There are many different strains of Lactobacillus bacteria, some even have specific health benefits. So how can you get more Lactobacillus into your diet?
Let’s meet Lactobacillus
You’re already in a cosy relationship with Lactobacillus, which lives in your mouth, gut and vagina. You feed it the necessary nutrients and it helps you metabolise food and does its best to crowd out ‘bad’ bacteria.
Here are some of the most common Lactobacillus strains and their known health benefits:
L. rhamnosus HN001: This may help to reduce the risk of eczema in children with a family history if taken during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in the first two years of life.
L. rhamnosus GG: This strain’s for the kids. It can help to relieve symptoms of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children. And it can help to reduce the occurrence of mild upper respiratory tract infections, like the common cold, in children.
L. plantarum 299v: This is used to help relieve symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS, such as abdominal pain, gas and bloating.
L. paracasei8700:2 + L. plantarum HEAL9: Blended together, these help to decrease the duration of the common cold and reduce its severity.
L. rhamnosus GR1 + L. reuteri RC14: This combo helps to maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome.
L. crispatus: This is one of the most common species in healthy vaginal flora.
Lactobacillus and lady bits
Lactobacillus is usually the dominant bacteria in the vaginal flora of healthy women. Lactobacillus helps to maintain our vaginal health by ensuring there’s less room for potentially harmful microbes and by producing some antimicrobial compounds that help keep them at
Life-Space Women’s Microflora Probiotic contains six Lactobacillus strains to help restore and balance healthy vaginal flora, complementing our dietary efforts.
Your diet is another way to get some Lactobacillus, so give these five foods a try:
Read the label. L. bulgaricus is a commonly used starter culture with known health benefits. Other strains, such as L. acidophilus, may be added as probiotics.
This fermented cabbage dish is rich in friendly bacteria, including several strains of Lactobacillus.
Kefir grains are a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeast, fermented into a thin yoghurt-y drink. Its precise microbial composition varies, but Lactobacillus is always present.
4. Sourdough bread
Lactobacilli are the most important group of sourdough-fermenting bacteria.
This Korean dish even has a Lactobacillus strain named after it, kimchii.
Hopefully you’re ready to start loving your Lactobacillus.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your medical practitioner.