Probiotics are becoming popular food supplements.
Interestingly, each probiotic can have different effects on your body.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most common types of probiotics and can be found in fermented foods, yogurt and supplements.

What Is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria found in your intestines.
It’s a member of the Lactobacillus genus of bacteria, and it plays an important role in human health (1).
Its name gives an indication of what it produces — lactic acid. It does this by producing an enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk, into lactic acid.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is also sometimes referred to as L. acidophilus or simply acidophilus.
Lactobacilli, particularly L. acidophilus, are often used as probiotics.
The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health beneļ¬t on the host” (2).
Unfortunately, food manufacturers have overused the word “probiotic,” applying it to bacteria that haven’t been scientifically proven to have any specific health benefits.
This has led the European Food Safety Authority to ban the word “probiotic” on all foods in the EU.
L. acidophilus has been extensively studied as a probiotic, and evidence has shown that it may provide a number of health benefits. However, there are many different strains of L. acidophilus, and they can each have different effects on your body (3).
In addition to probiotic supplements, L. acidophilus can be found naturally in a number of fermented foods, including sauerkraut, miso and tempeh.
Also, it’s added to other foods like cheese and yogurt as a probiotic.
Below are 9 ways in which Lactobacillus acidophilus may benefit your health.

1. It May Help Reduce Cholesterol

White Capsules in the Lid of a Pill Bottle
High cholesterol levels may increase the risk of heart disease. This is especially true for “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Fortunately, studies suggest that certain probiotics can help reduce cholesterol levels and that L. acidophilus may be more effective than other types of probiotics (45).
Some of these studies have examined probiotics on their own, while others have used milk drinks fermented by probiotics.
One study found that taking L. acidophilus and another probiotic for six weeks significantly lowered total and LDL cholesterol, but also “good” HDL cholesterol (6).
A similar six-week study found that L. acidophilus on its own had no effect (7).
However, there is evidence that combining L. acidophilus with prebiotics, or indigestible carbs that help good bacteria grow, can help increase HDL cholesterol and lower blood sugar.
This has been demonstrated in studies using probiotics and prebiotics, both as supplements and in fermented milk drinks (8).
Furthermore, a number of other studies have shown that yogurt supplemented with L. acidophilus helped reduce cholesterol levels by up to 7% more than ordinary yogurt (9101112).
This suggests that L. acidophilus — not another ingredient in the yogurt — was responsible for the beneficial effect.
Summary: L. acidophilus consumed on its own, in milk or yogurt or in combination with prebiotics may help lower cholesterol.

2. It May Prevent and Reduce Diarrhea

Diarrhea affects people for a number of reasons, including bacterial infections.
It can be dangerous if it lasts a long time, as it results in fluid loss and, in some cases, dehydration.
A number of studies have shown that probiotics like L. acidophilus may help prevent and reduce diarrhea that’s associated with various diseases (13).
Evidence on the ability of L. acidophilus to treat acute diarrhea in children is mixed. Some studies have shown a beneficial effect, while others have shown no effect (1415).
One meta-analysis involving more than 300 children found that L. acidophilus helped reduce diarrhea, but only in hospitalized children (16).
What’s more, when consumed in combination with another probiotic, L. acidophilusmay help reduce diarrhea caused by radiotherapy in adult cancer patients (17).
Similarly, it may help reduce diarrhea associated with antibiotics and a common infection called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff (18).
Diarrhea is also common in people who travel to different countries and are exposed to new foods and environments.
A review of 12 studies found that probiotics are effective at preventing traveler’s diarrhea and that Lactobacillus acidophilus, in combination with another probiotic, was most effective at doing so (19).
Summary: When consumed in combination with other probiotics, L. acidophilus may help prevent and treat diarrhea.

3. It Can Improve Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Greek Yogurt in a Blue Bowl
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to one in five people in certain countries. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating and unusual bowel movements (20).
While little is known about the cause of IBS, some research suggests it might be caused by certain types of bacteria in the intestines (21).
Therefore, a number of studies have examined whether probiotics can help improve its symptoms.
In a study in 60 people with functional bowel disorders including IBS, taking a combination of L. acidophilus and another probiotic for one to two months improved bloating (22).
A similar study found that L. acidophilus alone also reduced abdominal pain in IBS patients (23).
On the other hand, a study that examined a mixture of L. acidophilus and other probiotics found that it had no effect IBS symptoms (24).
This might be explained by another study suggesting that taking a low dose of single-strain probiotics for a short duration may improve IBS symptoms the most.
Specifically, the study indicates that the best way to take probiotics for IBS is to use single-strain probiotics, rather than a mix, for less than eight weeks, as well as a dose of less than 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per day (25).
However, it’s important to choose a probiotic supplement that has been scientifically proven to benefit IBS.
Summary: L. acidophilus probiotics may improve symptoms of IBS, such as abdominal pain and bloating.

