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Do good for your gut with probiotics

Published: Friday, June 2, 2017 10:06 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, June 2, 2017 11:04 a.m. CST

One of the more recent health crazes is adding more probiotic-rich foods into our diet… and for good reason.

Probiotics help increase the amount of good bacteria in our gut flora, the space where millions of both good and bad bacteria live in our gut. Recent research is showing how the health of our gut plays an immense role in the health of the rest of our body.

So ... what are probiotics? Probiotics are live bacteria that live in our intestines. When our gut has a healthy balance of good bacteria, there are many important potential benefits:

• Aiding in the digestion and absorption of foods

• Decreasing digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort

• Improving our mood, immune system and blood sugar control

• Reducing the risk of infection

We naturally have these good bacteria in our gut already, but unfortunately there are a variety of factors that can cause an imbalance in our gut flora. A diet high in processed foods, stress, and taking multiple rounds of antibiotics or other medications can all decrease the amount of the natural probiotics found in our gut. That is why it’s important that, along with a healthy diet, we consume foods high in probiotics.

Probiotic-rich foods are filling the shelves of Hy-Vee, including natural foods and product supplements. The most common natural probiotic-containing foods are those that have been fermented, including:

• Yogurt, such as Activia

• Kefir (a drinkable yogurt)

• Kombucha (a fermented tea)

• Sauerkraut or kimchi (fermented cabbage and other vegetables)

• Miso or tempeh (fermented soybean products)

Choosing probiotic foods versus supplements can help the healthy bacteria surpass your acidic stomach to reach your intestines. And with foods like ActiviaŽ yogurt, you are also providing your body with multiple essential nutrients such as calcium, B vitamins and potassium.

With so many yogurts on the market, Activia proves to be a top choice for gut health with its carefully chosen strains of probiotics. Two studies have shown that eating two servings of Activia a day along with a balanced diet for two weeks decreased incidents of abdominal discomfort and rumbling. To help get more servings of Activia in to your day, try this Yogurt Dessert Shot recipe.