Everyone knows good hosts need to feed their houseguests. If the visitors are easy to get along with and especially helpful — they take out the trash, do the dishes, rake the yard and so on — it’s wise to feed them very well so they stay as long as possible.
That’s how it is with humans and probiotics (good bacteria). We are essentially hosting these living organisms in our guts. They go about their lives unnoticed, but they are doing important work keeping our digestive system healthy and, in turn, protecting the whole body.
Join Krieger for a live Q&A about healthful eating on Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.
Probiotics: Desirable houseguests
By now you have heard of the many chores probiotics do around our “house.” They help us absorb nutrients from the foods we eat, and they produce B vitamins we can use; they support our immune system and work to prevent harmful bacteria from making us sick. They are shining examples of good houseguests. With their reputation firmly established, chances are you have been actively inviting them in by eating such probiotic-rich foods as yogurt and kefir, or some types of sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh. You may be also taking probiotic supplements.
Feeding your guests
But it’s not enough to just get beneficial bacteria into your body. To make sure these good guys stay and thrive, you’ve got to feed them. One of their preferred meals is a type of soluble fiber called fructooligosaccharides (FOS), found in a wide range of vegetables, fruits and grains.