Probiotics in food– Can we get enough from our diet? | Super Synbiotics

Probiotics in your food– how much can we get from our diet?

Good bacteria (probiotics) are available as a dietary supplement and in some of the foods that we eat. In this article, you can read more about which foods contain probiotics as well as how much good bacteria the food item actually contains. 

What kinds of foods contain probiotics? 

Good bacteria are naturally found in the soil, which means that we used to be able to find them on fresh fruits and vegetables. But today, raw plant-based foods make up a relatively small part of our everyday diet. Add to this the fact that the majority of our crops are sprayed, which means that the amount of natural bacteria in the foods we eat is reduced. 

Fermented foods 

Kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh and kefir are all examples of food products made through fermentation. In fermentation, lactic acid bacteria that is naturally found in the raw food or added to it converts carbohydrates to lactate, which lowers the pH and creates a hostile environment for harmful bacteria. In their natural form, fermented foods therefore contain lactic acid bacteria, but most of the products sold in stores today have been pasteurised. This means that the products have been heated, which kills the beneficial, living bacteria. 

How many probiotics can we get from our food? 

Even if a fermented food is unpasteurised, it is hard to know exactly how much good bacteria it contains. If the lactic acid bacteria are added separately, then the amount added to the food can be used as a guideline, but since bacteria are living organisms that can both multiply and die, the actual bacterial content can shift up or down. The bacterial strains in the fermented product may also vary, and there is no guarantee that all the strains are actually probiotic strains. For a bacterial strain to be classified as probiotic, it must meet a variety of criteria. Among other criteria, the bacteria must be able to survive until they reach the large intestine and be able to establish themselves once they get there. 

Unlike most fermented products, supplements such as probiotics and synbiotics can offer more control over which strains are included and in what quantities. Read more about how to pick the right probiotic supplement for you. 

Can fermented foods be used in place of probiotic supplements? 

Even if a fermented food is unpasteurised, we still cannot be certain that it contains the type of bacteria we need in a sufficient quantity to offer a benefit. Still, there are generally no disadvantages to eating fermented foods, and a few tablespoons of sauerkraut or kimchi each day can provide you with an extra boost, primarily of prebiotic fibre and digestive enzymes but also lactic acid bacteria. 



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