Anjali Pati, Bs MsGH
Written By:
Anjali Pati, Bs MsGH
Posted in: Gut Health

The Health Benefits Of Fermented Probiotic Rich Foods as Probiotic Supplements.

Our world is teeming with information on probiotic supplements, yet no one can easily figure out “ which one” to actually buy. If you’re wondering if you “ need” a probiotic in your life, the answer is an absolute yes. Why? Because our modern age environment isn’t supportive to a healthy microbiome. In our modern-age, unless if you were born vaginally, breastfed through the first twelve months of your life, and protected from environmental toxins and radiation it’s nearly impossible to hold an impeccable gut-lining. Adding in a probiotic supplement can be the solution to preventing a life lead by a toxic leaky gut.

 Fact: 80% of Your Immune System is Controlled by the Bacteria in your Gut.

Your gut is an eclectic community of friendly microorganisms that work together to help with proper digestion and regulates your immune system. 80%  of your immune system is controlled by these tiny organisms! These bacteria are unique to each of us and make up an internal ecosystem that continues to regulate our DNA and evolve throughout our lives into older age. Walk past the nutrition aisle and dairy case of any Whole Foods or health food store and you will find so much advertising for ” probiotics” in a variety of milks, shakes, yogurts, and even protein bars! It’s become such a challenge to value claims and tell whether they’re based on real science or if they’re a hip ” fad” to get the general consumer to buy a product marketed with “probiotics”. In fact, most claims are hugely inflated.

Fact: The long-living people from around the world used fermented foods regularly. 

There is no doubt that there in an incredible relationship between probiotic bacteria and the microbiome and that the area is truly the medicine of the future as the microbiome relates to every organ system in the human body.The answer for where to turn lies in the cultures of the long-living peoples- their probiotic supplementation came from living probiotic foods that were fermented and stored without refrigeration as they were self-preserving. Not all probiotics are equal, especially in the health food supplement industry. There is no way for us to know how viable dried strains are since they all go through a manufacturing process that isn’t always disclosed to the general public. Most general consumers think they can walk into a store and choose ” any” probiotic. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Different probiotics have different CFU counts of bacteria with different properties. The probiotic manufacturing industry are not required to prove anything to the FDA regarding the safety and effectiveness of their products before hitting the market. The use of fermented foods/living probiotics can be traced back to the time of Hippocrates. Interestingly, Hippocrates used yogurt for as a source of medicine, helping patients suffering from diarrhea and other intestinal disorders. Yogurt was the very first fermented food product to be used as a probiotic. Other fermented products you might be familiar with are kefir, kombucha, tempeh, and miso. The development of probiotic enriched foods have offered us a wide range of probiotic options found in ice-cream, cheese, chocolate, and cereals. Fermented foods may be preferred over supplements for their nutritional properties such as pH, buffering capacity, and fat content which offers protection to probiotics passing through our highly acidic microbiome. Fermented dairy products such as cheese and milk also offers a high lactose content which promotes probiotic growth within our gut. Living probiotics are quick to populate the GI-tract, and work quickly and effectively to overturn any bad bacteria.

Fact: Fermented Foods Holds The Key to Pre-Biotics

If you eat a diet rich in plant-based and fermented foods, you are ingesting a variety of microbes and strains that create an amazing community of biodiversity in the gut. You are also consuming and benefiting from the byproducts including acids and enzymes which are emitted into fermented foods throughout the fermentation process. Also many fermented foods such as Kashaya Probiotics are made with additional nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. As the typical American diet is heavy with processed foods and refined sugars, fermented foods create an additional “superfood” instead of a capsule that’s “popped” into the mouth in an easy, more lazy fashion.

So, What’s the Verdict?

Well, that depends on your preference. While probiotic supplements are easier to ingest and favor those who are pickier with their food, fermented foods offer more variation than supplements. For overall use, fermented food products have higher viability standards and are superior to supplements. Supplements can be utilized for specific therapeutic purposes if necessary. In any case, we agree that probiotics confer numerous health benefits that enhance our gut flora and reverse the effects of inflammatory stressors. References: Neda Mollakhalili, Meybodi, et al. “Probiotic Supplements and Food Products: Comparison for Different Targets.” Applied Food Biotechnology, Vol 4, Iss 3, Pp 123-132 (2017), no. 3, 2017, p. 123. EBSCOhost, doi:10.22037/afb.v4i3.16420. Homayoni Rad, Aziz, et al. “The Comparison of Food and Supplement as Probiotic Delivery Vehicles.” Critical Reviews in Food Science & Nutrition, vol. 56, no. 6, May 2016, pp. 896-909. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.fiu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=114677096&site=eds-live.       

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