Eat Bacteria for Optimal Health

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

You have got to be kidding me. I need to eat bacteria in order to be healthy?

Yes and no. Have you ever heard the word probiotic used before?

  • Probiotic is a general classification for the healthy bacteria that improve the health of our intestines.
  • A prebiotic stimulates the growth of these healthy bacteria.

Confused yet?

What Do We Need Probiotics for?

A normal healthy person does not need additional probiotics in their diet. We can grow our own healthy bacteria in our intestines.

However, we are constantly ingesting bad bacteria, and we need to get rid of them! We do this by allowing the healthy bacteria to take over the bad bacteria. Fiber also helps to flush out the bad bacteria.

Probiotics help to detoxify the body, improve the immune system, and alleviate irritable bowel syndrome. Think of it this way—the intestines are the building blocks of the immune system. If we don’t have healthy intestines, we will not have optimal health.

We Can Eat Probiotics?

Of course! Yogurt and kefir are sources of probiotics as long as the label states that it contains live and active cultures. Kombucha, and other fermented products are also a good source of probiotics.

Dannon Activia tries to persuade people to eat 3 of their yogurts a day, but that’s more of a marketing ploy than anything else.

Finally, you can always try supplementation if you do not like those foods. Supplementation also helps to make sure you get a larger dose of the right probiotics.

One good brand is “Nutrition Now PB 8”.

  • It is gluten free
  • Its vegetable-based
  • Comes in a BPA-free bottle
  • Contains no artificial ingredients

When to Supplement

Probiotic Supplement

  • Taking antibiotics: The medicines will kill all types of bacteria (including the healthy ones), so supplementation can help add back the healthy bacteria.
  • Diarrhea: Will help to restore normal digestion and rebuild the healthy bacteria.
  • IBS: Will help reduce bloating, and normalize bowel movements.
  • Infections/Common Cold: Some research suggests that probiotics will strengthen the immune system enough to improve symptoms or prevent illness.
  • Cancer Prevention: Research is still in progress about possible colon cancer prevention benefits, cholesterol improvements, and more!

As always, check with your healthcare provider before supplementing. Overall, probiotic supplementation could benefit some with specific bowel ailments.

Personally, I swear by drinking a lot of kefir (probiotic-containing) when I think I may be starting to get sick and it has always helped! 

Have you taken probiotics?

You can buy Nutrition Now PB8 supplement online here.

3 Comments

  1. julia

    What are the side effects? Am experiencing a great deal of bloating and rectal/colon pain.

    Reply
  2. Jacob

    Another good tip is to pay attention to how your body responds. When you take a probiotic you can tell if it’s working by the gastric disturbances/gas you’ll have the first few days. This is caused by the probiotic bacteria taking over. If you don’t notice this effect there’s not enough live cultures in what you’re taking. Of everything I’ve tried, homemade milk kefir is by far the best and least expensive.

    Thanks for writing articles that bring attention to the importance of probiotics 🙂

    Reply
  3. Spectra

    Actually, as long as you eat plenty of fiber and plant products in your diet, you shouldn’t need any supplements at all. The “good” strains of streptococcus, E. coli, and lactobacilli feed on the fiber that you eat–it grows in your intestines and forms a massive colony that will prevent “bad” bacteria from taking up residence. Incidentally, having a healthy probiotic culture in your gut also helps prevent yeast infections. When you are on antibiotics, it’s extremely important to eat plenty of fiber as well as adding live-culture yogurt or kefir to your diet to regenerate your healthy flora as quickly as possible.

    Reply