Healthy New Year’s Resolutions And Tips For Sticking With Them In 2020

This year is your year for success by taking small steps and having realistic expectations. By tackling just one or two healthy New Year’s resolutions, you can better keep your eyes on the prize. You’ll also earn the bragging rights of being part of the mere 8% of individuals who report achieving their New Year’s goals.1,2

Explore these four healthy New Year’s resolutions, and discover tips from the experts on how to see them through. Of course, it’s advised to check in with your primary care physician before embarking on any major changes to your lifestyle.

Reducing Stress To Support Healthy Habits

a heart shaped by heart healthy foodThe number one resolution of 2019 was to eat healthier — followed closely by another one of the most common New Year’s resolutions: to lose weight.3 Poor eating habits can not only negatively affect your heart health and contribute to weight gain, but affect your body’s inability to function properly.4

However, instead of exclusively focusing on a strict diet or food choice alone — this year, you can try to approach both eating healthier and weight loss from a new angle — reducing stress.5

According to the latest Gallup poll, Americans are among the most stressed-out people in the world.6 And the most current research shows that your body not only stores more fat when you are stressed compared to when you are relaxed, but that you are more likely to seek out foods high in calories and fat when stressed. Additionally, research is now more than ever pointing to stress as an influencing factor over food choices.7

Three Tips For Reducing Stress, Eating Healthier, And Losing Weight

Stop Stress graphicAlong with classic healthy habits like counting calories or swapping out your favorite less-nutritional foods for healthier fare, consider these three tips from Harvard Medical School focused on reducing stress to help avoid overeating and poor diet choices.

  1. Adopt a meditation practice — With meditation linked to stress reduction, it may have the effect of helping regulate your cortisol levels (cortisol can increase your appetite, making you more prone to overeating). Meditation may also help you be more mindful in your food selection.
  2. Seek out social support — Research suggests that individuals who work in stressful environments experience better mental health if they have solid social support. Even spending time with friends and family may help reduce your stress levels and make healthier diet habits easier to stick to.
  3. Focus on physical activity — Exercise can help dull some of the negative effects of stress, including reducing cortisol levels. The benefits of increasing your exercise is detailed more below.8

Supporting Your Overall Health: Exercise More

exercising at home with childIf there was only one word that could be used to describe many Americans, it could be “sedentary” — with the CDC reporting that nearly 80% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity they need.9 An inactive lifestyle not only means you potentially burn fewer calories, but you may be at higher risk of poor blood circulation and immune system response.10

So, how much exercise do you need for optimal health? The Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends adults do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity (or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity) aerobic activity every week. Additionally, they recommend two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities.11

Three Tips To Make Physical Activity Part Of A Healthy Lifestyle

Make this year the year you reach the recommended amount of exercise by following these tips for successful long-term healthy habits.

  1. Put it on the calendar — Plan exercise into each day by looking ahead at your week and finding the times that are most convenient to stick to. Additionally, choose activities that are easily accessible to avoid unnecessary hurdles.
  2. Be kind to yourself with reasonable expectations — If you are just getting back into exercise, set yourself up for success by starting out slow and building up your endurance. And if you fall off the exercise wagon, that’s okay. Pick up that calendar, pencil in the next week, and start up again.
  3. Track your progress — Recording your successes (e.g., increasing your number of steps, lifting heavier weights) can motivate you to keep going. No physical achievement is too small to put down on paper.12

Supporting Your Overall Health: Get Quality Sleep

Sleep graphicOver one-third of working Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. The ramifications of inadequate sleep can include an increase in heart-health issues, anxiety, unstable moods, and alcohol abuse — just to name a few.13

So, how much sleep should you resolve to get each night to aid in your “new year, new you” healthy lifestyle? The Sleep Research Society and American Academy of Sleep Medicine both recommend that the average adult needs seven or more hours a night to stave off health risks from chronic sleep deprivation. Interestingly, they don’t advise on an upper limit.14

Three Tips To Improve Your Sleep Habits

Just get more sleep for better health. This is often easier said than done. However, fear not — the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers these three tips to improve your sleep habits.

