So you decided to start taking probiotics.
Welcome to the wonderful world of gut health! Really. It's such a good choice. Your whole body is going to thank you.
Now we just need to make sure the probiotics can make their way from your mouth through your stomach and into your gut, fully intact. Otherwise you're looking at some very expensive pee. How to take probiotics isn't complicated, but you do want to remember these 3 things to get the most of what you're taking.
Choosing a great probiotic is by far the most important step when you're taking probiotics. If you're still looking for a great one, here's a guide to picking a great probiotic.
The tricky thing about probiotics…
Keeping your probiotics in one piece when they make their way from your mouth to your intestines isn't an easy thing to do. Half the point of stomach acid is to kill foreign things that get inside us and that includes well-intentioned probiotics.
So how can we keep our little capsules full of probiotic goodness alive long enough to help us out?
Glad you asked.
Here are 3 things you want to be doing when you take your probiotics
1. AVOID HOT DRINKS AND CAFFEINE
Both of these will kill your little friends if they're swirling around together at the same time.
Water is the best choice to sip when you're taking your probiotics.
2. TAKE WITH A MEAL OR ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
That's when your stomach is at its least acidic. That means everyone has a better shot at staying alive and happy. The best time is 30 minutes before our with the meal, and ideally with a meal (or drink) that has some fat content. First thing in the morning is a good time to take them also, with a glass of water.
Dairy is a great transport for these guys, so taking probiotics with a 2% or full fat yogurt is a great choice. Makes sense right? Yogurt is made with a fermented healthy bacterial culture, so…probiotics.
3. EAT LOTS OF FIBER-RICH FOODS
Getting the probiotics all the way into your gut is only half the battle. Once they're in there, it's up to you to keep these guys happy.
Eating a high fiber diet is maybe the most important way to support your body before and after taking probiotics. They thrive on fiber. And when they're happy, your gut is happy. And that means, you're whole body will be happy.
Need some help figuring out ways to get more veg into your days? Start here.
what about yogurt?
Most commercial yogurt doesn't have much actual probiotic in their products. So if you're pinning your hopes on a little 4oz yogurt serving, you're getting way less than if you took a supplement.
Eating a good quality yogurt can be a healthy whole food choice. But if you want to see some significant changes to your digestion and intestinal health, eating a sugar-filled “fruit” yogurt a day won't cut it.
opt for a probiotic
You're better off taking a great quality probiotic and then eating a fiber-filled meal full of whole fruits or vegetables. Everyday. Yeah. EVERY day.
If you're feeling like your digestive system could use some TLC and you're going to go through the trouble of taking something, you might as well get the best bang for your buck.
Your stomach will be grateful you didn't cut corners.
Just make sure you're fully stocked. Always better to plan ahead, right?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey! I'm Shani. I'm a dietitian and diabetes educator from Brooklyn, NY. I love brunch, baking and chocolate. It's my mission to make healthy eating easy and accessible to everyone, most of all healthy eating beginners. If you're ready to make a change or just need a place to start, I'm your girl. Find me everywhere @thingsweeat. Talk soon!
You can find Shani at Things We Eat.