I haven’t always been a fan of yogurt—except maybe the frozen kind that comes in a sugar cone. But in the last decade or so I’ve made a point of expanding my health horizons and now include it in my diet. Why? Surely you’ve heard by now that in addition to being a nice, low-fat, any-time-of-day snack, yogurt contains probiotics—or live microorganisms that play a part in health.
Years ago, the idea of ingesting bacteria may have caused me, or you, to raise an eyebrow. After all, these little bugs are the reason we use hand sanitizer, wipe down countertops and avoid door handles in public restrooms. Right? Not so fast.
It turns out our bodies naturally host hundreds of bacterial species, with trillions of microorganisms inhabiting a normal intestinal tract. Sometimes called “friendly flora,” these microscopic residents aren’t harmful. In fact, they’re known to lend a hand with a variety of important body functions, from aiding digestion to supporting immune system health.*
Why take probiotic supplements?
Knowing that some gut bacteria are beneficial, it makes sense to want to support healthy, thriving colonies within our bodies. But a number of things—travel, poor diet, stress and certain medications, just to name a few—can disrupt levels, potentially offsetting the natural balance between “good” and “bad” microorganisms that naturally populate the digestive tract.
While eating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt (other options include kefir, miso, tempeh and sauerkraut) is an ideal way to support beneficial bacteria levels in the body, supplements can also help.* I don’t know about you, but I can only consume so many spoonfuls of yogurt before it becomes a chore—which is why Vitacost Probiotic Supreme is part of my regular supplement regimen.
How to choose a probiotic supplement
Choosing a probiotic supplement isn’t always easy, with strange names and confusing numbers to decipher on product labels. To make things easier for you, we’ve come up with a guide to help determine your probiotic needs and find a formula that’s right for you. You’ll find a selection of:
Daily Essentials: For those who already include a good amount of probiotic-rich foods in their diet but want extra daily support, Vitacost Probiotic 8-5 may be a good fit. It delivers eight different strains of microorganisms and 5 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per serving.
Advanced Support: Maybe your diet is less than stellar, you travel frequently or stress seems to show up more often than you’d like. An advanced formula, such as Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra, could be right for you. It contains 15 billion CFUs, plus 13 species of beneficial cultures including soil-based probiotics called homeostatic soil organisms (HSOs).
Supreme Support: For a potent probiotic punch, ideal for those with more adventurous diets or if you’ve taken antibiotics recently, Vitacost Probiotic 15-35, supplies 15 strains, 35 billion CFUs and NutraFlora® FOS prebiotcs. Plus, this formula is manufactured using VIABLEND® technology that helps protect microorganisms from stomach acid on their way to the intestines. http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-simply-vegan-high-potency-probiotic-non-gmo-gluten-free-50-billion-cfu-t-60-vegetarian-capsules-1
Specialty Formulas: Age, additional lifestyle factors and specialty diets call for specifically targeted formulas, like Vitacost Simply Vegan Senior Probiotic – a non-dairy probiotic supplement that offers 25 billion CFUs of 5 well-known probiotic strains. It’s the perfect formula for ages 50 and up.
Balance is a beautiful thing. Let probiotic supplements help you achieve it. To start your search for a Vitacost-brand formula now, click here.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.