  1. Prioritize sleep as you do family and work — set a reasonable bedtime and block off your time dedicated to sleeping.
  2. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day — this includes the weekends — so you don’t throw off your body clock’s sleep-wake rhythm.
  3. Avoid a lot of stimulation an hour before bed — such as artificial light from computer and TV screens and strenuous exercise.15

Supporting Your Overall Health: Quit Smoking

Stop smoking graphicEven though the number has steadily decreased over the past decade, it’s estimated that over 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes.16 The risks associated with smoking are ubiquitous — smoking harms almost every organ in your body and is the leading cause of preventable death.17

However, there’s hope for those who want this resolution to stick this year for good — consider this fact: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are now more former smokers than current smokers.18

Three Tips To Becoming A Former Smoker

If you have tried quitting smoking in the past on your own without success, this year, commit to accepting help. Take these three tips from the CDC on building a support system by enlisting a “quit coach” to not only help motivate you but hold you accountable.

  1. Know what to expect — Quit coaches can explain to you the process of smoking cessation, including reviewing the signs of withdrawal.
    Knowing what the road ahead looks like, and that help is only a phone call away, may help you avoid some of the trickier hurdles.
  2. Have a plan — Quit coaches are highly trained individuals who know how to listen and ask the right questions. They will help you construct a plan based on your past experiences and current lifestyle.
  3. Get access to supportive aids — Quit coaches can recommend apps, websites, and even medications to talk to your doctor about in order to help you quit once and for all.19

It’s Your Year To Create Some Healthier Habits — And Stick To Them

Making healthy New Year’s resolutions is a positive way to kick-off 2020. Focusing on just a couple can not only help you see them through but increase your quality of life and sense of well-being. Happy New Year, and the best of luck to you on embarking on some truly rewarding healthy habits.

Learn More:


How Stress is Destroying Your Microbiome (+ 3 stress-busting tips)

7 Common Habits That Damage Your Gut Health

7 Effective Strategies to Stop Food Cravings




Change Your Gut, Change Your Life: Surprising Reasons Your Gut Health Matters

Do you feel like you’d go out and do more if you simply felt better? Would you be happier if you felt energized, inspired, and fit? Turns out, there is one simple change you can make to possibly benefit your mood and overall health.

Your gut health can be a major key to feeling healthy as a whole. If weight loss is your goal, you if may be difficult to get there through dieting alone. Your digestive health plays a huge part in how well the food you eat gets processed. Improving human microbiomes takes time, but it isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Are you concerned about gut health? Read here to learn how you can change your gut to potentially change your life and overall health and well-being for the better.

Beneficial Bacteria: How Might Prebiotics And Probiotics Benefit Digestive Health And Well-Being?

Prebiotic food healthy vegan breakfastHow can your gut have such an impact on the rest of your health? Well, it is your body’s basecamp for bacteria and nutrient absorption. Your gut helps you break down the food you eat. It then turns the nutrients you consume into materials your body can actually use.

Healthy Digestion With Probiotics

Probiotic bacteria are the “good-for-you” microorganisms in your digestive tract. These beneficial bacteria and microbes may help fortify your gut wall. And according to recent studies, probiotics and gut microbes could help fight oxidative stress.1

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and Greek yogurt are great sources of probiotics. But here’s the thing – you’d have to eat a ton of yogurt or sauerkraut to make an impact. So, it may be a good idea to chat with a doctor about taking probiotic supplements.

Do Probiotics Help With Weight Loss And Weight Maintenance?

Again, probiotics have physiologic functions that benefit the health of your gut microbiota. In fact, your probiotic intake can affect how much food you eat, your body weight, and your body’s metabolic function through gastrointestinal pathways.2

Although lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise are still necessary for weight loss, probiotics can support the function of your digestive system and help your body to better absorb nutrients.

Healthy Digestion With Prebiotics

Gut healthy pre- and probioticsPrebiotics are nutrients. They’re actually dietary fibers. And prebiotics feed probiotic bacteria (the good gut bacteria). Here’s how it works:

Since prebiotic fibers aren’t able to die or get broken down by your gut, they’re able to withstand stomach acid and nourish the probiotics and microbes in your gut. In a similar way to how fertilizer can help make grass flourish, prebiotic fiber helps the bacteria in your intestines to grow.3

Some excellent dietary sources of prebiotics are:

  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Green bananas
  • Flax seeds
  • Wheat bran 4

energetic healthy happy elderly people

Change Your Gut Health, Boost Your Energy

It makes sense that your gut health could help regulate your weight, but did you know a healthy gut might also mean more energy? That’s because your gut is responsible for breaking down and digesting the food you eat.

Here’s how it works: when your gut is working in the right way, the food you consume is processed more completely. You naturally increase your energy harvest from the foods you eat. So, microorganisms play a pretty important role when it comes to energy extraction and energy regulation.5

Can Changing Your Gut Change Your Skin?

woman with itchy skinWhen most people try to improve the health of their skin, they turn to balms, oils, serums, or creams. But you might just be able to have a healthier outside by nurturing a healthier inside. Sometimes, certain skin conditions may be a signal that your gut isn’t functioning as it should.

