The link between gut health and personal health has been acknowledged as far back as Ancient Greece. Since then, the key role that the gut and its microbiota play in people’s overall health has been well-documented. A wealth of scientific research has demonstrated that the gut is key to many body functions and systems, including our digestion, immune system, metabolism and nervous system; and that probiotics could contribute to gut health which is key for the maintenance of those functions. So, how can we best take care of gut health?
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are tiny single-celled micro-organisms (mainly bacteria and yeasts) that are good for your body and can help you stay healthy when consumed in sufficient quantities. They are widely recognized for supporting a healthier gut environment, immune health and digestive health.
But not all probiotics are the same. While they share common features, each strain of probiotic is unique and can have specific benefits. Scientists have spent decades conducting clinical and scientific research to understand which strains have the best impact on a wide range of people under different health conditions.
Why are probiotics important?
Factors such as modern lifestyles, unbalanced or unhealthy diets (e.g. insufficient fiber intake), psychological stress, reduced physical activity, and overuse of antibiotics, all can have an impact on our gut functioning. Because of this, being careful about what we eat is crucial, as dietary behavior can have a positive impact on these conditions. For example, insufficient fiber intake can result in a lack of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These important molecules are produced when gut bacteria have access to fiber. According to the Gut Microbiota for Health initiative, the presence of SCFAs has been known to improve the transit of material through the large intestine, provide energy to cells in the colon, strengthen the gut barrier, balance blood sugar, prevent obesity and colon cancer, lower cholesterol and support the immune system. Some probiotics in foods can increase the levels of SCFAs in the gut when fiber is present.
Why is it important to have a regular probiotic intake?
Because probiotics only pass through the gut temporarily, they must be eaten regularly to replenish the amount of good intestinal bacteria and thus express their benefit.
It is through fermented food that probiotics can best be consumed in a natural and enjoyable way. While not all fermented foods contain probiotics, yogurt is an excellent example of a fermented food that does.
Danone has been producing fermented foods containing probiotics for nearly 100 years: in 1919, appalled by the number of children suffering from intestinal disorders after the First World War, Danone’s founder, Isaac Carasso, decided to produce yogurt with cultures from the Pasteur Institute. Still today, Isaac’s vision is at the heart of our company. Our mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. Providing probiotic-rich dairy and plant-based foods helps consumers improve their gut health, and overall health.
Over the past century, Danone has collected and preserved 4,000 strains of bacteria. 1,800 of these are exclusive to Danone. Danone’s microbiologists carefully select the probiotic strains in each product based on the desired taste, texture and health benefits.
In order to keep raising awareness on the importance of probiotics, both Activia and Actimel constantly reinvent their offering to cater to the widest array of tastes and preferences. Take a look below:
Find out more
- Gut Microbiota for Health (GMFH): www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com
- Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative for a Balanced Diet (YINI): www.yogurtinnutrition.com
- International Scientific Association for Probiotics & Prebiotics (ISAPP): https://isappscience.org/
- International Probiotics Association (IPA) : http://internationalprobiotics.org/ and IPA (Europe) : http://ipaeurope.org/
- World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO): http://www.worldgastroenterology.org