PLEDGING A SORORITY or pulling an all-nighter do not go hand in hand with a happy gut. Vending machine treasures are much more appealing during a midnight study sesh, and sisterhood toasts are bonding, but they can wreak havoc on your delicate gut microbiome. This community of good bacteria reside in the digestive tract and impact skin health, weight, the immune system, and even mood. So, how can you cultivate a good microbiome? One way is by eating probiotics, foods rich in healthy bacteria. Here are 5 ways to sneak in probiotics in college that are totally compatible with the dorm lifestyle and can improve your gut microbiome and digestion.
1. When ordering in, keep garlic in mind.
If you’re a co-ed craving take-out, opt for a side-dish or sauce that incorporates garlic. The inulin in this superfood is a prebiotic that boosts probiotic (good) bacteria. This essentially means that eating foods high in inulin feeds the microflora in the gut that help with digestion.
2. When craving carbs, add artichokes and onions.
Scratching your head about what toppings to toss on that pizza you’re ordering for the RA meeting? Think artichokes and onions. Studies have demonstrated that eating artichokes (Jerusalem artichokes) and onions empowers the gut microflora.
3. When running to class in the morning, pick up a parfait for breakfast.
Eating yogurt revs up the immune system and gives the community of your microflora a serious boost. Go for Greek or plain yogurt sweetened with honey and fresh fruit to enhance flavor and cut the cane sugar.
4. When contemplating a latte, consider a chai green tea.
In one study probiotic properties of ingested milk products were boosted by the addition of tea extract. Tea, specifically the green, herbal kind, can enhance the effect of probiotics.
5. When checking out that new wrap place on campus, ask for a pickle on the side.
Pickles, brined in water and sea salt (not vinegar, since vinegar kills the probiotic bacteria) as well as other fermented veggies like sauerkraut or kimchi all have probiotic qualities. (Not to mention they’re almost zero calories!)
Komaroff AL. The Microbiome and Risk for Obesity and Diabetes. JAMA 2017; 317(4):355.
Lisko, et al. Effects of Dietary Yogurt on the Healthy Human Gastrointestinal (GI): Microbiome 2017 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28212267
Li, et al Study on the Influence of Tea Extract on Probiotics in Skim Milk: From Probiotics Propagation to Metabolite: Journal of Food Science 2016 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1750-3841.13383/abstract
Valdovska, et al. Alternative for improving gut microbiota: use of Jerusalem artichoke and probiotics in diet of weaned piglets. Poly J. Vet Sci 2014