Healthy Living

Ho-Ho-Holiday Cocoa Recipe

Nothing says “the holidays are here” quite like a comforting cup of hot cocoa. One whiff of this rich, chocolaty recipe will fully engage your nostalgia reflexes, conjuring up happy days of yore. Even better, the following simple mix-stir-and-heat recipe features a healthy measure of Chocolate Protein Powder, our non-GMO, nutrient-rich blend of proteins from pea, chia, pumpkin, hemp and quinoa! What better way to shore up your joyful reserves and fuel your holiday shopping, planning and festive jubilations!

As outlined, makes a single serving. Simply increase the fixings to serve two, six or even a dozen!

10 oz milk of choice

1 scoop Life's Abundance Chocolate Protein Powder

1 tsp Maple syrup or sweetener substitute

1 tsp Cocoa powder (increase for extra ho-ho-ho)

Pinch of salt

Optional: Add a few drops of Peppermint extract, or 1/8-1/4 tsp Vanilla extract for an added zing.

Directions: Add all ingredients into a shaker bottle or a blender and mix well. Pour contents into a saucepan or microwave-safe container and gradually heat at medium temperature or power level. Pour the warmed contents into a festive mug and enjoy at your leisure.

If you’re up for enjoying the holiday spirit in a more literal way, consider any of the following flourishes to upgrade your cocoa to a cup of good cheer!

Merry-making combos:

Peppermint Schnapps + Kahlua, Tequila or Cinnamon

Frangelico + Brandy or Bourbon

Rum + Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Goldschläger

Bailey’s Irish Cream + Vodka or Whiskey

Be sure to leave your comments in the section below. If you think you can improve upon our recipe, let us know how you did it! Remember, it’s the season of giving, so please share your cocoa-making secrets with your fellow blog readers.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Easy Bliss Bites: Recipe

Chocolate Bites

Who says healthy living can’t be irresistibly delicious? Definitely not anyone after sampling the latest Life’s Abundance recipe!

Judging by the reaction this recipe got here at our home office, you might want to throw caution to the wind and whip up a double batch of this fudge-inspired delight.

Be sure to share this delectably sweet and coolly refreshing treat with friends and family!

Ingredients

Ingredients:

2 Cups toasted rolled oats

1 Cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 Cup slivered almonds

1/2 Cup virgin coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

1 Cup almond butter

2/3 Cup raw honey

1/2 Tsp. almond extract

2.5 Scoops (approx. 1/4 Cup) Life's Abundance Greens Blend

3/4 Cup chia or flax seeds

3/4 Cup mini chocolate chips

Bake

Directions:

Spread oats and coconut on cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Use a mixer to combine the almond butter, honey, almond extract and the softened coconut oil. If needed, add more coconut oil by the tablespoon to reach the desired consistency. Once these ingredients are well mixed, add the remaining ingredients and mix until evenly blended.

Spread and press the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan (line with parchment paper for easy removal and clean up) and set in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Cut into bite-size delights and enjoy!

On the very slim chance you have leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

5 Foods for Glowing Skin

Promises of age defying, wrinkle releasing and instant face lifts in a bottle keep beauty products flying off the shelves everywhere from the grocery store to the most posh department store. I’m not saying a few fancy (or not so fancy) products don’t have their role in your skin's health and glow but your best bet at beautiful skin? Is building it from the inside out.

These five foods will offer you loads of nutrients to help clear your complexion, prevent wrinkles and make your skin glow.
Strawberries: This sweet fruit is full of antioxidants (including vitamin C and manganese) that help to prevent damage to the skin by free radicals. Not only that, but it also packs a punch in the B vitamin department, which plays a role in increasing circulation to the skin. Better circulation equals better cell turnover and a healthy flush. Here’s a bonus to these little fruits - researchers have shown that B vitamins play a role in a reduction in hair loss and contribute to shinier hair. Top a slice of Ezekial toast with a tablespoon of ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries as your new go-to breakfast.

Spinach: This leafy green contains zinc, important in controlling the oil content of the skin, which helps minimize breakouts. It’s also an essential component in the formation of collagen, which gives your skin cells their strength and keeps their structure. A boost of zinc will prevent skin from sagging and premature wrinkles from forming. Toss a cup of fresh spinach (frozen works too!) into your fruit smoothie for some serious skin boosting benefits.

