5 ways to get more from your probiotics
We know how important it is to take probiotics at the best time and in the best way, and so we've compiled a few tips to help you get the most out of your live cultures. It may seem a little daunting at first but, rest assured, you don't need to drastically change your lifestyle to maximise the effect from your probiotics.
1. Take your probiotics at breakfast
Today, breakfast seems to have taken a bit of a backseat. In fact, according to a recent study1 the number of us choosing to skip breakfast has doubled in just three years. Most people seem to find breakfast a bit of an inconvenience whilst some people skip it all together. Others choose sugary cereal bars, breakfast drinks or ‘carby’ croissants as a quick “on the go” alternative.
That being said, breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day because it provides you with the energy, sustenance and vitality you need to kick-start your day! It's also the best time to take your probiotics! This is because breakfast time is when your stomach is at its least acidic and, as a result, the probiotics have the best chance of reaching your gut alive – they have a 95 to 100% survival rate!
However, if you choose to take your probiotics at lunch or dinner the chances of the good bacteria surviving decrease. This is because at this point in the day, you are more likely to have consumed a variety of different food, upending the acidity levels in your system and losing some of that good bacteria in its transit to your gut.
2. Don't mix probiotics with heat or acidity
Another quick tip is to make sure that you do not take your probiotics with anything overtly acidic because, as above, the ‘live cultures’ will be less likely be to reach the gut alive. These include anything from a glass of wine to your apple and orange fruit juices - make sure you aren't taking your probiotic with your glass of OJ at breakfast time. The same applies again for anything hot! We don’t recommend sprinkling your probiotics into a hot bowl of porridge as the heat may also kill off some of that good bacteria.
However, if you struggle with swallowing capsules or taking pills, do not worry! There are probiotics which are flavourless and can be dissolved into water or mixed into lukewarm food and drinks.
3. Make them part of your morning ritual
If you haven’t already, create a healthy morning ritual; drink a cup of tea or coffee, enjoy a balanced breakfast and make sure you consistently take your probiotics on a daily basis! You aren’t going to see a significant difference by taking just one capsule every so often so make it part of your routine and most importantly, stick to it! It takes some time for probiotic levels to build up in your gut, so don’t expect immediate results.
You can also consider adding fermented foods to your diet. These foods are high in amino acids, sodium, fibre and calcium and a great way to introduce additional “live cultures” to your diet. It also makes for an interesting and unique way to mix up your weekly meals with something a little less conventional ;)
4. Get the right probiotic for you
It’s no secret that we consider ourselves probiotic specialists, so we know that there are specific strains of good bacteria or ‘live cultures’ that have been scientifically proven to work effectively in different parts of the gut. For example, some specific strains have been found to work in the gut to help maintain regularity, whereas others have been found to support IBS, and some have even been associated with mental health. Read more about that here.
Make sure that, first and foremost, you take the probiotic that’s right for you. If you have any under lying health conditions, we would always recommend that you seek medical advice first before purchasing a probiotic.
5. Opt for quality over quantity
As written in “probiotic myths…BUSTED”, research shows “the quality of the strain is of much more importance than the quantity”. In today’s modern day world, we are often told, as consumers, that the more there is, the more amazing it is! This is not true of probiotics: just because there’s a probiotic that contains multiple strains of good bacteria doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than one that includes fewer or even only one. Sometimes a lower strength bacteria can perform as well, if not better than a high strength probiotic.
Hopefully these 5 quick tips will help you maximise those mighty microbes to their full potential in your gut!
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Does it really matter what time you take your probiotics?
Healthcare professionals can see: Do women’s probiotics work in the gut?