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Be ProActive with Probiotics

By Margaret Furtado, MS RD LDN CYT and Joseph Ewing, RD LDN


Probiotics are a hot topic in the nutrition world today, and with all of the health benefits they provide, they certainly should be. But, what areProbiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms in your gut not to be confused with “prebiotics,” (which are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the gut). They are also known as “friendly” or “good” bacteria. They have been shown to provide a number of health benefits, such as:

  • Regulate bowel function
  • Improve mineral absorption
  • Improve some symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inhibit harmful bacteria growth
  • Treat diarrhea
  • Improve immune function and prevent infections
  • Some studies have shown that probiotics may also lower cholesterol

Probiotics can be found in a number of foods such as yogurt, frozen yogurt and milk, as well as in pills, and serums. The biggest market at the moment for probiotics seems to be yogurt. Probiotics are available in yogurt brands such as Chobani Greek Yogurt, Activia, and DanActive.

Manufacturers are responsible for making sure they’re safe before they’re marketed and that any claims made on the label are true. However, there is no guarantee that the types of bacteria listed on a label are effective for the condition you’re taking them for. Health benefits are strain-specific, and not all strains necessarily promote healthful benefits, so you may want to speak with a doctor, and/or a Registered Dietitian who is familiar with probiotics to discuss your options. As always, let your primary care provider know before you start adding any alternative “medicine” to your diet.

Below are a few delicious recipes that will help you to get some healthy probiotics into your life. Eat and Enjoy!


Lisi’s Berry Kool Smoothie

This is a great smoothie to run out the door with in the morning; the sweet and tart taste of delicious fresh berries with the additional extra vitamins and minerals found in your greens will really amp up your day. This recipe was contributed by Lisi Deswart, Dietetic Intern at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore class of 2011.



1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup fresh blackberries

1/2 cup 2% strawberry Greek yogurt

1/2 cup skim milk

2 leaves kale, stalk removed and finely chopped


Method of Preparation

Add raspberries, blackberries, yogurt, skim milk and kale leaves to blender. Blend until smooth.


Yield: 2 smoothies


Nutritional Facts per Serving

105.5 calories; 8 g protein; 15 g carbohydrates; 1.5 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 52 mg sodium; 7 g sugar; 2 g dietary fiber



Peach Frozen Yogurt

This rich and creamy peach frozen yogurt is smooth and delicious. It will be a great recipe to have in your collection for a quick cool off in the spring and summer.



3 cups fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt

3/4 cups Splenda

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped


Method of Preparation

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, Splenda, and vanilla extract. Pour into ice-cream maker, and freeze for about 40 minutes, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Gently fold in peaches, and freeze overnight in a separate container with a lid.


Yield: 8 smoothies


Nutritional Facts per Serving

73 calories; 5 g protein; 10 g carbohydrates; 2 g total fat; 1g saturated fat; 6 mg cholesterol; 64 mg sodium; 10 g sugar; 0.5 g dietary fiber