Here are some examples of probiotics in foods - cheeses, to be precise - showing just which probiotic might be lurking in that cheese topped cracker you're about to eat!
Not everyone wants to take supplements. People often ask me what foods contain probiotics. Everyone has heard of yogurt but beyond that, many people are scratching their heads. Well, cheese is a good source of probiotics, particularly aged cheese.
Cheeses made from raw milk and cheeses made by a fermentation process will always contain much more of the lactic acid producing bacteria that the human body is designed to eat. Note that mozzarella and ricotta do not normally contain probiotics due to being made by different methods.
Don't choose cheese that is labelled "cheese spread" or "cheese product". They have been heated to a temperature that kills the good bacteria. All the good qualitites of cheese are destroyed but the fat remains!
What you want is something like this Extra DOUBLE Aged Gouda which has been aged for over 2 years. Brimming full of lactic acid bacteria which is the family that probiotics come from.
Food is know to have a buffering effect as both probiotic and lactic acid bacteria travel through the gastric juices in the stomach1 so real food gives a much higher surviviability than supplements.
If you're looking for examples of probiotics in foods then look no further than aged cheese!
Aged cheese is a wonderful source of lactic acid bacteria and probiotics.
Did you know that the secret of making Gouda was perfected by Dutch farmers about 800 years ago? Mankind really has evolved alongside these wonderful old aged cheeses.
The longer cheese is aged for, the more probiotics and metabiotics (beneficial byproducts released as the probiotics digest their food) it will contain.
The cheeses displayed below vary in the length of aging they have had but they are all both good to eat AND good for you! You can buy cheeses made in almost every country in the world with many of them being distinctive to their country of origin.
These types of cheeses are rich in lactic acid bacteria, probiotics and metabiotics so you see, finding examples of probiotics in foods is not that difficult!
Cheese production uses a starter bacteria, but during the ripening process other, mainly lactic acid, bacteria spontaneously grow. These are often probiotic bacteria and are thought to arrive either via the milk or upon other ingredients and are often specific to a particular cheese producer.
Follow the link to find out more on which lactic acid bacteria is used to start which variety of cheese.
Bifidobacteria survives well in some Cheddar and Gouda cheese.1
In Swedish and Norwegian hard and semi-hard cheeses, the non starter bacteria are usually members of the Lactobacillus genus, in particular L paracasei. Cheddars have been found with Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus brevis.2
Recent studies are finding that Propionibacterium which is used to make Emmental cheese may have probiotic qualities. Research is continuing. With 40 billion Propionibacteria in a 1.5 ounce wedge this is a wonderful source of lactic acid bacteria and maybe probiotics.
Traditional Slovakian bryndza cheese is made from sheep's milk and contains Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lactobacillus brevis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactococcus lactis, Lactococcus raffinolactis, Streptococcus macedonicus, Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides, Debaromyces hansenii, Mucor fragilis, Yarrowia lipolytica and Galactomyces geotrichum.
Many of these good bacteria are not familiar to us but the first four are commonly found in any good probiotic supplement.
These examples of probiotics in foods show what has always been in cheese - and now many cheese manufacturers are begining to deliberately produce probiotic cheeses. It's a tasty way of taking your health supplement!
So go on - have another cheese and cracker - but make it aged cheese - it's doing you good!
1. Stanton C, Gardiner G, Lynch PB, Collins JK, Fitzgerald G, Ross RP. Probiotic Cheese. International Dairy Journal, volume 8, Issues 5-6, 6 May 1998, pages 491-496.
2. (WO/2002/018542) New Strains of Lactobacillus paracasei. World Intellectual Property Organization.