4. It Can Help Treat and Prevent Vaginal Infections

Vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis are common types of vaginal infections.
There is good evidence that L. acidophilus can help treat and prevent such infections.
Lactobacilli are typically the most common bacteria in the vagina. They produce lactic acid, which prevents the growth of other harmful bacteria (26).
However, in cases of certain vaginal disorders, other species of bacteria begin to outnumber lactobacilli (2728).
A number of studies have found taking L. acidophilus as a probiotic supplement can prevent and treat vaginal infections by increasing lactobacilli in the vagina (2930).
Nevertheless, other studies have found no effect (3132).
Eating yogurt that contains L. acidophilus may also prevent vaginal infections. Yet, both of the studies that examined this were quite small and would need to be replicated on a larger scale before any conclusions could be made (3334).
Summary: L. acidophilus as a probiotic supplement may be useful in preventing vaginal disorders, such as vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis.

5. It May Promote Weight Loss

The bacteria in your intestines help control food digestion and a number of other bodily processes.
Therefore, they influence your weight.
There is some evidence that probiotics may help you lose weight, especially when multiple species are consumed together. However, the evidence on L. acidophilus alone is unclear (35).
A recent study that combined the results of 17 human studies and over 60 animal studies found that some lactobacilli species led to weight loss, while others may have contributed to weight gain (36).
It suggested that L. acidophilus was one of the species that led to weight gain. However, most of the studies were conducted in farm animals, not humans.
Furthermore, some of these older studies used probiotics that were originally thought to be L. acidophilus, but have since been identified as different species (37).
Therefore, the evidence on L. acidophilus affecting weight is unclear, and more rigorous studies are needed.
Summary: Probiotics may be effective for weight loss, but more research is needed to determine whether L. acidophilus, in particular, has a significant effect on weight in humans.

6. It May Help Prevent and Reduce Cold and Flu Symptoms

Healthy bacteria like L. acidophilus can boost the immune system and thus help reduce the risk of viral infections.
In fact, some studies have suggested that probiotics may prevent and improve symptoms of the common cold (3839).
A few of these studies examined how effectively L. acidophilus treated colds in children.
In one study in 326 children, six months of daily L. acidophilus probiotics reduced fever by 53%, coughing by 41%, antibiotic use by 68% and days absent from school by 32% (40).
The same study found that combining L. acidophilus with another probiotic was even more effective (40).
A similar study on L. acidophilus and another probiotic also found similar positive results for reducing cold symptoms in children (41).
Summary: L. acidophilus on its own and in combination with other probiotics may reduce cold symptoms, especially in children.

7. It May Help Prevent and Reduce Allergy Symptoms

Sauerkraut In A Teal Bowl
Allergies are common and can cause symptoms such as a runny nose or itchy eyes.
Fortunately, some evidence suggests that certain probiotics can reduce the symptoms of some allergies (42).
One study showed that consuming a fermented milk drink containing L. acidophilus improved symptoms of Japanese cedar pollen allergy (43).
Similarly, taking L. acidophilus for four months reduced nasal swelling and other symptoms in children with perennial allergic rhinitis, a disorder that causes hay fever-like symptoms throughout the year (44).
A larger study in 47 children found similar results. It showed that taking a combination of L. acidophilus and another probiotic reduced runny nose, nasal blocking and other symptoms of pollen allergy (45).
Interestingly, the probiotics reduced the amount of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which is involved in these allergic reactions, in the intestines.
Summary: L. acidophilus probiotics can reduce the symptoms of certain allergies.

8. It May Help Prevent and Reduce Symptoms of Eczema

Eczema is a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed, resulting in itchiness and pain. The most common form is called atopic dermatitis.
Evidence suggests that probiotics can reduce the symptoms of this inflammatory condition in both adults and children (46).
One study found that giving a mix of L. acidophilus and other probiotics to pregnant women and their infants during the first three months of life reduced the prevalence of eczema by 22% by the time the infants reached one year of age (47).
A similar study found that L. acidophilus, in combination with traditional medical therapy, significantly improved atopic dermatitis symptoms in children (48).
However, not all studies have shown positive effects. A large study in 231 newborn children given L. acidophilus for the first six months of life found no beneficial effect in cases of atopic dermatosis (49). In fact, it increased sensitivity to allergens.
Summary: Some studies have shown that L. acidophilus probiotics can help reduce the prevalence and symptoms of eczema, while other studies show no benefit.

