"What's That In My Yogurt?!": Surprising Activia Ingredients & Your Gut Health
5 minute read
Did you know that you are more bacteria than human? As weird as that may sound, it is true. We have more bacteria inside and outside our bodies than we have human cells. In fact, bacteria has our cells beat, 10 to 1.
Everyday new discoveries are made about the value of bacteria, so it is not all that bad when you really think about it. Friendly bacteria support our immune system and digestive health, and we would not function the same without them.
The typical Western diet has, unfortunately led to the elimination of a number of our bacterial friends, along with our over-reliance on antibiotics. Thousands of bacterial strains are now resistant to our medications because of over-use. This means we are defenseless against them. Our immune system depends on the support of these natural flora living in our intestinal tract, and without them we become more susceptible to illness.
To maintain health, adding a broad spectrum probiotic to your diet is highly recommended by medical and health professionals and backed by many years of scientific research. Pro means 'for' and 'biotic' means life; this literally translates to probiotics being essential to our life. In addition to a probiotic supplement regimen, you can also encourage healthy bacterial balance with special drinks, as well as fermented vegetables, and yogurt.
The benefits of probiotics to us are countless:
♦ Regulation of our immune system
♦ Promotion of regular bowel movements
♦ Decrease inflammation
♦ Treat and prevent yeast infections
♦ Reverse allergies
♦ Prevent certain types of cancer
♦ Promote strong bones
♦ Relieve acid reflux and indigestion
The introduction to Activia brand yogurts to the market has been widely covered and discussed in terms of the benefits of its highly active probiotic content. Hosting the b.animalis bacteria strain, this yogurt is advertised to help maintain the levels of natural bacteria that you need to stay healthy.
Bacterial species that are found in humans cannot be found in animals and vice versa. The shock to the nation is that b.animalis is found in rat feces. No need to look back up the page, you read that correctly. The helpful bacteria you eat in Activia is derived from rat poop.
Once you get over the 'yuck' factor, there is proof that makes this worthwhile. Firstly, there is no harm caused to us by ingesting this bacteria. The presence of it in your gut, promotes healthy bowel movement and function. However, if you have paid attention to the commercials, they offer a money back guarantee. This is because if you ever stop using Activia, your digestive system reverts back to its previous state.
Studies have shown that with prolonged use of Activia, you can actually end up dealing with more digestive problems than when you began using the product. Because this particular bacteria strain is not a native resident of your human gut, the body eliminates it, and unfortunately takes some of your local bacteria friends with it.
Not every yogurt has b.animalis (more commonly known as bifidus regualris) but these other commercial yogurts also come with their own set of drawbacks. The milk used to make it is pasteurized, homogenized and skimmed, meaning any of the natural bacteria and enzymes are stripped away before they ever make it to your fridge.
As we now know, these probiotics can be added back in, but generally yogurts are fortified with such a small amount of these live cultures that lose all beneficial qualities. Unless, it is manufactured, which is where rat feces comes into play. If yogurt is a necessity on your weekly menu, opting for homemade yogurt can reduce the chances that their may be some unnamed, unwanted ingredients.
Keep in mind that dairy is difficult to digest for many, can cause excess phlegm buildup in the body, and promotes inflammation which leads to disease. If, by now, the rat feces and side effects have turned you off, maybe try other solutions to increase good probiotics in your system, like a broad spectrum supplement or fermented foods.
Fermented foods contain probiotics to help inoculate your digestive and immune systems with good bacteria. Popular fermented food to consider adding to a well-balanced diet include miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, pickles, and kombucha. Any of these nutritious whole foods will deliver the same benefits to you and your health.
The Bottom Line
Good bacteria can be consumed from other sources and restricting the use of antibiotics will help to keep your numbers at required levels, ready to fight disease and promote health. Be wary of labels and money back guarantees; stick to natural supplements and your health will ultimately thank you.