 


Salmon: This fish is a well known option for those pining after glowing skin. And for good reason. Its high amount of omega 3s (DHA and EPA) are essential fatty acids necessary for good health, including skin. We can’t make them in our body so we must get them from food or supplements. DHA and EPA help maintain the structural and functional integrity of cell membranes and assist in warding off wrinkles. Their anti-inflammatory effect helps prevent collagen breakdown. Grill a salmon filet with rosemary and lemon for the simplest way to wow your dinner guests. Seafood not your thing? An Omega 3 supplement might be the next best option to ensure you’re getting a healthy dose of those necessary fats.

Almonds: Many know about biotin as being the answer for good hair and nails. But did you know that this vitamin does a whole lot of good for your skin, too? Almonds provide you with this particular B vitamin that gets the limelight for its role in stimulating faster cell turnover for a glowing complexion. Get your healthy dose of biotin by topping a salad with sliced almonds or by grabbing a handful of raw almonds as a quick snack.

 


Kidney beans: You may have heard of beans referred to as the ‘magical fruit,’ but this is true for more reasons than this tune’s amusing lyrics. Their high amounts of iron increase oxygen transportation throughout the body. This means better circulation, which means serious benefits for a healthy glow. Pairing them with a food high in vitamin C will ensure all of the iron gets put to work towards your best looking skin. Make a hearty veggie chili full of bell peppers, tomatoes and kidney beans for a nutrient match made in heaven.

 

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

The Many Health Benefits of Living with Dogs

While all dog lovers intuitively know we are happier and healthier with a dog or two (or three) in our lives, scientists around the world have been working to prove that this isn’t just a feeling but a fact. Dogs really do make us healthier!

  1. Fewer allergies
    That old wives tale that being around animals is more likely to make you sick is just that … a misconception. In fact, children raised around animals are 33% less likely to have allergies to those animals than those who are raised in a more sterile environment. Just like the “hygiene hypothesis” surmising that early exposure to germs makes us better at fighting them, being around allergens while our bodies are still growing helps the body recognize these particles as being A-OK.

  2. Trimmer waist
    Pet parents are less likely to suffer from obesity compared to the general population, particularly if you are the person in the household responsible for walking the dog. It makes sense: maybe you can talk yourself out of an early a.m. stroll, but it’s harder to justify skipping the walk when your dog is giving you those big, excited eyes!

  3. Lower rates of eczema
    Eczema, a painful and itchy skin condition, is a common plague in children and thought to have an allergic component. Children raised with dogs have demonstrably lower levels of eczema compared to the pet-less, which is great news for those of us who love dogs AND kids, and couldn’t imagine going without either!

  4. Cancer detection
    A dog’s sense of smell is somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times more sensitive than our own. Think about that the next time your spray perfume in their presence! One of the unintended benefits of this is that many dogs seem to pick up on very subtle olfactory indicators of disease. Dogs have shown repeatable, reliable skill in finding lung, bladder, breast, colon, and ovarian cancers in people … some of whom passed more commonly accepted screening tests! If your dog shows a sudden and insatiable interest in a certain body part, don’t ignore it … your pup may be trying to save your life!

  5. Noticing low blood sugar
    More than one out of every three dogs living with diabetics can detect low blood sugar, according to researchers. With no prior training, some of these dogs have on their own alerted their owners to something being off, providing people a critical lead time in intervening before their blood sugar levels lead to serious symptoms.

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Multivitamins… A Good or Bad Idea

In an ideal world, we would eat the perfect amounts and proportions of just the right foods from pristine, organically grown farms so we could obtain optimal nutrition from each and every bite. Sounds good, right?

It’s important to understand that foods are complicated – in a good way. All foods contain a host of complex micronutrients that work together in perfect harmony. This is why I believe that you can’t pop a pill and expect it to replace all of the nutrition foods deliver in your diet. There’s no singular pill, powder or solution that can compare with the comprehensive nutrition that fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and other foods supply to the diet.