9. It’s Good for Your Gut Health

Three Different Kinds of Miso Paste
Your gut is lined with trillions of bacteria that play an important role in your health.
Generally, lactobacilli are very good for gut health.
They produce lactic acid, which may prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing the intestines. They also ensure the lining of the intestines stays intact (50).
L. acidophilus can increase the amounts of other healthy bacteria in the gut, including other lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. It can also increase levels of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which promote gut health (51).
Another study carefully examined the effects of L. acidophilus on the gut. It found that taking it as a probiotic increased the expression of genes in the intestines that are involved in immune response (52).
These results suggest that L. acidophilus may support a healthy immune system.
A separate study examined how the combination of L. acidophilus and a prebiotic affected human gut health.
It found that the combined supplement increased the amounts of lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria in the intestines, as well as branched-chain fatty acids, which are an important part of a healthy gut (53).
Summary: L. acidophilus can support gut health by increasing the amounts of healthy bacteria in the intestines.

How to Reap the Most from L. Acidophilus

Pot of Yogurt
L. acidophilus is a normal bacteria in healthy intestines, but you can reap a number of health benefits by taking it as a supplement or consuming foods that contain it.
L. acidophilus can be consumed in probiotic supplements, either on its own or in combination with other probiotics or prebiotics.
However, it’s also found in a number of foods, particularly fermented foods.
The best food sources of L. acidophilus are:
  • Yogurt: Yogurt is typically made from bacteria such as L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus. Some yogurts also contain L. acidophilus, but only those that list it in the ingredients and state “live and active cultures.”
  • Kefir: Kefir is made of “grains” of bacteria and yeast, which can be added to milk or water to produce a healthy fermented drink. The types of bacteria and yeast in kefir can vary, but it commonly contains L. acidophilus, among others.
  • Miso: Miso is a paste originating from Japan that is made by fermenting soybeans. Although the primary microbe in miso is a fungus called Aspergillus oryzae, miso can also contain many bacteria, including L. acidophilus.
  • Tempeh: Tempeh is another food made from fermented soybeans. It can contain a number of different microorganisms, including L. acidophilus.
  • Cheese: Different varieties of cheese are produced by using different bacteria. L. acidophilus is not commonly used as a cheese starter culture, but a number of studies have examined the effects of adding it as a probiotic (54).
  • Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is a fermented food made from cabbage. Most of the bacteria in sauerkraut are Lactobacillus species, including L. acidophilus (55).
Other than food, the best way to get L. acidophilus is directly through supplements.
A number of L. acidophilus probiotic supplements are available, either on their own or in combination with other probiotics. Aim for a probiotic with at least one billion CFUs per serving.
If taking a probiotic, it’s usually best to do so with a meal, ideally breakfast.
If you are new to probiotics, try taking them once daily for a week or two and then assess how you feel before continuing.
Summary: L. acidophilus can be taken as a probiotic supplement, but it’s also found in high quantities in a number of fermented foods.

The Bottom Line

L. acidophilus is a probotic bacteria that’s normally found in your intestines and crucial to health.
Due to its ability to produce lactic acid and interact with your immune system, it may help prevent and treat symptoms of various diseases.
In order to increase L. acidophilus in your intestines, eat fermented foods, including those listed above.
Alternatively, L. acidophilus supplements can be beneficial, especially if you suffer from one of the disorders mentioned in this article.
Whether it’s obtained through foods or supplements, L. acidophilus can provide health benefits for everyone.

Featuring Mitch Starkman, Physiotherapist



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Including vegetables in your diet is extremely important. Veggies are incredibly rich in nutrients and antioxidants, which boost your health and help fight off disease.
Additionally, they are beneficial for weight control due to their low calorie content.
Health authorities around the world recommend that adults consume several servings of vegetables each day, but this can be difficult for some people.
Some find it inconvenient to eat vegetables, while others are simply unsure how to prepare them in an appetizing way.
This article will cover 17 unique ways you can incorporate vegetables into your diet, so that you never get sick of eating them.

1. Make Veggie-Based Soups

Soups are an excellent way to consume multiple servings of vegetables at once.
You can make veggies the “base” by pureeing them and adding spices, such as in thistomato soup recipe.
Furthermore, it’s simple to cook veggies into broth- or cream-based soups.
Adding even a small amount of extra veggies, such as broccoli, to soups is a great way to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
For example, this recipe for broccoli veggie soup contains 1/2 cup (78 grams) of broccoli per serving, which provides a significant amount of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate (1).
Here are a few other veggie-based soup recipes for you to try:

2. Try Zucchini Lasagna

Another creative way to eat more veggies is by making zucchini lasagna.
Traditional lasagna is a pasta-based dish made by layering lasagna noodles with sauce, cheese and meat. It’s tasty, but it’s also typically very high in carbs.
A great way to prepare this delicious dish so that it has a lower carb content and more nutrients is to replace the lasagna noodles with strips of zucchini.
Zucchini is a rich source of B vitamins and vitamin C, in addition to trace minerals and fiber (2).
This recipe for zucchini lasagna is fairly simple to make by combining zucchini with ground beef, cheese and a variety of other veggies.

