Page 24

F O O D S O L U T I O N S M A G A Z I N E / M AY I S S U E / PA G E 24

fermented vegetables are consumed, so are the “good bacteria”.

• Inflammatory bowel disease (for example ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) • Celiac disease • Preventing tooth decay • Gingivitis and/or periodontitis (oral infections)

HOW PROBIOTICS MAY AFFECT HUMAN HEALTH:

The human digestive tract contains a diverse community of bacteria. In fact, in healthy adults, such microorganisms outnumber human cells ten to one! While we tend to think of germs when terms like “bacteria” and “microorganism” are used, many bacteria are necessary to support proper body function. Probiotics are bacteria similar to those “good” bacteria naturally occurring in the human digestive tract.

The question is, do probiotics really work, or is the probiotic rage just another piece of media hype gone viral? Strong scientific evidence to support specific uses of probiotics is lacking, thus the FDA has not approved any health claims for probiotics. However, research is ongoing and studies do suggest probiotics have few side effects, if any. Of course, the long-term safety of probiotic consumption remains unknown.

That is the starting point for reasoning that suggests probiotics may be necessary for our good health.

What is also unknown is how safe probiotics are for people with serious underlying health conditions. Scientists remind us the potential for a negative outcome exists when certain individuals consume probiotic organisms.

Advocates of probiotic consumption for improved health claim probiotics: • Reduce harmful bacteria in the intestine • Produce substances that destroy or halt the growth of harmful microorganisms • Stimulate the body’s immune response

NOTE: You may have also heard the term prebiotic in reference to digestive health. Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics (think of how sugar is used as “food” for yeast in bread-making). This is why probiotics are added as “live cultures” to foods like yogurt where they have prebiotic “food” to survive there in the yogurt cup. Prebiotics are found naturally in foods like whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, honey and artichokes. Like probiotics, prebiotics are added to some foods and are also available as dietary supplements.

As for the probiotics widely studied (like those common forms added as live cultures to foods like yogurt), some show considerable promise; however, early clinical trials (human testing) of probiotics reveal meth-

Probiotics are currently used for conditions like: • Diarrhea • Irritable bowel syndrome 1 5 F O O D S T H AT C O N TA I N P RO B I O T I C S

Tempeh - ancient Indonesian staple made from cooked and fermented soybeans bound together with a (non-harmful) mold that makes soy easier to digest

Pickles

Sauerkraut

Kimchi - a traditional Korean fermented condiment that consists of cabbage and other vegetables and seasoned with garlic, ginger and chili peppers

Food Solutions Magazine May 2014  

Food Solutions Magazine is a monthly digital publication filled with fact-based insight, fresh perspectives and immediately useful informati...

Food Solutions Magazine May 2014  

Food Solutions Magazine is a monthly digital publication filled with fact-based insight, fresh perspectives and immediately useful informati...

Advertisement