The so-called "probiotic yogurt" is a yogurt that is mixed with special probiotic lactic acid bacteria. Basically, every yogurt contains bacterial cultures - they are there to ferment the lactose in milk to make yogurt. Microorganisms give yogurt its thick consistency and typical sour yogurt flavor .
The difference between "normal" yogurt and probiotic is that the latter is enriched with additional live bacterial strains. This should make it healthier - because supposedly more bacteria can survive stomach acid and settle in the gut.
In 2012, the European Parliament's Health Committee banned “probiotic” yogurt makers from advertising that their products promote good health. Because its positive effect could not be proven until now. However, several studies have shown conflicting results since then. So how much truth is really behind the advertising promise?
Does Probiotic Yogurt Really Work?
Probiotic foods are said to prevent various intestinal diseases and provide healthy intestinal flora. But do bacteria cultures in probiotic yogurt really get into your stomach? And do they stay there?
The opinions of scientists are divided on this issue:
• According to a study with healthy women in their 20s and 30s, probiotic yogurt should not have a long-term effect on your gut flora : bacterial cultures in yogurt did not demonstrably alter the composition of microorganisms in your gut.
• Laboratory mice that are raised in a germ-free environment can be better tested after the introduction of bacterial cultures that can be accurately determined compared to people whose gut flora is affected by countless factors throughout their lives. However, even in mice, no disturbances were detected by probiotic yogurt cultures in the intestine.
However, the probiotic bacteria in yogurt had another beneficial effect on the gut microbes of the mice: The enzymes responsible for processing various carbohydrates were significantly more active. This effect was demonstrated after further tests in humans. Probiotic yogurt can help you digest carbohydrates better.
More positive effects of probiotic yogurt
According to other studies, probiotic yogurt has other positive effects:
• Diabetes and heart health: According to several studies, several varieties of yogurt supplemented with probiotic cultures are said to markedly reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol in subjects. Diabetic patients often suffer from high cholesterol levels, which can affect the health of their heart. Increased cholesterol in your arteries can block the supply of oxygen to your heart.
• Female Intimacy: Scientists believe that women who consume certain probiotics with lactic acid can prevent yeast fungi in the vaginal flora (Candida albicans). One study has even shown this effect: By eating probiotic yogurt with Lactobacillus acidophilus daily, women with recurrent vaginal yeast had a much lower relapse rate.
Probiotic or conventional yogurt?
Is it absolutely necessary for you to consume probiotic yogurt? Or does "normal" yogurt have similar effects? Since both varieties are made from lactic acid bacteria cultures, both "probiotic" and plain yogurt are good for the intestinal flora.
Differences between plain yogurt and probiotic yogurt
However, there are some differences:
• Traditional plain yogurts contain significantly less sugar than so-called “probiotic yogurts”. Many products add a large amount of sugar to add flavor. It is also not necessary to eat probiotic yogurt, as it is not healthier than traditional plain yogurt. But those who opt for probiotic cultures should consume the yogurt as quickly as possible, as the number of healthy bacteria steadily decreases over time.
• If you don't tolerate conventional yogurt as well, probiotic yogurt is better for you: the higher the number of lactic acid bacteria, the more milk and lactose are divided into the milk. Therefore, manufacturers may advertise that their product is easier for lactose intolerant people to digest.
• However, kefir has the same effect: it produces a lot of probiotics with its kefir mushroom and is even more compatible with your intestines because it destroys harmful bacteria in milk and is largely lactose-free.
Whether specially fortified products are really healthy remains controversial, and this also applies to probiotic yogurt. A clear disadvantage of most probiotic products is their high sugar content.
As if this were no longer an inconvenience to offer a healthy product, we must consider that in addition, commercial probiotic yogurts are added with colorants, flavorings and aromas, which are their main additives.
For this reason, it is not enough just to see the attractive messages that appear on the yogurt pots, but to read their nutritional information and also see their ingredients, it is always preferable unflavored yogurt and of course, the one with the least additives.
Benefits of probiotic yogurt for intestinal flora
As already mentioned, yogurt can be used as a medicine to support intestinal function and improve constipation, regulating intestinal transit.
When taking antibiotics, probiotic yogurt can prevent infection from the dangerous bacteria Clostridium difficile. After antibiotic treatment, two-thirds of patients suffer from diarrhea.
Because antibiotics destroy not only pathogenic bacteria, but also helpful bacteria, they can throw your gut flora out of balance. It is debatable whether probiotic yogurt also contributes to better gut flora in healthy people.
Yogurt to help the intestinal flora
The bacterium Clostridium difficile is responsible for about 15 to 20 percent of diarrheal illnesses caused by antibiotics. Its toxins cause deadly intestinal inflammation, manifested as sudden, severe watery diarrhea with nausea, abdominal pain, and fever. Typically, diarrhea has a very bad odor.
Probiotics in dairy products and preparations
The term probiotics summarizes various microorganisms, for example, lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus casei) and yeast fungi. Probiotic yogurts help strengthen the barrier function of the gut and reduce the excessive spread of pathogens.
Probiotics are naturally found in lactic acid products, such as yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk. For probiotic yogurts, higher amounts of a bacterial strain are also added. As medications, probiotics are available in capsule and drop form. Most of the preparations contain bifido and lactobacilli. The positive effects require more than a million microorganisms.
Different intestinal flora in each person
Each person has their own individual composition of the intestinal flora, which is mainly influenced by nutrition and immune processes. It is important for digestion, defense against pathogens, and strengthening the immune system.
The intestinal flora in humans consists of about 2,000 different types of intestinal bacteria. In general, we carry approximately 100 trillion bacteria in our gut weighing up to two kilograms.
Improving the intestinal flora
In order for our "good" gut inhabitants to really feel comfortable with us, they need the right food first. Her favorite foods include soluble fiber, such as pectins and inulin. Humans cannot digest these plant fibers with our own kit of enzymes. Gut bacteria take over that job. Particularly good sources of soluble fiber include the following:
• Apple peel and the peels of other fruits. Because they contain a lot of pectin.
• Chicory, artichokes and onions. These foods are naturally rich in inulin.
• Psyllium husks, flax seeds, and chia seeds also provide excellent food for bacteria.
Soluble fiber is one of the so-called prebiotics, these specifically stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. If you want to increase your fiber intake, you should always proceed slowly and drink enough fluids. Otherwise, the plant fibers can cause unpleasant turbulence in the gut.
Always support this incorporation of foods together with probiotic yogurt and you will see very noticeable changes to improve your intestinal flora.
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