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What are Probiotic Foods?

Por Ana C. López, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ -
What are Probiotic Foods?

The concept of nutrition has changed with time. We now know that in order to stay healthy, we must have a balanced  diet  and we must be aware of what is in the food we eat.

Functional foods

Functional  foods are nutritional and non-nutritional foods that provide health benefits for your body. This category is then divided up into probiotic and prebiotic foods. Research on probiotics and prebiotics is still emerging. Long-term studies on their consumption have not been conducted. According to a 2008 article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, most of the products available commercially today are generally safe, and have few side effects. It is best to consume these products in moderation with the goal of maintaining overall good health. Further research is needed to determine the potential therapeutic function these foods may have to offer.


Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit your body.

The most important probiotics are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. These are mainly found in fermented dairy products such as yogurt and some cheeses.

Some of the benefits they provide include:

· Reducing lactose intolerance
· Stimulating your body's defense mechanisms to prevent some  diseases
· Reducing the risk of colon cancer
· Stopping the growth of pathogenic bacteria, which produce diseases, in the large intestine
· Helping to prevent and control diarrhea


Prebiotics are substances found in foods that cannot be digested by our body. These substances can be used as food additives such as in ice cream, dairy products, desserts, cookies, pastas and foods for kids.

Prebiotics are very important because they stimulate the growth of probiotics, or lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, in the colon.

Make them a part of your diet.

Now that you know about the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics, make sure to include them in your daily diet. Yogurt is an excellent source of these substances.

Remember to check nutrition labels so you make the best choices when it comes to food!

Source: Douglas LC, Sanders ME.  Probiotics and Prebiotics in Dietetics Practice.  Journal of the American Dietetic Association.2008; 8: 510-519.


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