Food Science: The Biochemistry of Probiotics

food science

Bacteria. It’s everywhere. Millions of strains exist and strike fear into the hearts of the consumer. They are associated with sickness, uncleanliness and just that overall “gross” feeling. But for some reason no one stands up for the trillions of good bacteria each of us has inside our bodies; I’m here to do just that. Oh yes, you read that correctly by the way: trillions of good bacteria. Naturally occurring in or on the human body, these microorganisms are vital for everyday life. They digest our food, fight off bad kinds of bacteria (excuse the non-medical-professional-lingo), help with synthesizing certain vitamins, and even determine how we each individually respond to medications.

When the number of good bacteria dips below a healthy level, bad bacteria flourish. This increase in bad bacteria is what can cause illness and exacerbate (make worse) chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or asthma. What a lot of us don’t realize is that there are ways we can help our bodies both vamp up the production of good bacteria and combat its ailment causing counterparts. How so you ask? By eating items high in probiotic cultures (yes, that means ingesting live bacteria) and/or, depending on your opinion of pill taking, by purchasing probiotic supplements at your local pharmacy.

Scroll through the lists I’ve compiled below to discover which foods have naturally high probiotic features and what supplements you can take, as well as the health benefits a bacteria balanced body can provide for you today!

♦Food choices

Label read and be sure it says “live” otherwise the bacteria won’t do you any good! Look for Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.

  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Kefir (drinkable yogurt)

Be sure to choose options that are “plain”, avoid added unnecessary sugar additives, and as always, I suggest organic!

♦Anything that is sold fermented

  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Pickles/Olives
  • certain cheeses like cheddar, Miso
  • Kombucha Tea

♦Probiotic drinks

Relatively new to the market, the best I’ve found is by KeVita. With 12 different flavors these sparkling drinks are sure to please. Apparently they’re basically made for me too because they are non-gmo, organic, gluten free, vegan, and added sugar free!


You don’t even need a prescription! Just be sure the pill you choose contains 1-2 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) for daily use, and up to 10 billion if you are recovering from a gastrointestinal illness (as recommended by a doctor).

  • Accuflora
  • Culturell
  • Align
  • Acidophilus
  • Digestive Advantage
  • Florastor
  • InSync

♦Health Benefits: Research proven but results obviously vary and are not guaranteed.

Digestion regulation, overall strengthen immunity, helps in treatment of skin disorders such as dermatitis, treat gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS and Chron’s, women’s health ailments.

New exciting research has been started to determine the link between probiotics and allergies and even obesity.


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