It turns out that probiotics are proven to have some benefits to help support skin health. It’s easy to forget, but your skin is the biggest organ in (or on) your body. But you’re constantly exposing your skin to environmental stressors — chemicals, bacteria, and fungi. Studies prove, however, that probiotic application can potentially help with skin health issues, too.6

So, whether you’re after weight loss or simply trying to improve your health and well-being, supporting your gut health is a great place to start. Talk to your doctor about whether probiotic and prebiotic supplements are for you.

Learn More:

Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)

7 Common Habits That Damage Your Gut Health

Quick and Healthy On The Go Veggie Bowl Recipe





What Is The Correct Order Of Skin Care Products For The Face?

Healthy skin is definitely “in.” More and more people are taking their skincare seriously, hoping to choose the right products for everything from sun protection to anti-aging regimens. Once you find the right products, you want to be sure you’re using them correctly. What is the correct order of skin care products?

Conventional wisdom always brings it down to the brass tacks of “cleanse, tone, and moisturize.” Yet in this day and age of specialized products with intriguing active ingredients and skin care as self-care, it seems the proper order of skincare products is slightly more complex.

Why Layering Your Skin-Care Products Correctly Matters

Unless you’re using a prescription program, knowing what product to put on (and in what order) can get confusing. But if you ask a dermatologist, it appears the order really comes down to basic chemistry.

You see, water and oil-based products don’t mix, so they’ll interfere with each other’s ability to penetrate the skin.

For example, if your moisturizer is oil-based, then you layer on a water-based retinol product or sunscreen over it, you’re undermining your water-based products’ chances of working.

If you truly want to maximize the effectiveness of your skincare products, you’ll want to apply them in a way that allows for maximum absorption. This means water-based products must go on first, before oil-based products, since water won’t be able to penetrate the layers of oil.1

Skin Care Step 1: Use the Right Cleanser For Your Skin Type

If you wear makeup, gently wipe it off using micellar water or your chosen makeup remover. Following this step, cleansing your skin is important to rid it of makeup residue, dirt, and excess oil that can cause clogged pores and breakouts.

order of skincare products | Probiotic AmericaSome cleansers also gently slough off dead skin cells to help renew and revitalize your skin. This is essential before you apply moisturizer — your face needs to be fresh and clean.

With so many cleansing products and formulations on the market, it’s imperative to select the one most beneficial to your skin type. Some formulations or active ingredients can aggravate skin problems you might already have, so it’s best to find one that works with the type of facial skin you have.2

Figuring Out Your Skin Type

Your skin type is often most directly related to how much oil your skin produces and retains:

Oily Skin – If you have oily skin, your face will often show a slight sheen even a couple of hours after washing. Oily skin might also be more prone to breakouts. Also, makeup might have trouble staying put longer.

order of skincare products | Probiotic AmericaDry Skin – People with dry skin often experience tightness in their face after washing if they don’t moisturize properly. They could also be prone to flakiness or dry patches.

Sensitive Skin – If you have sensitive skin, you may have experienced adverse reactions to skin care products in the past. You may also be extra-sensitive to UV rays, resulting in red and itchy skin. You should also talk to a dermatologist if you have eczema, hay fever, and other allergies, as these might be related.

Combination Skin – People with combination skin might experience more oiliness and shine in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), but will have drier or more sensitive skin on their cheeks.

Normal Skin – If you’re one of the lucky few who don’t produce too much oil, don’t experience dryness or sensitivity to other products or the sun, and generally don’t break out, you may be labeled as a “normal” skin type. Limitations to what products you can and should use are few, if there are any at all.3

Finding The Right Cleanser Formulation

If you have…

  • Oily Skin or Combination Skin – Choose a gel-based or foam-type cleanser that can gently but effectively rid your skin of excess oil. Beneficial active ingredients include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and tea tree oil.
  • Dry, Sensitive, or Normal Skin – A cream-based cleanser can offer the cleansing and moisturizing properties your skin type needs. However, the thick formulation can clog your pores, so make sure you follow up with a good swipe of a toner-soaked cotton pad. Good active ingredients to look out for include vitamin E and jojoba butter.4

Should You Use Cleansing Oil?

