Foods with Probiotics
When live, active cultures of beneficial bacteria are added to foods specifically to give them a health boost-not just to ferment the product (as with yogurt)-they're called probiotics.

Now in Yogurt, frozen yogurt, cereal, bottled smoothies, cheese, energy bars, chocolate, and tea.

What they do
Probiotics help stave off urinary tract infections and keep your digestive system happy, helping to reduce and prevent constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. In a study from the University of Oulu in Finland, women who consumed dairy products containing probiotic bacteria three or more times a week were about 80 percent less likely to be diagnosed with a UTI in the last five years than those who did so less than once a week. "The probiotics may hinder the growth of E. coli in the urinary tract, reducing the risk of infection," explains Warren Isakow, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Other research suggests probiotics boost the immune system, helping to prevent colds, flu, and other viruses.

Should you bite?
"Most women could benefit from eating probiotics as a preventive measure," says Anding. "But if you're having stomach trouble, that's even more incentive to consume them." Have one to two servings a day.

What to buy
Seek a brand of yogurt that contains cultures beyond the two needed for the fermentation process- Lactobacillus (L.) bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Those that have reported stomach-soothing benefits include Bifidus regularis (exclusive to Dannon Activia), L. reuteri (only in Stonyfield Farm yogurts), and L. acidophilus (in Yoplait and several other national brands). New technology means probiotics can be added successfully to shelf-stable products like cereal and energy bars (Kashi Vive cereal and Attune bars are two examples), which are good choices especially if you don't like yogurt-but be wary about claims of cultures in frozen yogurt; probiotics may not survive the freezing process very well.

Foods with Green Tea Extracts
Derived from decaffeinated green tea, these extracts contain powerful antioxidants called catechins.

Now in
Nutrition bars, soft drinks, chocolate, cookies, and ice cream.

What they do
These antioxidants fight cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems. In an 11-year study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year, Japanese researchers found that women who drank three to four cups of green tea a day reduced their risk of dying from any medical cause by 20 percent. Some early studies suggest green tea boosts metabolism, but more research is needed.

Should you bite?
No fortified product will give you more catechins than a cup of green tea (50 to 100 mg), and it takes far more than that to reap the benefits, says Jack F. Bukowski, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "But if fortified products replace less-thanhealthy foods you typically eat, they're worth including," he says.

What to buy
Tzu T-Bar (75 to 100 mg of catechins) and Luna Berry Pomegranate Tea Cakes (90 mg of catechins) are healthy alternatives to snacks you may already be munching on.

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