What Are Probiotics? Definition, Meaning & Benefits
What are probiotics and why are they important?
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of ‘probiotics’ – a word from Latin and Greek origins, meaning ‘for life’. You may have seen probiotics mentioned in yogurt ads or spotted them listed in skincare products. But what is a probiotic? And how can probiotics benefit your health? Let’s jump into a crash course!
What are probiotics?
Microorganisms in nature have been in the world longer than humans. But did you know that the word “probiotics” was first used only since mid-20th century? Probiotics are living microorganisms (the ‘micro’ comes from their tiny size). It’s understandable that we assume all microorganisms are bad, but that’s not true! In fact, 99.9% of bacteria are harmless to humans. In fact, some actually provide health benefits, and these ‘good bacteria’ are what we call probiotics.
If you want the official probiotics definition, the World Health Organization says, “Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” And these friendly little helpers were part of our food long before we knew they existed.
The different bacteria that qualify as probiotics
There are many types of ‘good bacteria’, but what kicks good bacteria up to probiotic status is the amount of, and qualified health beneficial status of, these good bacteria. The two we most commonly consume: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, also known as ‘live yogurt cultures’ as they are vital to crafting yogurt. You’ll find these two strains in any yogurt – but not necessarily in the same quantities. These strains of probiotics produce lactase – an enzyme that breaks down the sugar in milk (i.e. lactose), nicely aiding lactose digestion for those who are lactose-intolerant.
Benefits of probiotics and where to find probiotics?
When consumed in sufficient quantities, probiotics help you feel good from within*. To reap the benefit of probiotics, of course, you can pop into a store and get probiotics as supplements, but why not just open your fridge? You can easily include them in your diet! Beware … not all yogurts are created equally. To qualify as a yogurt with probiotics, the yogurt must have at least 100 000 000 CFU* per gram of yogurt cultures. Not all yogurts reach this requirement. Activia is packed with billions of probiotics, exceeding the 108 CFU per gram threshold. Every pot of Activia has a blend of five strains in total which adds to its delicious taste and texture.
Probiotics: celebrating life
There’s a popular saying, “Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,” which neatly applies to making good everyday health choices. Adding daily probiotic-packedActivia to your diet is a great way to ensure regular consumption of probiotics. With Activia, you can make good (and convenient) diet choices that taste great too.
*CFU refers to ‘colony forming units’ or the number of bacteria per gram of yogurt.
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