Cleansing oil has recently gained popularity as a great way to remove makeup and impurities from the skin. While it can feel strange adding even more oil to your face, the science behind it is sound. Cleansing oil binds the “bad” oils and rinses them away, leaving your face soft and well-moisturized.

order of skincare products | Probiotic AmericaFor some, it functions as a multi-purpose product: cleanser and moisturizer in one, effectively shortening their skincare routine.

Even those with oily skin can benefit from cleansing oil, because they don’t have to worry about the product clogging their pores.

As it turns out, cleansing oils may also include other skin-boosting ingredients for added benefits, like:

  • Antioxidants that may help to reduce damage caused by free radicals on the skin.
  • Hydrating, anti-aging botanical elements that could replace your usual retinol-based products.5

Skin Care Step 2: Tone Or Exfoliate To Prep Skin

Toners used to get a bad rap for being overly astringent, but today’s formulations contain several skin benefits and help prep the skin to reap the full rewards of your product lineup’s active ingredients.

Depending on the type you use, some toners are meant to exfoliate or rid the skin on further pore-clogging dirt and residue, while others can add more hydrating, brightening, and skin-plumping benefits.6

order of skincare products | Probiotic America

Skincare Step 3: Special Treatments (Serum, Eye Cream, Spot Treatment)

With skin properly cleansed and prepped, moisturizers and special serums and eye creams can now be layered on.

Should You Use A Serum?

Serums are like booster shots for the face. They are usually water-based and are intended to target specific skin concerns such as:

  • Lightening dark spots and pigmentation (one popular choice is a vitamin C serum)
  • Improving skin tone and firmness
  • Amplifying moisture and hydrating your skin7

Choosing An Eye Cream

Eye creams specifically target the needs of your sensitive under-eye area. If your eye cream is thinner than your moisturizer, it should be applied first. It it is thicker or denser than your moisturizer, it can be applied after.

The right eye cream should be able to address a host of complaints, like:

  • order of skincare products | Probiotic AmericaLightening dark circles
  • Smoothing out fine lines and crow’s feet
  • Smoothing rough or patchy skin

Make sure you gently apply eye cream by tapping on a small amount of product.

Step 4: Spot Treatment

If you have skin that is prone to breakouts or just notice a few zits here and there you might try a spot treatment. These usually contain blemish-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

Step 4: Moisturizer And Face Oil

For moisturizer, retinol and facial oils, apply the water water-based products first. If they are all oil-based they can be applied interchangeably or can even be mixed.

For moisturizer, you may want to opt for lighter, more easily-absorbed products for daytime, so you can layer your sunscreen on without feeling too sticky. For nighttime skincare, a richer night cream or moisturizer might be more preferable.

order of skincare products | Probiotic America

Step 5: Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be a crucial step in your morning skincare line up and shouldn’t be skipped. Although sunscreen works to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, many sunscreens contain harsh chemicals.

To avoid these skin-damaging chemicals, look for a mineral-based sunscreen that contains an SPF of 30 or higher.

Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin to reflect away UV light, and work best when applied last in your skincare routine as a protective coating.

Talk To Your Dermatologist

Knowing how to properly apply your skincare products just might mean the difference between seeing great results or feeling like you’re wasting a ton of time and money.

You might also like to look into probiotic skin care products.

When in doubt, talk to an expert. Consult with your dermatologist. They can help explain the right types of creams, lotions, serums, moisturizer, and other products you should use – and the order you need to use them.

Learn More:
Finding the Best Probiotic Yogurt for Digestion and Gut Health
Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)
The Dirty Dozen List: Foods You Should Buy Organic


Can Drinking Water Help You Lose Weight?

Drinking enough water is essential for our survival. But can drinking a lot of water help you lose weight?

You’ve probably heard a lot about the additional benefits of drinking water, including that it may help flush toxins from the body. There are also a lot of studies that show if you drink more water, you might be able to drop a few pounds.

While this may be true, you shouldn’t rely on increasing your water intake alone to meet your weight loss goals. Read on to learn how water can support weight loss.

Staying Hydrated While On A Diet: Can You Bust Fat And Lose Weight By Drinking More Water?

Research indicates that drinking water could have an effect on your metabolism, potentially helping you burn calories.1

Studies show that within about 10 minutes of water consumption, your metabolic rate speeds up.

If you drink water regularly, starting on a water regimen could help you lose up to 30 percent more calories than if you don’t.2

does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight | Probiotic AmericaOne study looked at overweight women who increased their daily water intake by about 34 ounces (one liter) per day for one year.

According to the results, the women lost an average of 4.4 pounds. Participants made no other changes to their lifestyle. They simply drank more water.

