Ask the Health Expert

Q: Besides yogurt, what’s a good source of probiotics?

A: Probiotics are live bacterial cultures that help maintain an optimal balance of flora in the GI tract, improve digestive health, and keep your immune system in tiptop shape. Probiotic supplements can provide you with these vitally important organisms, but there are other natural sources besides yogurt.

If you’re not crazy about yogurt, you may not like kefir either, but you can hide the taste as an addition to smoothies. Best described as drinkable yogurt, it has a tart flavor and can be purchased in both cow’s milk and coconut milk forms.

Cultured Cottage Cheese
Different from regular cottage cheese, the cultured version provides you with probiotics, while still giving you all the protein of regular cottage cheese. Look for brands such as Nancy’s by Springfield Creamery.

Miso Paste
Miso is fermented soy, which does not have the thyroid or hormone damaging effects that regular soy can have. You may be familiar with miso soup from your favorite Asian restaurant, although cooking the miso kills the good bacteria. For maximum probiotic benefits, use refrigerated miso paste, and add a teaspoon to homemade salad dressings to jazz up your greens.

This fermented tea with the zing of a soda has become quite popular and can be found in many flavors, including berry, ginger, citrus, and grape. The taste isn’t for everyone, but many people who start drinking it for its health benefits come to love this probiotic-rich beverage from brands like GT’s Synergy Kombucha.

image descDawn Reppucci is a registered dietitian and former D-I swimmer with degrees in nutritional science and exercise science from the University of Connecticut. For the past 10 years, she has been forcing her patients to eat grilled chicken and steamed veggies at an integrative practice in Atlanta, GA.

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