showing that the use of probiotics by adults quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. (1) With promises of helping support gut health, mood, immunity, and a slew of other benefits, it’s understandable why you may want to include them in your daily life. But is taking a probiotic supplement every day worth it, or is it just another trend that you should skip? After reading this article, you will get a better understanding of whether probiotics are right for you.

What Are Probiotics?

Bacteria is usually an organism that we try to avoid. But believe it or not, some strains of bacteria can benefit your health. Probiotics are “good bacteria” strains that live in certain parts of your body (like your gut) and help support various factors of your health. You can fuel your body with probiotics byeating foods that contain these live bacteria.

Probiotic Benefits

Having the right balance of “good” bacteria, AKA probiotics, may help support your health in a variety of ways. Some of these include: (2,3)

  • Gut health support

  • Immune health support

  • Anti-inflammatory effects

  • Blood pressure lowering effects

  • Stress management

Probiotics vs. Prebiotics

There is evidence that highlights how probiotics can support your health. But just like all living things, these live bacteria need fuel to thrive. And that is where prebiotics come in.

Prebiotics are an indigestible fiber that passes through the digestive system. But even though you can’t use them for fuel, that doesn’t mean that the live probiotics can’t. Probiotics use prebiotics as fuel. And without adequate prebiotic fiber, the probiotics that you consume won’t be able to thrive. Many fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans contain prebiotics. And for a beverage option,OLIPOP contains 9 grams of prebiotic fiber to help fuel your body with this important nutrient.

Probiotics in Food

You can get probiotics in many foods that you may already have in your refrigerator. Here are seven probiotic-containing food and drink choices for you to keep on your radar:

  • Yogurt: Combining dairy milk with live and active cultures results in the creamy food that we love to enjoy in our parfaits.

  • Kefir: A fermented dairy beverage that is slightly tart.

  • Kimchi:A traditional Korean dish that is typically made from salted and fermented vegetables, like cabbage.

  • Kombucha: A fermented tea that contains live probiotics.

  • Miso: Fermented soybean paste that provides a salty umami flavor to many dishes.

  • Sauerkraut: A condiment made of fermented cabbage.

  • Tempeh: A plant-based protein source made from cooked fermented soybeans.

Should You Take a Probiotic Daily?

It’s usually better to get anynutrient from food vs. a supplement. So if it’s possible, including fermented foods in your diet is your best bet. But, since most Americans are not consistently consuming adequate amounts of fermented foods, a supplement can be a good plan “B” to help you meet your needs. A probiotic supplement should be third-party tested and contain enough probiotics (at least 1 billion CFUs). You should also store probiotic supplements in a cool and dry place.

Is OLIPOP a Probiotic?

OLIPOP is a better-for-you soda that is lower in sugar and packed with botanical ingredients. But while it may support gut health, it is not a probiotic as this soda does not contain any live bacteria. Instead, itcontains prebiotics to help fuel the live probiotics that you have residing in your body. With a whopping 9 grams of fiber per serving, cracking open a can may help support a healthy gut microbiome – especially if you combine it with a diet rich in fermented foods or foods with added probiotics.

Daily Probiotics: The Takeaway

Your best source of probiotics is whole foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. But if you want to support your health and you don’t have a diet that is rich in fermented foods, then a daily probiotic may be beneficial. If you can, opt for one with multiple strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. But speak with your healthcare provider to determine which probiotic will be the best choice for you.

And don’t forget to include prebiotic fibers! Prebiotic options like Jerusalem artichoke, onion, a slightly underripe banana, and a can ofOLIPOP can help ensure that the probiotics you're eating or taking are getting the fuel they need so they have the best chance of thriving.

Sources

  1. Probiotics: What You Need To Know. (n.d.). NCCIH.https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know

  2. Kim, C. J., Cha, L., Sim, M., Jung, S., Chun, W. J., Baik, H. W., & Shin, D. (2021). Probiotic Supplementation Improves Cognitive Function and Mood with Changes in Gut Microbiota in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Trial. The Journals of Gerontology, 76(1), 32–40.https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glaa090

  3. Sanlier, N., Gökcen, B. B., & Sezgin, A. C. (2019). Health benefits of fermented foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59(3), 506–527.https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355

Cheat Sheet
  • Probiotics can help support gut health, offer immune support, and have a slew of other health benefits when you consume them consistently.
  • If you’re not eating enough fermented foods or foods that have added probiotics, exploring a probiotic supplement may be beneficial.
  • If you are taking a probiotic supplement, be sure to consume prebiotic fiber as well to fuel the live bacteria.
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