Water And Weight: Does Drinking A Lot Of Water Help Curb Your Appetite?

You may already know that fiber in many of the fruits and vegetables in your diet can help you feel full. As a result, you won’t be as likely to overeat during a meal.3

It appears drinking plenty of water could have a similar effect.
Studies show that middle-aged and older people have a better chance of losing weight by drinking a substantial amount of water before each meal they eat. In one study, obese participants lost 44 percent more weight than those who didn’t drink water before each meal.4

Avoid Extra Calories In Drinks Like Soda, Juice, And Other Sweet Beverages

does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight | Probiotic AmericaIt can be really hard to start drinking water if you’re used to sugary drinks or sweetened beverages that are loaded with caffeine.

But sodas aren’t a healthy part of any diet.

Drinking water instead of soda reduces your intake of calories dramatically.

Of course, you still need to follow a low-calorie diet, exercise, and avoid alcohol to be at your healthiest. But substituting water for sugary drinks could help reduce your calorie intake by nearly 10 percent and improve your overall health.5

Daily Water Intake: Are You Drinking Enough Water Every Day?

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, increasing your daily water intake will help you stay hydrated. Proper hydration is important, because if you don’t drink enough water, you’ll run the risk of developing a lot of health issues. Even mild dehydration can lead to problems.6

But how much water should you drink each day?

does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight | Probiotic America

There is no set answer that applies to everyone. The amount of water you need, whether for staying hydrated or avoiding some extra calories can depend.7

If, for instance, you’re very active, you will probably need more water than those who lead a mainly sedentary lifestyle. This is because you are likely losing more water due to sweat and activity.

If you’re an older person, you’ll have to pay closer attention to your water intake than most other people.8

Talk to your doctor about how much water you should be consuming to optimize your health. They can also answer any questions you may have about the impact drinking water may have on weight loss.

Seek Medical Advice To Help Answer Key Questions

What kind of water is best for losing weight? Should you drink distilled water, bottled water, or will plain tap water do the trick?

does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight | Probiotic AmericaIf you do lose weight by drinking water, what do you need to do to keep it off? Will you run the risk of developing water retention if you drink too many liters of water a day?

What if you drank a glass of water 10 times a day? Would that be healthy?

Your doctor will be the best source for answers to these and any other questions you may have about increasing your water intake. Never make any changes to your diet, or make drastic changes in how much water you drink, without first talking to a medical professional.

Learn More:
Colon Cleanse: How Do They Work And Are They Helpful?
7 Amazing Health Benefits of Sauerkraut (And a DIY Recipe!)
9 Easy Solutions to Get Rid of Constipation


Should You Take Probiotics On An Empty Stomach?

Can you take probiotics on an empty stomach? Evidence tends to suggest you shouldn’t. But there are thousands of probiotics products out there.

Whether you take a probiotic in capsule or powder form, the different usage directions can be confusing.

Let’s take a closer look at how the beneficial bacteria in probiotics work and what may happen when they are taken on an empty stomach.

Beneficial Bacteria: What Are Probiotics And Prebiotics?

You’ve probably heard about the beneficial effects of probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria and other microbes that are meant to support gut health.

probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic AmericaThe gut is made up of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, or GI tract. These include the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. The gut is also filled with digestive enzymes, which help break down the food you eat.

This area is home to trillions of bacteria, many of which can harm digestive health. Probiotics are GOOD bacteria that can help offset the negative effects of bad bacteria. You’ll find them in supplement form, but there are also many probiotic foods, as you’ll learn later.

Probiotics On Empty Stomach: How Stomach Acid Can Affect Good Bacteria

In addition to bacteria and other microbes, your stomach contains acid. The pH level of stomach acid can vary a great deal. It can sometimes have a pH of 1 or 2, which is very acidic. After a meal, it can get down to that level before quickly moving up to 3 or 4. After digestion, the pH will typically go back to the 4 or 5 level.2

The reason stomach acid is important when it comes to probiotics is that a low pH level can make it hard for probiotic bacteria to do their work.

Many types of bacteria simply can’t survive in that type of acidic environment, even if they come in capsule form with a protective enteric coating.

CFU Probiotics | probiotic America

Certain probiotic strains start to break down when stomach acid is at a pH level of 3. Not all probiotic strains are built alike, however. One strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, has been shown to be resistant to a pH of as low as 2.5.3

Researchers conducting a study tested the resistance of four probiotic strains – Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus helveticus, and Bifidobacterium longum – to stomach acid.

