If you’ve spent any time in the yogurt section of your local supermarket lately, you might see more and more products that highlight their “live active cultures”—a nice way of saying that the yogurt is full of bacteria.
While the idea of consuming bacteria in the diet may not sound appealing, probiotic bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented dairy products can promote digestive health.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain the proper balance of the microorganisms (called flora) that live in your digestive tract. Your digestive system is home to hundreds of types of probiotics, and these helpful bacteria keep the growth of other, potentially harmful, bacteria at bay—thus promoting healthy digestion.
The bacteria in your system also help to break down foods that are resistant to normal digestion, allowing you to obtain more nutrients from your foods. In the process, gas is produced. But we have other gas-guzzling bacteria that keep its production in check. So, a healthy balance of these various intestinal ‘bugs’ is key to a well-functioning digestive tract.
One of the most common strains of probiotic bacteria that reside in your intestines is Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is found in yogurt. When you eat yogurt that has ‘active, live cultures’ (the label will tell you), you can be assured that you are consuming this healthy probiotic.
Susan is the Sr. Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife, where she is responsible for the development of nutrition education and training materials, and is one of the primary authors of the Herbalife-sponsored blog, www.discovergoodnutrition.com. She is a Registered Dietitian and holds two Board Certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and a Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management. Susan is also a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Susan graduated with distinction in biology from the University of Colorado, and received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She then completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas. Susan has taught extensively and developed educational programs targeted to individuals, groups and industry in her areas of expertise, including health promotion, weight management and sports nutrition.
Prior to her role at Herbalife, she was the assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and has held appointments as adjunct professor in nutrition at Pepperdine University and as lecturer in nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Susan was a consultant to the (then) Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons, and was a contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times Health Section for two years. She is a co-author of 23 research papers, 14 book chapters, and was a co-author of two books for the public: “What Color is Your Diet?” and “The L.A. Shape Diet” by Dr. David Heber, published by Harper Collins in 2001 and 2004, respectively.