The problem is that this is the real world, not an ideal world and our food supply, lifestyles and unique nutritional needs make it difficult for us to get the all nutrients we need from food alone. Fruits and vegetables don’t contain the vitamins and minerals they used to years ago due to the depletion of these nutrients in the soil. They also lose nutritional potency in transit from the farm to your table, not to mention the nutrients lost when cooking them. And finally, our hectic schedules often get in the way of making the right dietary choices. For example, instead of a grilled chicken breast with a sweet potato and green beans for dinner, you worked late and picked up a bucket of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and an apple cobbler dessert. This is why only one out of five people get adequate vitamins and minerals from their food.

Here’s where I believe a daily supplements can be very helpful. Although they cannot replace all of the nutrition food delivers, when your body needs a little extra help, they will have your back and can go a long way to help nutritionally compensate those of us who live in the real world.

So now you may be wondering, “what should I be taking?” There’s so many options to choose from that it can get kind of overwhelming. Is a gender-specific formula the way to go, should I try compressed pills, capsules or a gummies, perhaps a mega-dose formula is right for me or should opt for a special supplement formulated for hair and nails, energy or my age? I believe a multivitamin that provides you with the essential nutrients for optimal health and no more makes the most sense. Because too much of “good thing” can have unwanted consequences.

I recommend Life’s Abundance Multivitamin because it provides a balanced approach to a daily supplement, providing all of the essential nutrients and none of the extras. Plus, we’ve added a unique spice blend of black pepper extract, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, cayenne, cinnamon, holy basil and cloves. These spices offer a wealth of plant-based phytonutrients and antioxidants so important for optimal health. And since I believe it’s important to reduce additives from the diet, it is free from magnesium stearate. Life’s Abundance Multivitamin veggie capsules are made from cellulose, which not only helps protect sensitive ingredients but also breaks down and delivers nutrients more easily than compressed tablets. And, last but not least, it is soy, grain and dairy free with no added sugar, artificial flavors, color or preservatives. So, do the best you can to eat as healthy as you can and if you need a little help, try Life’s Abundance Multivitamin.

 

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

Dive Into Antioxidants

keri july 2016 blog

Antioxidants. Free radicals. Two buzzwords thrown around as often as, we eat! But what are antioxidants and free radicals exactly, where are they found and what do they do to and for you?

Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Think of them as the "good guys" that protect you from the "bad guys", free radicals. 

Free radicals are produced when your body breaks down certain foods, from environmental exposures such as tobacco smoke and even from the sun. In science terms, a free radical is a highly reactive unpaired oxygen atom. While oxygen is good and essential for the body, it is meant to be perfectly paired in its balanced O2 form. Think of a free radical as a pinball careening around inside your body, constantly smashing into other cells, and inhibiting normal cell function—the cells can’t do their jobs properly because this little guy keeps storming the gates.They damage cells and contribute to aging and other health concerns.

The good news is that we don’t need to live in fear of free radicals. Our bodies are pretty amazing and we can fight them, even with the food we eat. Free radicals can be reduced by eating foods that are loaded with antioxidants. Now the whole “good guy” part is making sense, right?

Antioxidants help counter free radicals in your body (think squashing that fly with a swatter) in a variety of ways. For example, antioxidants lessen the deterioration of the skin’s vital components like collagen and elastin. They protect against long-term sun damage, like wrinkling and skin discoloration, and from UVB exposure by fighting the free radicals that result from sun and pollution.

My favorite foods which have been found to deliver some of the highest antioxidant power are foods such as blueberries, artichokes, black beans, lentils and dark leafy greens. But all fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes will provide antioxidants. Herbs and spices and tea and coffee are also a powerful place to up your intake.

It’s important to remember to mix it up when it comes to eating. So, no eating that same turkey sandwich every day. Eating a variety of whole foods will ensure that you consume a wide range of antioxidants providing your body with the most help it can get, and you’ll be more satisfied, too! Even when you’re eating a balanced diet, sometimes it’s near impossible to consume all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Supplementing your diet with a low calorie antioxidant blend can be as easy as adding it to a glass of water. With our Minerals & Antioxidants mixes, just pour, stir and immediately enjoy 11 different nutrient-dense super foods, while simultaneously contributing to your 8 recommended glasses of water a day!