They found that the bacteria had a better chance of survival when ingested with a meal. The bacteria also fared well when ingested shortly before a meal.4

Types Of Probiotics: Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Saccharomyces Boulardii, And More

There are a lot of different types of probiotic products, as you learned earlier. The different types of probiotic strains are just as numerous.

Here’s a brief look at some of the most important strains of probiotics.

probiotics on empty stomach | Probiotic AmericaSaccharomyces boulardii – This is actually a type of yeast that can help support normal bowel movements.5
Lactobacillus helveticus – This strain has been shown to help support healthy blood pressure levels.9
Lactobacillus rhamnosus – This is a strain you’ll find in a lot of probiotic products. This important member of the Lactobacillus family helps support digestive health.6
Bifidobacterium – This family of bacteria has several different members, including the powerful bifidobacterium lactis strain. These bacteria may help with bloating and other digestive issues.7

Diet And Probiotics: Fermented Foods And Other Probiotic Foods

The benefits of probiotics are well documented. They’re designed to help support your health and well-being.

If you want to increase your supply of probiotics through food, great sources include sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha (a fermented tea).8

It’s likely that you won’t consume enough of these good bacteria through food alone. If you’re looking to get more probiotics into your diet ask your doctor if taking a supplement is right for you.

probiotic foods | Probiotic America

Learn More:
Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)
How Much Protein Should You Be Eating?
Finding the Best Probiotic Yogurt for Digestion and Gut Health


Finding the Best Probiotic Yogurt for Digestion and Gut Health

Are you looking for the best probiotic yogurt out there? Well, it’s smart to do some research on probiotic yogurt – because all yogurt is not created equal.

Let’s take a look at what to look for when shopping for probiotic yogurt, and the benefits of probiotics for your digestive health in general.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotic bacteria are “friendly bacteria” which help to provide certain health benefits when consumed by a host – that host being you.

probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic America

These gut health benefits, researched in-depth across many studies, are accepted by the international medical community and the World Health Organization.1

So, what are these health benefits? Well, the main one involves gut health. Probiotics help boost the good bacteria in your gut, so they outnumber the bad bacteria. This helps to ensure a healthy digestive system.

A Healthy Gut – A Healthy Body

Now, here’s where things get really interesting. Research suggests that body health may actually begin in the gut.2 This means that having healthy gut flora is more important than ever, as it may be affecting a myriad of other health issues.

Good Bacteria: Probiotics Found in Yogurt

Regular yogurt, made from dairy or non-dairy milk, is considered a high protein probiotic food. To be a probiotic food, a food must be fermented in some way – in order to bring forth the friendly bacteria.

Other probiotic foods include fermented foods like:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kefir-style drinks
  • Kombucha

probiotic foods | Probiotic America

Now, a good probiotic yogurt contains living, beneficial bacteria. How does it get there?

Here’s the brief story of yogurt…

Fermented Milk And Live Active Cultures: How Is Yogurt Made?

To make modern yogurt, naturally high-protein cow’s milk is heated, pasteurized and homogenized, then allowed to cool.

The milk is then introduced to some key yogurt starter cultures – bacterial strains that are known to be exceptionally good for the gut.

Live probiotic strains of bacteria required for fermentation of yogurt are usually Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Lactobacillus acidophilus may also be included.

This milk and culture mix is then left to ferment.

Lactic acid then forms, which breaks down the milk’s natural sugar proteins.

best probiotic yogurt | Probiotic America

This is what gives yogurt its tart taste. And lactic acid also creates its own friendly bacteria during this process.

Here’s the bad news for yogurt lovers. If your favorite yogurt is heat-treated after the fermentation process, all those good little bacteria are destroyed. They may be listed as an ingredient, but they are no longer live active cultures.4

So, the best probiotic yogurt brands are those that don’t heat-treat their yogurt after fermentation.

Sugar Alert: Plain Yogurt vs Flavored Yogurt

As long as your yogurt contains live and active cultures, you have yourself a solid probiotic yogurt. Dairy-based yogurt is also high in protein (because cow’s milk is high in protein). Until flavors are added. Then, things get a little dicey.

In order to flavor yogurt, immense amounts of sugar are often added.

Even if the label tells you that it’s “real fruit” or “natural flavor”–it will likely be full of added sugar, too.

best probiotic yogurt | Probiotic AmericaBy comparison, plain Greek yogurt is high in protein, low in sugar, and low on added ingredients.

