Yogurt with probiotics

There is no question that yogurt is good for you. However, you should know what is in this dairy product that you consume. This nutritious treat that dates back to centuries ago is rich in potassium and calcium, low in sugar and fat and contains natural microorganisms that are beneficial to the digestive system. Known as probiotics, these live active cultures are simply good bacteria.

Dannon, the Paris-based food company behind Activia®, one of the familiar names in yogurt, notes in its official website that probiotics, as defined by the World Health Organization is “a living microorganism that, when administered in adequate amounts, confers a health benefit on its host”.

Sounds good, right? But before anything else though, let me ask you these two questions: what is considered an “adequate amount” of probiotics? And, what are the benefits of yogurt with probiotics?

Activia® is a yummy low-fat yogurt that contains friendly bacteria. The key ingredient is DN-173010 which has been claimed with a trademark status by Dannon, being indicated in its US labels as Bifidus regularis. As part of a healthy lifestyle, the same site recommends consumption of 4 oz Activia® daily for a couple of weeks, the adequate amount and period in order to start experiencing its positive effects on the digestive system. These benefits include regular bowel movement and the relief of constipation and diarrhea, among others. Apart from this, additional benefits are ridding the body of toxins and maintaining good health.

So what is this Bifidus regularis exactly? This name is coined by Dannon and it varies in the different countries where the product is available. More important to note, however, is that this bacterial strain is a sub-species of Bifidobacterium animalis which is found in the large intestines of mammals, including humans. It is considered an effective probiotic since it is able to withstand the gastric juices in the digestive tract from the stomach down to the small intestines, until it reaches the large intestines where it works its magic.

On an interestingly related note, in his March 2008 article on individual probiotic bacteria, Matthew Hogg discussed a study conducted at Finland’s National Public Health Institute. In this research it indicated that probiotic bacteria, when used singly are more effective in boosting the immune system as opposed to when several strains are used in combination.

So the next time you grab a yogurt, enjoy but do read the label. Make sure that it is one which contains high-quality probiotic to make it a tasty yet nutritious respite.

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