If you didn't already know this, probiotics are the "good" bacteria that help you maintain a healthy digestive system. Your doctor has probably mentioned probiotics before, and you may have seen them advertised — in the form of a capsule or supplement — via a commercial with a bunch of happy-looking people dancing around and explaining their many health benefits. Of course these people look happy; they're living a "regular" (digestively speaking!) life free of stomach pain thanks to these powerful microorganisms, which line your gut and are responsible for nutrient absorption and immune system support.
But while most of us, particularly as we age, are on board with getting more probiotics into our systems, who wants to remember to take another pill each morning or night? Luckily, you don't have to — and can instead get your probiotics in the form of a yummy morning meal, thanks to Special K's newest cereal, Special K Nourish Berries & Peaches with Probiotics.
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Special K Nourish Cereal
According to a Special K press release, 83 percent of adults have admitted to having some type of gastrointestinal problem. Yikes! That's why the company set out to create a probiotic-packed cereal made with live and active probiotic cultures. And don't worry: It's not what you think: The cereal doesn't taste like sawdust or a weird mashup of colorful particles that are supposed to resemble fruit; instead, Special K's Nourish cereal contains real ingredients, including a blend of blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and yummy yogurty pieces. In other words, it sounds like something you'd actually want to eat to start your day.
“We know digestive wellness is top of mind for many women, and it can be tough to sort through all the options out there, said Christie Crouch, Director of Marketing for Special K, in a press release. "With new Special K Nourish Peaches & Berries with Probiotics, we’re delivering the good bacteria, along with iron and vitamins to women are looking for to fuel their day.”
Why Women Need Probiotics
Probiotics are especially important for women because they've been proven to ward off vaginal yeast infections, bacterial vaginitis, and urinary tract infections by keeping the vaginal microbiome in balance. They've also been shown to improve immunity, clear up skin problems, including acne and eczema, and boost fertility.
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"For my patients either thinking about trying to get pregnant or thinking about fertility issues, there's a lot of evidence now that making sure that there's good ratios of certain strains of probiotics can also help with fertility," naturopathic physician Amy Fasig, N.D. told Woman's Day.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the most common probiotics are bacteria that belong within the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups. Lactobacillus is basically the "friendly" bacteria that already lives in our urinary, digestive, and genital systems. This bacteria helps to prevent diarrhea and other digestion problems. Bifidobacterium is the bacteria that lives in the intestines, which can be used to restore "good bacteria" in the gut that have either been removed or killed off by antibiotics, chemotherapy, or other causes. In short, probiotics go to war with the germs in your stomach, ultimately creating a happier experience for you and your gut.
Always Talk to Your Doctor First
So, will you basically be eating bacteria for breakfast? If you want to be finicky about it, yes. But if you're freaking out about the "microorganism" part of probiotics, you should know that we're not talking about the germ-y, gross kind. The microorganisms present in probiotics not only help destroy the bad, disease-causing germs you're thinking of, but they also produce vitamins. (In fact, we already have tons of these good, germ-fighting bacteria living inside us right now.) It may help to think of probiotics in the same way that you think of vitamin D, or any other vitamin, for that matter: Making sure you get a little extra into your body can give your overall health a boost.
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That said, it's important to pay attention. Because probiotics are labeled as "dietary supplements," the FDA isn't required to monitor them. And if you have a weakened immune system, for example, probiotics could do more harm than good. That's why it's always crucial to talk to your doctor first to find whether probiotics — in the form of a delicious cereal, a supplement, or something else entirely — are a good idea for you. Then, it's happy eating!