If you find plain Greek yogurt a little boring, try flavoring it yourself. Add some fresh fruit, a dash of vanilla or almond extract, or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.5

Benefits Of Probiotics: Can A Daily Probiotic Supplement Help Digestive Issues?

Getting probiotics from foods like yogurt is always a solid choice, as you’re also getting the benefits of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, it’s likely that your yogurt isn’t getting you enough probiotics to fully benefit your health. The good news is live active cultures can also be taken as a daily probiotic supplement.

Probiotic supplements (and their live and active cultures) can benefit everyone.

But especially those who may be struggling with digestive issues and need an extra boost to their gut health. They’re also an option for those who may be intolerant of dairy.6

Now, some probiotic supplements are bulked up with filler ingredients which may include lactose milk sugars. So, always read the label properly before making a supplement choice.

CFU Probiotics | probiotic America

Here are some other great bacterial cultures that you may find in a probiotic supplement:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus – This common probiotic strain may help support normal bowel movements.7
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus – Studies have shown that lactobacillus bulgaricus may help support lactose digestion.8
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum – One of the key friendly bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of newborns, this strain may support gut health and normal digestion.9
  • Saccharomyces boulardii – This probiotic may support normal bowel movements.10

Live And Active Cultures At Work

Don’t get overwhelmed by all the different cultures when it comes to choosing the best probiotic yogurt. Try instead to include multiple probiotic foods in your diet each day and talk to your doctor about taking a probiotic supplement.

Finally, if you’re dairy intolerant, there are also non-dairy alternatives that still contain probiotics.

Learn More:
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CFU Probiotic Supplements: Does Greater CFU Equal Better Gut Health?

There are a lot of different probiotics products out there, and a lot of different colony-forming units, or CFU probiotics labels. From the low millions to billions of CFUs per dose, you are sure to find a probiotic supplement that is right for you.

Here is some information on CFUs and their association with health benefits.

Probiotic Supplements: Good Bacteria For Your Gut, Stomach, And Intestines

There are many fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and many others, that contain good bacteria. However, for most people, these foods are an incomplete source of probiotics.

This is why a lot of people prefer to get their probiotics through probiotic supplements rather than food.

The gut, also known as the gastrointestinal tract, is home to trillions of bacteria. These microorganisms, also known as the gut flora, make up the gut microbiome.

This is the environment in which all these microbes live. It’s one part of the overall human microbiome.

CFU Probiotics | probiotic AmericaSome microorganisms are beneficial, but others are bad bacteria that can cause serious stomach problems.

Probiotic supplements are designed to provide support to the good microbes. They may also provide other health benefits, such as immune system support. Your immune system helps protect you from developing many types of illnesses.1

How Many CFUs Of A Daily Probiotic Do You Need?

You’ll find a lot of probiotic products that have a wide range of CFUs. The CFU count will let you know much of the good bacteria you’re ingesting. Researchers examined several different dosages for several different strains of bacteria. Most studies have focused on dosages in the 1-20 billion CFU range.

Researchers believe that a dose of at least 5 billion CFUs per day for children, and 10 billion CFUs per day for adults, can provide significant health benefits.2 According to the researchers, there is no evidence that higher dosages will harm a user’s health.

CFU Probiotics | probiotic America

Lactobacillus Strains Of Bacteria And Digestive Health

All complete probiotic products should contain members of the lactobacillus strain of friendly bacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria have been associated with several benefits when it comes to the stomach, large intestine, and other parts of the gut.

Here are just a few of these strains to look for:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Bifidobacterium animalis

Seek Medical Advice

Feel free to speak to a doctor if you have any questions about probiotic supplements or any other type of dietary supplement. They will look at your specific medical situation to make sure it will be safe. Your doctor may also be able to recommend what CFU count will be right for your intestinal health.

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How Much Protein Should You Be Eating?

“Protein is good for you.”

No doubt, you’ve heard this message for years. Dietary and health experts sing protein’s praises. And various products promote the amount of protein they contain. Countless medical studies have focused on protein. There are even diet plans whose foundations are built on protein.

But what exactly is protein, and why is it good for our bodies? And how much protein should you actually eat?

Let’s answer those questions. First and foremost…

What Does Protein Do?

Well, proteins are frequently referred to as the “building blocks” of the human body. Each protein is made up of a string of amino acids which helps establish its specific function.

How Much Protein | Probiotic AmericaNow, numerous bodily processes are performed by proteins, including the construction of muscles and tendons, the replication of DNA, and the transportation of molecules throughout your body.

