Probiotic Foods vs. Supplements
When you shop for probiotics, you have many choices. You can get your probiotics from foods, like certain yogurts, or from supplements that typically come in the form of pills or powders.
There are several reasons why probiotic foods are the preferred choice for getting probiotic bacteria:
- Probiotic foods can buffer stomach acids and increase the chance that the probiotics will survive passage through the human gut.
- Fermented foods that contain probiotics, like certain yogurts, can be a source of nutrients needed for good health such as calcium, protein, and potassium.
- Probiotic supplements in the form of pills don’t usually provide nutrients that some cultures produce during fermentation.
- Some individuals have trouble swallowing, or just don’t like pills; but yogurt by example is easy and enjoyable to consume.
Finding Probiotic Foods
Choosing probiotic foods can be a little tricky. While many foods contain live and active cultures, not all cultures are probiotics. Some cultures may sound similar, but they can be very different. It is important to look for the species and strains of probiotics used in each product. Some of the most common species of probiotics to look for are:
- Lactobacillus (examples: L. plantarum, L. casei, L. reuteri, L. acidophilius)
- Bifidobacterium (examples: B. bifidum, B. lactis, B. animalis, B. longum)
Among these species, some of the studied probiotic strains are:
- Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001
- Bifidobacterium animalis lactis DN-173 010/CNCM I-2494
- Bifidobacterium BB-12®
- Kefir with probiotic strains
- Probiotic yogurt
- Dried fruits and juices with probiotics added
- Infant formula with probiotics added