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

Three Simple Recipes to Fuel Your Summer

Summer Recipes

In this season of warm weather entertaining, finding a way to offer guests Pinterest-worthy refreshments minus hours spent laboring in the kitchen can feel like a high-stakes wager. But this summer you’ve got an ace up your sleeve with this bundle of perfect recipes to dazzle party goers, drop-in visitors and even your kids!

So, if you're tired of snacks that come with their own pre-packaged soundtrack, like the air-tight seal on a jar of salsa being broken, then you’re in the right place!

With a modest shopping list and just minutes relegated to preparation, you can stock your fridge and freezer with healthy and delicious treats that are guaranteed to impress. And the best part is that each recipe comes complete with a remarkable nutrition boost from premium Life’s Abundance supplements for indulgence of the highest order.

What are you serving this summer? Send in your own favorite recipes that use our nutrition supplements and you just may see your culinary creation featured here on the Life’s Abundance blog!

Summer Berry Salsa

This recipe is definitely a staff favorite. It’s fruity, yet savory and so delicious … truly a summertime must-have at any get-together.

Summer Berry Salsa

Yield: about 1.5 cups

1.5 cups fresh blueberries
5 medium strawberries
1/4 medium red onion
1 teaspoon lime zest
juice of two limes
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 scoop Life’s Abundance Greens Blend
1 small avocado, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Combine blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, juice, Greens Blend and cilantro in a food processor or blender and pulse 5 times, or until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Transfer into a bowl and fold in chopped avocado once ready to serve. Serve with pita, baguette slices or corn chips, or on top of fish or chicken.

Mango Tropcicles

Having these yummy, yet healthy frozen snacks in the freezer will make it easy to pass up the ice cream truck summer frenzy.

Mango Tropcicles

Yield: 10 two ounce popsicles

1 1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
8 oz can pineapple chunks, undrained
2 oz orange juice
1 small-medium mango, cubed
1 small banana
2 scoops of Life's Abundance Minerals & Antioxidants, Tropical or Cherry Flavor

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into molds and freeze 4-6 hours.

Superfruit Mocktail

There’s nothing like a few bubbles to brighten your day and this Superfruit Mocktail is a healthy way to embrace the spirit of summer.

Superfruit Mocktail

Yield: 1 serving

1 scoop Life’s Abundance Minerals & Antioxidants, Cherry or Tropical Flavor
2 ounces cranberry juice (or your favorite fruit juice)
6 to 8 ounces of sparkling water
ice cubes
fresh mint or lemon for garnish

Directions:
Place 2 ounces of cranberry juice into a glass and add 1 scoop of Minerals & Antioxidants powder. Stir thoroughly. Slowly pour the sparkling water into the glass and allow the mixture to settle. Add ice cubes and garnish with lemon and/or mint.

The Power of Protein

Omelette

You may hear the word protein and immediately think of a juicy bacon cheeseburger or a Sunday morning cheesy omelet. But, this macronutrient, famous for building muscle, comes in many shapes and sizes and has a whole lot of responsibility other than conquering cravings and “bulking” you up! 

Protein is made up of amino acids. There are more than 50 amino acids in the body, but 20 of them are responsible for protein building. There are 11 nonessential amino acids, meaning the body can create them on its own and 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot make by itself, meaning they must be ingested through foods. Most animal proteins, such as beef, eggs, chicken, fish and poultry contain all of the essential amino acids, and so they are referred to as complete proteins. Note: soybeans, hemp and quinoa are the only common plant-based foods that are complete proteins. Foods such as legumes, rice, beans and nuts do not contain all the essential amino acids and may be referred to as incomplete proteins. However, you can combine foods (think beans and rice) to get all of the essential amino acids and form complete proteins. And you don’t need to eat the incomplete proteins in the same meal! You need both essential and nonessential amino acids for your body’s cells to perform all of their functions.

Why is protein so important aside from helping us quash a burger craving? Protein is used in many bodily functions including cell maintenance and repair, blood clotting and the production of antibodies. It is the primary component of many body tissues such as skin, hair, and muscle.

Protein also provides satiety (feeling full). In other words, it is keeps us from diving into an ice cream sundae after... a bowl of pasta. One study(1) showed that people who ate 30% of their calories from protein versus 15% reduced total caloric consumption by 441 calories.

