Even if you’re eating a clean, plant-based diet, you can still reap health benefits from taking a probiotic. There are hundreds of probiotic supplements out there today, but many are not effective- either because the CFU (colony-forming units) count is too low, or they’re not encapsulated properly in order to survive the acidic stomach environment. Instead of picking up any old probiotic off the supermarket shelf, I’d recommend doing your research first, and going with one like this probiotic from Newport Natural Health.
The human body is not a solitary organism, but instead is a living, breathing collaboration. It’s been estimated that microbes outnumber our own human cells 10:1, and it is these microbes that give us the ability to digest food, fight off illness, and perform most of our daily survival functions. The microbiome is something that has seen tremendous interest and research over the past decade or two, and while we still have so much to learn, most of us have an understanding of the importance of “good” bacteria when it comes to our health.
What Are Probiotics Good For?
Let’s talk about the benefits of probiotics. In order to feed our microbiome and support a healthy balance of bacteria in our bodies, diet plays a huge role. The #1 predictor of a strong microbiome and good gut health over time is the emphasis on whole, plant foods in their natural forms. Microbes thrive on the starch, cellulose, and fiber present in fruits and vegetables particularly! Fiber-rich plant foods act as “prebiotics,” or the preferred fuel sources for our microbes. Having a diet packed with a diverse amount of plants lays the foundation for optimal gut health.
And of course, because the gut is the “trunk of the tree,” the state of the gut affects everything else in the body. If your GI microbiome is off, you may also struggle with your skin, your lymph, your immune system, your mood, your sleep, and many other things.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, so it’s important that you get a probiotic supplement that is highly potent, properly made, and is shelf-stable. I prefer this one, because it is microencapsulated, meaning that the precious bacterial strains will survive the trip through your digestive tract, and because it includes prebiotics in it. These fructo-oligo-saccharides, aka FOS, provide perfect fuel for the good bacteria, as they pass through your gut, and can help make your overall digestion easier too!
So, how do I take my Newport Natural Health probiotic with FOS? Sometimes I’ll simply swallow a capsule with my morning meal, but other times I’ll get creative. If you’re looking for new ways to get your probiotics in, here are some awesome recipes for you to try! Bonus- you’ll get my favorite probiotic face mask recipe, because our skin needs all that beneficial bacteria too.
A note about using probiotics in recipes: because these capsules contain living bacteria, it’s important to be very careful with temperature. You’ll notice that the following recipes are cool or room temperature, temperatures that are too hot will kill the bacteria, and eliminate the effectiveness of probiotics.
Apple Pie Probiotic Smoothie
- 2 frozen ripe bananas
- 2 apples, peel on (I like Fuji or Gala)
- ¼ cup raw pecans
- 2-3 medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tsp cinnamon or apple pie/pumpkin pie spice blend
- 1 cup non-dairy milk like almond, coconut, or oat (more/less to taste)
- 2 caps NNH probiotic
Combine everything except the probiotic in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth, adding milk to desired consistency. Gently open the 2 capsules and add the powder to the smoothie, blending for just a few seconds more. Divide into 2 glasses and serve!
Simple Coconut Yogurt
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 caps NNH probiotic
Shake the can of coconut milk, or empty into a bowl and whisk, to get a smooth consistency. Pour the milk into a clean (sterilized) glass jar. Open up the 2 probiotic capsules and add the powder to the milk. Stir to combine with a wooden, ceramic, or glass utensil (not metal). Cover the top with cheesecloth, and let sit on the countertop or other warm place, for 24-48 hours. The longer it sits, the more tangy your yogurt will be.
When it’s done to your liking, cover with a lid and place in the fridge for a day or two to cool and thicken. Then serve and enjoy!
Probiotic Face Mask
- 1 tbsp aloe vera gel
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 1 tsp jojoba oil (optional- nice for dry skin)
- 1 cap NNH probiotic
In a small glass bowl, mix together the aloe gel, honey, and oil, if using. Open up the capsule of probiotics and add the powder. Using a wooden, ceramic, or glass utensil, finish mixing all together, until you get a smooth consistency. Apply in thin layers to a clean face, and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes. Rinse off with water, and follow with a light moisturizer.
With the depletion of our soil, and contamination of our air and water, these days I always recommend treating your digestive system to a good probiotic supplement, like the one from Newport Natural Health. Our GI systems need the extra support more than ever, and it’s super easy to get in your probiotics! Try out one of these recipes, or experiment with your own, and start feeling the benefits of a healthy, balanced microbiome!