Nutrition-Bites-Hot-Topic-Probiotics

Nutrition Bites: Hot Topic - Probiotics

Gut health is getting more attention as research reveals the benefits of a balanced microbiota, or the microbe population in the intestine. Prebiotics are also gaining popularity due to their direct impact on gut microbiota, but what do we really know about probiotics?

What are probiotics? The Food and Agriculture Organization and The World Health Organization define probiotics as “Live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” More simply put, they are good bacteria that are similar to those found naturally in the gut. Probiotics can improve or regenerate intestinal bacteria to create an overall balance gut microbiota, which can improve overall gastrointestinal health.

What foods contain probiotics? Fermented dairy foods such as yogurt, kefir, and aged cheeses contain live cultures, or probiotics. When purchasing these foods, look for "live, active cultures" on the label. Look for bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, which are two strains of bacteria that have been shown to have positive effects on gut health. Other non-dairy sources include kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh.

Supplement vs. Food Source? While probiotics are available in a supplement form, it is best to get them through food sources. The body is able to use food sources of probiotics more easily than the supplement form. Additionally, some supplements do not meet the criteria to be called a probiotic, even though they are labeled as a probiotic.

What about prebiotics? Prebiotics are probiotics' partner in crime. Prebiotics help boost "good bacteria" because they serve as food for probiotics. Prebiotics come from bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, and whole-wheat foods. Together, prebiotics and probiotics are known as symbiotics. They work together to provide a greater effect than they could individually. Bananas on top of yogurt, asparagus with tempeh, and oatmeal with yogurt are examples of symbiotic combinations.

While research has revealed health benefits of consuming prebiotics and probiotics, more research is needed to determine recommended amounts, other benefits, and the overall impact on gut health. Currently, symbiotics are thought to aid in the prevention of specific allergies, and the reduction of lactose intolerance symptoms, but it is important to note the effects can be different from person to person.

Want more information about probiotics? Check out www.eatright.org.

By Kelsey Rosenbaum MS, RD, LDN

(Nutrition Bites is a recurring feature that appears regularly in the Tulane PRC's e-newsletters and covers nutrition and health tips from Kelsey Shanklin, MS, RD, LDN. If you have any suggestions for Nutrition Bites topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   diet , nutrition , food environment , food marketing , health communication

Other Related Posts

NOLA-LEADs-finds-positive-results-from-citizen-training-program-

NOLA LEADs finds positive results from citizen-training program

Education & Engagement Special Interest Projects (SIPs)

Published: April 10, 2018

Anyone can be a health leader and improve their community, if given the right tools and skills. That’s what the Tulane Prevention Research Center's two-year NOLA LEADs (Leadership Education & Action on health Disparities) citizen-training project has found since completing its work. Keeping with the project's goal of helping all who are concerned about improving the lives of their neighbors and the conditions of their communities, the team has put together a one-page summary to…

Read More

Closing-the-policymaking-gap-Tackling-barriers-to-improving-public-health-in-Louisiana

Closing the policymaking gap: Tackling barriers to improving public health in Louisiana

Education & Engagement

Published: April 08, 2018

When attempting to address Louisiana's consistently low rankings in national health reports, public health professionals can have a positive influence on the policy-making process through research and education, according to recently published work from the Tulane public health researchers. From 2013 to 2014, a team of faculty and staff at the Tulane Nutrition Program and Tulane Prevention Research Center explored strategies for improving public health in Louisiana by conducting policy research and educating lawmakers. The…

Read More

Tulane-graduate-hikes-the-Underground-Railroad

Tulane graduate hikes the Underground Railroad

Education & Engagement

Published: April 05, 2018

Recent Tulane University graduate Chyna Johnson spent five days in March in the footsteps of abolitionist Harriet Tubman this week as part of a 100-mile trek along the route of the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by African-American slaves to escape to free states, ran north to the free states and Canada. (Click on the image above to see a slideshow from the trek.) Johnson is…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Education & Engagement Food Environment Research

Published: April 01, 2018

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner. We always think of spring as a time of new beginnings and renewal. Certainly, it can be that way with us as well. The weather is mild (not too hot yet) so it's a good time to think about being outdoors more. Spring is conducive to growth, so it's a good time to plant a garden, especially vegetables. What could be fresher than that? There…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-to-present-core-research-and-other-work-at-Society-of-Behavioral-Medicine

Tulane PRC to present core research and other work at Society of Behavioral Medicine

Core Research

Published: April 01, 2018

The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) faculty, staff and students are scheduled to give 11 presentations at the Society of Behavioral Medicine's 39th Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans this week. The meeting draws thousands of researchers, public health professionals, community members, and advocates from across the country and the world. Among the topics that will be presented by the Tulane PRC are community-based cooking classes, social marketing for health promotion, community engagement, photovoice, and…

Read More

Tulane-partnership-with-FitLot-provides-students-with-assessment-experience-in-aging-populations

Tulane partnership with FitLot provides students with assessment experience in aging populations

Education & Engagement Physical Activity Research

Published: April 01, 2018

Transforming the built environment of a community can make a difference in how citizens feel about accessibility of physical fitness. Since the start of March, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine faculty and students have been engaging with local participants of The FitLot Method Program, an outdoor, group fitness program designed to meet the needs of adults 55 years and older. FitLot, a longtime community partner of the Tulane Prevention Research Center…

Read More

Community-Partner-Updates

Community Partner Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: April 01, 2018

See what our Community Advisory Board (CAB) members and partners have been up to recently! Click on the photo for a gallery of pictures, and read below for related updates. To find out more about our partners, click here to visit our Community Partners page. Photos 1-5: Women With A Vision Inc. Women with a Vision Inc. has been busy developing a garden with a spirit that transcends the physical space. As a part of…

Read More

Team-Spotlight

Team Spotlight

Education & Engagement

Published: April 01, 2018

This newsletter's team spotlight features four graduating student research assistants who supported numerous Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) projects and programs over the past year. Through one-on-one training and mentorship, these master's students have worked diligently to apply the skills, knowledge, frameworks and strategies learned in classes to the community-based work of the PRC. "These students have worked diligently on community projects, and we are very proud of them," said Tulane PRC Director Carolyn Johnson.…

Read More

Upcoming-seminar-shares-innovative-peer-led-diabetes-prevention

Upcoming seminar shares innovative, peer-led diabetes prevention

Education & Engagement

Published: April 01, 2018

Please join the Tulane Prevention Research Center on Wednesday, April 11, for the Spring 2018 Innovations in Public Health Research and Practice Seminar: "Prevention of Diabetes in India: What evidence is there for scale-up?" Light refreshments will be provided. This seminar is free and open to the public. Wednesday, April 11, 2018, from 12-1:30 p.m. in the Diboll Auditorium, 1st Floor, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, New Orleans Featuring…

Read More

Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: April 01, 2018

Louisiana Obesity Commission publishes annual report Since 2014, the Louisiana Obesity Prevention and Management Commission has been tasked by state lawmakers to address obesity statewide and its associated diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The commission recently presented its annual report to the state Legislature. The report, published in February 2018, includes recommendations for future Commission activities and highlights the Commission’s activities during the timeframe of April 2017-November 2017. Click here to…

Read More

canary