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November 30, 2017

Probiotics: A Growing Variety of Healthy Gut Punches

MHT Partners  | Consumer Investment Bank

By now, even the non-foodie, non-health nut crowd has heard of probiotics and some of the confusing new terms like “gut health” and “friendly bacteria.”  In a nut shell, nutritionists have realized that over the past 100 years, the packaged food and beverage industries became experts at processing, which helps shelf life and reduces food waste.  Refrigeration also become a key component of our elongated farm-to-factory-to-table supply chain.  Unfortunately, many of the elements being stripped out of our foods and beverages as a result of the evolution of food processing and storage have numerous health benefits, including improved digestion and an improved immune system. Countering this probiotic deficiency means loading up on probiotic products chock full of impossible-to-pronounce friendly bacterium, such as “lactobacillus acidophilus” and “streptococcus thermophiles.”  Early informed consumers simply looked for labels with “probiotic” on the front, but it was slim pickins.

Until recently, yogurt was the probably the most common probiotic-heavy food found in U.S. households, and probiotic benefits are one of the reasons yogurt has been a rapidly growing category (particularly Greek yogurt) in recent years.  After yogurt, and maybe pickles, foods high in probiotics might be difficult to find, difficult to eat, and difficult to pronounce.  Many Americans would have to Google Kefir, Natto, Kvass, Tempeh, and Kombucha to know these are things you put in your body, and not yoga poses.  In actuality, these are products people in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East have been consuming for thousands of years.

So what is the average American to do when confronting poor gut health?  A bun full of sauerkraut and no sausage? A bowl of kimchi? A dozen pickles?  Thankfully, for those looking to stick with their normal diet and improve their microbiome, a wide variety of new probiotic foods are hitting shelves, including:

A burrito, chips, root beer, and a chocolate bar – the new gut-healthy breakfast of champions!

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