It is important to note that not all protein sources are created equal. We should aim to consume both plant and animal protein (if we’re meat eaters, of course). Animal protein should come from lean sources. It is recommended that approximately 15% of your daily calories come from this macronutrient to meet your basic needs. I believe a healthy diet may safely have as much as one-third of your daily calories from protein, and there is good reason to consume that much.

It’s easy to get into our own little adult food jags and eat the same omelet, burger or kale salad with grilled chicken again and again...and again. But, you should modify that breakfast for perhaps a protein-packed smoothie or tweak your lunch by nixing the grilled chicken for wild salmon or pork tenderloin. Switching up your protein will keep you from getting bored (and ditching your healthy ways altogether when you just can’t eat one more bite of chicken!). Also, when you eat different foods, you are consuming a wider variety of nutrients - especially if you swap out the rest of meal.

Here’s a delicious idea for a nutritious breakfast smoothie using Life’s Abundance Plant Protein powder. This 100% grain-free, plant-based protein powder is a nutrient-rich blend of clean, high quality proteins including pea, chia, pumpkin, hemp and quinoa. And at only 100 calories, it contains a whopping 14 grams of protein in every serving!

Green Smoothie

Avocado Banana Smoothie
Makes one serving with a prep time of 5 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 small banana, frozen
1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 small avocado
1 handful spinach, raw
1 scoop Life's Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein powder

Place ingredients into a blender and blend until you get the desired thickness.

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

Reference:
1 Am J Clin Nutr July 2005, Vol. 82 No. 1 41-48.

Start Your Day off Right

Meditating start your day off right

Do you ever wish you were living back in the days before our mornings started off with phone alerts and emails waiting to be answered? Yes, it’s annoying to have modern day technology interrupt what could be a pleasant start to your day, but the good news is that you have the power to create a morning ritual that is energizing and inspiring.

Rather than opening up your phone to check social media or your computer to get ahead at work, start your day off right with the following tips to guarantee a positive beginning to your day.

Practice Gratitude

My favorite daily practice that starts the day out right is being grateful. Find three things to be thankful for each and every morning before your feet hit the ground and at night before you lay your head down.

It could be for a great day at work or for your wonderful partner beside you. It could be the volunteer job you love, the yoga mat waiting for you, or the five-mile run you’re going to brave the cold for.

Choose to start your day from a place of abundance, because research shows that those who do are more optimistic, have more social connections, sleep more soundly, exercise more and are happier. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious and greedy.

Practicing gratitude is a no-brainer!

Quit Skipping Breakfast

You may think skipping breakfast will save you time and calories later in the day, but unfortunately it does just the opposite. Studies show that eating breakfast actually reduces hunger later in the day, and gives you more energy and brain power to get through your to-do list.

Need more proof? Eating a nutritious breakfast can:

• Help you lose weight, and decrease your risk of obesity.

• Increase brain function and concentration.

• Increase metabolism by as much as 10 percent.

• Decrease stress.

• Help you stick to your diet, and prevent snacking throughout the day.

Most people claim they don’t have time to eat breakfast. So if that’s your favorite excuse, I have great news - there are plenty of quick and easy breakfast ideas to get you started on the right track - even if your only breakfast encounter has been at the drive thru.

It takes more time to wait in line at your favorite breakfast stop than it does to make my favorite protein-filled shake. Even if you need to drink it on the go, it’s the best kind of morning take-out there is.

Pineapple Smoothie

Pineapple Green Smoothie

1 1/2 cups almond or coconut milk
1 ripe banana, frozen if possible (makes it creamier)
1 large handful of fresh spinach leaves (or a scoop of Life’s Abundance Greens Blend)
1 cup of frozen or fresh pineapple
1 scoop of Life's Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein powder
Large handful of ice

Mix all ingredients in blender and drink up!

Move it

Most of us are slaves to our computers and sit for hours on end each day, which studies show can lead not only to obesity, but also depression, neck and back problems, and even a shorter life span. What?!

The good news? Researchers at the University of Bristol(1) found that employees performed significantly better in areas of productivity, energy and focus on days that they exercised. If you’re a morning person, try to work out before you get to the office so a late day meeting doesn’t force you to ditch your evening spin class.