Furthermore, many types of protein (often called essential proteins) cannot be produced by the body but must be obtained through foods, beverages, or supplements.

Suggested Levels of Protein

Turns out, how much protein your body needs to function properly depends on a variety of factors, the most important of which is weight.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (established by the federal Food and Nutrition Board, or FNB) calls for the consumption of .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

So, for a person who weighs 145 pounds, the minimum amount of daily protein intake should be 52.2 grams. And according to the FNB, protein should account for at least 10 percent of your calories consumed each day and can comprise up to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake.1

But determining how much protein you need involves more than just stepping onto a scale. You must also take into account your age, activity level, and lifestyle in order to ensure that you are getting enough protein.

How Much Protein | Probiotic America

Protein For Athletes

The second-most important variable to take into account regarding protein consumption is your activity level.

In fact, at a conference of scientists and researchers dubbed “Protein Summit 2.0” in 2013, one of the takeaways was that “Because physical activity enhances muscle protein synthesis, the researchers suggest that protein recommendations be linked to physical activity.”2

Though studies on this topic have produced varying results, a good rule of thumb is that athletes who want to build muscle should consume approximately one gram of protein per pound of body weight.3

That amount will help the body synthesize the additional protein into muscle growth and development.

Similarly, endurance athletes like runners, swimmers, or bicyclists also require a higher-than-average daily amount of protein. One study recommends between .5 and .65 grams of protein per pound of body weight.4

Protein For People Trying to Lose Weight

How Much Protein | Probiotic America

On the other hand, many people maintain an active lifestyle because they want to control their weight and/or shed some unwanted pounds. You might assume that weight loss regimens require a reduction in protein intake… but you’d be wrong.

That’s because consuming protein actually increases your metabolic rate, which helps you to burn calories faster. Moreover, protein helps you to feel fuller, and thus reduces your appetite, which can also aid in weight loss.5

Based on the most recent research, allocating between 25 to 30 percent of your daily caloric intake to protein consumption can help facilitate weight loss and lessen the chances that you’ll make poor dietary choices.6,7

Protein For Senior Citizens

Your age is also a factor in how much protein you should eat.

Research suggests that elderly individuals should increase the amount of protein in their diet to a ratio of .45 to .54 grams per pound of body weight.

How Much Protein | Probiotic America

While those suffering from a chronic or acute illness should raise that proportion even higher, to between .54 and .68 grams per pound.

Increased protein intake may help combat age-related conditions like a reduction in bone density (osteoporosis) or muscle mass (sarcopenia).8

Where to Find Protein Naturally

The simplest way to increase the amount of protein you’re getting is to incorporate more protein-heavy foods into your diet.

The most common source is the animal protein found in most meats, such as beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and bacon (though you should monitor the fat content in the meat you choose).

It also means eating more fish, eggs, and dairy products.

For people who have embraced a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based food lifestyle, finding protein can be a bit more challenging.

A popular path to protein, in this case, is the family of soy-based foods like tofu, tempeh, soybeans, edamame, and soy-based veggie burgers. Other natural sources include quinoa, beans, lentils, whole grains, and nuts.

How Much Protein | Probiotic America

Are Protein Supplements For You?

Finally, for people who require more protein than they can get from foods or beverages, there are plenty of protein supplement products available.

These supplements tend to be available in powdered form (from which you can create protein shakes), protein bars, tablets or capsules. Some of the most common protein supplements are soy, whey, and casein.

How Much Protein | Probiotic AmericaYou can try protein supplements on a temporary basis. If you’re weight training, for example, or if you’ve started a rigorous new fitness regimen, you might consider supplementing your protein intake with a supplement.

The Takeaway

Though there isn’t any hard evidence that suggests consuming too much protein is unhealthy or dangerous, there is a certain level of diminishing returns the higher your protein intake rises.

And if you have any concerns about increasing your protein levels – especially if it’s in conjunction with a new exercise program – then you may want to speak to your physician.

But overall, giving your body more protein can help your body get stronger and operate more efficiently.

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Can Probiotics Help Reduce Acid Reflux?
Is Probiotic Yogurt Just A Fad, Or Is It Truly Beneficial?
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Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)

Last Updated: June 7th, 2019

Cheese lovers, rejoice! Now you can celebrate the taste, andaccording to new studies—also celebrate its health-boosting nutrients. You see, cheese isn’t just good for building strong bones, like we were taught in school as a kid. Certain types of cheese are chock-full of friendly bacteria, or probiotics, which keeps your microbiome happy and healthy. 1

Continue reading “Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)”