Probiotics (not to be confused with prebiotics!) are live bacteria and yeasts found in certain fermented foods or added to supplements or yoghurts, that can help restore the natural balance of your tummy, leading to better gut health.
Do probiotics work?
There’s some debate in the medical world about probiotics, but they are thought to be particularly good at restoring your gut after illness or antibiotics, as well as killing or inhibiting harmful bacteria and protecting you from infection. There’s also some evidence, according to the NHS, that they can shorten a bout of diarrhoea by about a day.
They can also help to protect premature babies from developing necrotising enterocolitis.
Probiotics are thought to reduce bloating and flatulence for some people with IBS, and some studies have shown they can also reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Which foods are probiotic?
- Cheeses with live or active cultures
- Sour cream
- Miso soup
- Pickled vegetables
- Dark chocolate
- Traditional buttermilk
- Natto (a fermented soybean product)
- Cottage cheese
- Apple cider vinegar
- Parmesan cheese
- Olives in brine
- Beetroot kvass (a fermented drink)
- Sourdough bread