On days when I debate with myself whether to exercise when I’d rather not, I ask myself this:

“One hour from now do I want to feel SWEATY or SORRY?”

I can honestly say that nine times out of ten it works. (I’m human; I sometimes cave.) But, when I close my eyes and ponder this question, I know that I’m never sorry for putting on my sneakers, and always sorry when I don’t; and that’s all the motivation I need to get myself moving.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Restful sleep tonight sets the stage for increased energy and productivity tomorrow. Studies have shown that decreased sleep time leads to a drop in physical and mental energy. So, go for a full eight hours if you want to nail that presentation or stay awake for your kid’s afternoon soccer match.

Your kids probably have a peaceful nighttime routine, and so should you.

• Make your bedroom sleep-friendly by eliminating noise with a sound machine or earplugs, and turn off anything that emits light.

• Keep your room cool. The temperature of your bedroom can interfere with getting quality sleep.

• This may seem obvious, but make sure your bed is comfortable.

• Take a warm bath.

• Wind down with your favorite book.

• Prepare yourself for your next day; running through your schedule, getting the kids bags packed, and anything else that would make you late in the AM.

• Incorporate relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation before you fall off to sleep. This helps to relax the nervous system and prep for ZZZZs.

If you’ve been feeling “off” and can’t figure out why, vow to implement a few of these tips into your daily routine and I promise you’ll find more focus, energy and happiness in each day!

Danielle Danielle Diamond, Field Rep Contributor

(1) International Journal of Workplace Health Management 09/2008; 1(3):176-197.

A Probing Look at Probiotics

Girl doing yoga

After years of hearing about the benefits of probiotics, you probably think you know everything you need to. Chances are they were your friend to help you through the winter ambush of colds. To most minds, there’s probably no mystery left.

Given the nature of the good news plus more good news, you’re either in favor of probiotics or you’re like me, a totally pro-probiotic fanatic.

But regular doses of probiotics? Hmmmm. 

Even in the media, probiotics are discussed generically, rather than mentioning the individual helpful strains of friendly bacteria. Such overgeneralizations leave us unsure if you should be taking them, which ones to take, how often to take them, and (when you just get down to it) what exactly is it that probiotics do?

Well, I’m gonna break it all down for you, demonstrating, once and for always, just how awesome probiotics can be.

First, let’s see what “the authorities” say. Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “live microorganisms, which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotics are often referred to as “good” or “friendly” bacteria, and YOU are the host the WHO is referring to in this instance.

But what exactly are probiotics, you ask? Well, stay with me here.

A complex ecosystem of bacteria, known as the “intestinal microbiota,” develops after birth, taking up residence in the intestinal tract. Yep, we have a whole ecosystem of bacteria shacking up in our gut. The intestinal microbiota contains both “good” and “bad” bacteria. When the “bad” starts to outweigh the “good,” which can be due to lack of sleep, excess stress, or a bunch of other causes, it may affect your digestive system and your overall well-being.

To level off any imbalances, taking a probiotic supplement can help this whole gut situation. Maintaining a consistent level of “good” bacteria in your intestinal tract may actually improve how well it functions. Take that, “bad” bacteria!

Having adequate “good” bacteria has been shown to help support a healthy digestive system, a healthy immune system and help maintain oral health.

But all probiotics are NOT created equally. This is where it gets tricky.

There are many strains of cultures that have probiotic potential. But, each strain does different things, and each has its own little suitcase of benefits. We figure all this out in controlled studies, and we also figure out if you need a little bit or loads of a certain strain to reap its benefits.

You may have seen something on a food label (think yogurt or sauerkraut) about live and active cultures. Live cultures are microbes used to ferment foods, but not all live and active cultures are probiotics (meaning they don’t all have studies supporting specific benefits.) The “Live Active Cultures” seal was established by the National Yogurt Association to help consumers distinguish between yogurts that contain a minimum level of live and active cultures versus those that don’t.

So, bottom line, should you take a probiotic supplement?

I recommend that most people include a serving of fermented food each day (for example, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut) and take a premium probiotic supplement as insurance for good gut health and overall wellness. When you do this and your best to adhere to a healthy lifestyle, including managing stress and getting the proper amount of Zzz’s, you may just become a pro-probiotic fanatic, too!

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN