Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Healthy Tip: Probiotics are Full of Life

YogurtSeems like we've hit a tipping point - lots of people (especially Jamie Lee Curtis) are talking about getting "regular" and everybody's jumping on the probiotic bandwagon these days. So, what are these probiotics and what do they do for us? When you get sick, you may take an antibiotic. Probiotics, on the other hand, may help you stay well. "Biotic" means "relating to life" so probiotic basically means "supportive of life." There are hundreds of different species of these friendly organisms colonizing our digestive track and competing with potentially harmful pathogens. Here at Whole Foods Market, we've known about this good stuff for a very long time, and we continue to offer foods and supplements that contain these ever-popular bacteria. But wait! Did I say bacteria? Isn't that bad? Well, some bacteria are bad - they are pathogenic in the human body, meaning they can cause illness. But, there are plenty other bacteria that are really, really good! You've probably heard of Lactobacillus acidophilus that you find in yogurt, but there are myriad of other helpful bacteria strains -- trillions of live bacteria make their home right inside of you! (And that's usually a good thing!)

Why all of the attention now? As a nation, we have a lot of people with a lot of digestive problems. A healthy digestive tract is a huge defense because the majority of your immune system is located in your digestive system. If your digestive health isn't up to par, chances are your immune system isn't either. And, having a healthy digestive system means having plenty of healthy bacteria, and that's where probiotics come in. They are critical for the health of our immune system. They synthesize vitamins, eliminate toxins and help us digest our food and absorb nutrients. In the old days, people often ate fermented foods. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, kimchee, home-made pickles, and cheese are all examples of foods our ancestors prepared that contained live cultures. Nowadays, with so much of our food being pasteurized, we've eliminated most every source of these foods that we used to eat on a regular basis. So, it's a good idea to make sure your diet contains live foods and/or probiotic supplements. Next time you're shopping with us, look for one or more of the following items, many of which are kept refrigerated:

  • Live cultured pickles
  • Live cultured sauerkraut
  • Live cultured kimchee
  • Live pickled veggies
  • Live cultured salsa
  • Unpasteurized miso
  • cheese
  • Assorted beverages such as Synergy drinks and kombucha tea
  • Yogurt with live cultures (not all commercially sold yogurt or frozen yogurt have live cultures)
  • Kefir - a popular cultured dairy drink
  • Probiotic supplements - we have a large selection in our Whole Body Department

Remember to look for "live" food (it will say so on the package) and try to eat a variety of such foods in order to get different strains. Fermented foods are loaded with beneficial bacteria. If you have digestive concerns, they are helpful in competing with unfriendly bacteria, but it is possible to over-do it initially. Starting slowly is a good idea. I usually recommend just a teaspoon with a meal. Then, work your way up gradually to 1/4 to 1/2 cup daily. If you have digestive concerns, be sure to check with your health care practitioner. For a quick lunch filled with fermented foods, make a sandwich with raw milk cheese slices, ripe tomatoes, fresh live sauerkraut, German-style mustard or your favorite mayonnaise on dark rye or pumpernickel bread. Have you ever experimented with making your own yogurt, kefir or cultured veggies? If so, I would love to hear about it. Or if you have a favorite way to get your probiotics, let me know that too!

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

82 comments

Comments

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CAMILLE - I would suggest reaching out to a team member in the Whole Body department at your local store. I believe there are probiotic options that remain refrigerated during shipment and in the stores so this might be an option they can help you with.

julieta vega says …

Hi, I'm looking for bulgaros kefir grains to make homemade yogurt I want to know if is on whole foods market for selling

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JULIETA - Our products differ between stores, check with your local store to see what they have in stock!

lynn aertker says …

where are the living food like sauerfraut. Are they in the frozen section?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LYNN - Sauerkraut can be in a couple different locations in your local store. First I would look in the dairy or specialty refrigerator and if it's not there it could possibly be on the condiment aisle. When in doubt, you can always ask someone at the store to help you find it!

heliodora Murcia says …

please advise me if keybiotisc is the best live probiotics in the market and do you carry this product?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@HELIODORA - Our products differ between stores so check with your local store to see if they have this in stock. As always, check with your healthcare professional for their opinion before adding anything new to your diet.

