You can get probiotic benefits from foodpuhhha/Shutterstock
People who don’t regularly struggle with gut issues can still benefit from probiotics—and you don’t have to take a pill. Do you often find yourself bloating following a meal or know that you have a hard time digesting certain foods? Before you decide to invest in a daily probiotic, consider adding probiotic-filled foods into your diet, Dr. Ayoob says. “Start with yogurt and kefir, which have live and active cultures, are minimally processed, and can be included in most diets” he says. “I also encourage people to eat more pre-biotic foods, which have different types of dietary fiber that feed the good bacteria in your body.” What does he recommend? “Some fantastic sources are onions, garlic, all fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.”
If you’re buying pills, read the labelStokkete/Shutterstock
Just like you check food labels to avoid certain ingredients (looking at you, high-fructose corn syrup!), pay attention to what is in your probiotic to ensure you make a healthy choice. “Look for a reputable manufacturer with many different strains of probiotics represented, and a strong potency (around 40-50 CFUs) if you are taking it because of antibiotic treatment,” Dr. Kogan says. There is no FDA regulation of supplements, she warns. However, consumerlab.com tests all supplements and publishes their results online, making it simple for you to get info on the effectiveness of a probiotic. It’s also smart to check with your doctor before adding anything new to your diet, not only for her opinion based on your medical history, but for her recommendations, too. Find out how to pick the best probiotic for weight loss.
Probiotics aren’t supercharged pharmaceuticals, and restoring a healthy balance to your body will take time. If you’re suffering from IBS conditions or just not regularly visiting the restroom, taking one probiotic isn’t going to work magic overnight. “This is a process, so things may take weeks to produce a benefit. The gut environment cannot change overnight,” Dr. Ayoob says. “You want to grow more good bacteria, but the idea is to help your gut do what it is made to do, grow its own good environment.”