Jules quinlan says …

Whole foods website is not navigable. Terrible. Can you email me the name of three bacterial probiotic product that is sold in Whole Foods?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JULES - My apologies for the difficulty. We do not currently offer online ordering for products since our items differ between stores. Check with your local store to see what types of probiotics they have in stock!

Robin Plante says …

I need a good probiotic. Can you recommend one of your best products that works as promised? Thank you.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ROBIN - Our probiotic selections differ between stores. Check with your local store to find out what options they have in stock!

lala says …

Wholefoods sells their own refrigerated probiotics..There is not much information on the product label.. How many cultures are in this item? Are these enteric coated? Are they gluten/ soy ect free or no? Searching web for more information on your product Hope to hear from wholefoods thanks

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LALA - We do not currently have online info about our private label products. If you have specific questions about a 365 or Whole Foods branded product, you can email our specialist at customer.questions@wholefoods.com to find more info. Otherwise, if the vendor is not one of those options, I would suggest reaching out to the vendor directly to find answers to your questions.

Carol A. Miller says …

Am looking for the Whole Foods brand of Lactobacillus Acidophilus which I have used for the last 30 years. Seems like it is not on the shelves anymore. Please advise. I have other brands of LA containing products, but like this product.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CAROL - So sorry you're having trouble finding this probiotic. I checked with our Private Label team and we only have one probiotic (that has lactobacillus and some other strains) and it is still available. It's possible that the packaging has changed but the item should still be available. Double check with your local store to see if they might be temporarily out of stock.

Sarah Sui says …

Love this blog post for all of the healthy tips! At EATProbiotics, we've created raw sauerkraut pouches that are packed with probiotics! Our raw, 100% organic probiotic foods are packed with over 15 probiotic strains and anywhere from 20x-100x the number of probiotics in other probiotic foods, drinks and yogurts! www.eatprobiotics.com

barry potter says …

does your old fashioned sauerkraut have live cultures in it?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BARRY - Is this a product made in-house? If so, check with the local store to see if they can help answer this. If this was a product made by a vendor, I would suggest checking with the vendor directly.

Marissa Sievert says …

Hi, do you guys sell the actual kefir grains to make your own?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARISSA - Our exact product options differ between stores. Check with your local store to see if they have this in stock!

Karen Perinchief says …

Thank you for this information. I'm going shopping for some live food.

Nora says …

Does any one know where I can get live cultures of keefer. They look like little grains of cottage cheese and are soft and smushy. I would like puchase from an organic source. Any help on this would be greatly appreciate it. : D Thanks!

Brenda says …

Do you carry Natrens Healthy Trinity

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BRENDA - Our exact products differ between stores. Check with your local store to find out if they have this in stock!

Jenny says …

Does whole foods sell live kefir grains? I would love to make my own, but can't find them anywhere.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JENNY - Since our products differ between stores, it's best to check with your local store directly to see if they have these in stock and if not, if they can special order them for you!

rebecca carl says …

does whole foods sell kefir grains?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@REBECCA - Some stores will but it's best to check with your local store to see if they carry the kefir grains or if they don't, they might be able to special order them for you.

Kathy says …

Does Whole Foods (I live near the Fresno, CA store - can't seem to get anyone to answer the phone...) carry kefir grains (used to make kefir)? Thank you!

Pat ILER says …

I'm looking for 365 High Potency Probiotic Complex 50 Billion Cultures. I found a bottle when we were in Michigan. Do you have them for order? Pat

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PAT - Our exact product options will differ between stores so it's best to check directly with the store. If they do not carry this, we do have a store in Austin that can ship non-perishable items within the US. You can give them a call at 512-542-2243 for more info.

Mrs crump says …

Do your store randomly have coupons for the Garden of life probiotics .

Pages