3. Experiment With Veggie Noodles

Veggie noodles are easy to make, and a great way to get more veggies in your diet. They’re also an excellent low-carb substitute for high-carb foods, such as pasta.
They are made by inserting vegetables into a spiralizer, which processes them into noodle-like shapes.
You can use a spiralizer for almost any type of vegetable. They are commonly used for zucchini, carrots and sweet potatoes.
Once the “noodles” are made, they can be consumed just like pasta and combined with sauces, other vegetables or meat.
Here are some veggie noodle recipes for you to try:

4. Add Veggies to Sauces

Basil Pesto and Spaghetti
Adding extra vegetables to your sauces is a sneaky, unique way to increase your veggie intake.
While you are cooking sauce, such as marinara sauce, simply add some veggies of your choice to the mix, such as chopped onions, carrots, spinach or bell peppers.
You can also puree certain veggies with seasonings and make them into a sauce on their own.
Here are some examples of sauce recipes that incorporate extra veggies:

5. Make a Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower is extremely versatile, and there are many unique ways to include it in your diet.
One strategy is to replace regular, flour-based pizza crust with a cauliflower crust, such as this one, which is made by combining cauliflower with eggsalmond flourand some seasonings.
You can then add your own toppings, such as fresh veggies, tomato sauce and cheese.
Substituting cauliflower crust for flour-based crusts is an excellent way to enjoy the delicious taste of pizza, while reducing your intake of carbs and calories.
A cup (100 grams) of cauliflower contains only 5 grams of carbs and 25 calories, in addition to lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which flour-based crusts lack (3).

6. Blend With Smoothies

Smoothies make for a refreshing breakfast or snack.
Typically, they are made by combining fruit with ice, milk or water in a blender. However, you can also add veggies to smoothies without compromising the flavor.
Fresh, leafy greens are common smoothie additions, such as in this recipe, which combines kale with mango, peaches, ginger and some other flavorings.
Adding spinach and kale to smoothies is an easy way to get more nutrients.
Just 1 cup (30 grams) of spinach contains 181% of your daily needs for vitamin K and 56% for vitamin A. The same serving of kale provides 206% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 134% for vitamin C and 684% for vitamin K (45).
In addition, frozen zucchini, pumpkin, beets and sweet potatoes work well with smoothies, which you can try with the following recipes:

7. Add Veggies to Casseroles

Including extra veggies in casseroles is a unique way to increase your veggie intake.
Casseroles are a dish that combines pieces of meat with chopped vegetables, cheese, potatoes and a grain, such as rice or pasta. As you might expect, traditional casseroles are typically very high in refined carbs and calories.
Luckily, you can reduce calories and carbs in your casseroles by replacing the grains with veggies, such as broccoli, mushrooms, celery or carrots.
This casserole recipe incorporates eggs, coconut milk and spices with broccoli, onions and mushrooms.
These veggies contain a combination of several important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins, trace minerals and antioxidants (678).

8. Cook a Veggie Omelet

Tomato and Asparagus Omelet
Omelets are a great dish to include in your diet if you want to eat more veggies.
They are made by frying beaten eggs with a small amount of butter or oil in a pan, and then folding them around a filling that often includes cheese, meat, vegetables or a combination of the three.
Any type of veggie tastes great in omelets. Spinach, onions and tomatoes are common additions.
You can also add chopped bell peppers to omelets, such as in this recipe, which is a great way to enhance your intake of vitamin C and vitamin A (910).

9. Prepare Savory Oatmeal

Savory oatmeal is a great dish that will incorporate more veggies into your diet.
Oatmeal is typically consumed as a sweet breakfast food, often combined with fresh fruit, raisins or cinnamon.
However, you can also enjoy it as a savory meal by adding eggs, spices and lots of veggies.
This recipe for savory oatmeal includes onions, mushrooms, collard greens and tomatoes, all of which provide a healthy combination of nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium (681112).
Here are a couple other savory oatmeal recipes for you to try:

10. Try a Lettuce Wrap or Veggie Bun

Using lettuce as a wrap or certain veggies as buns in place of tortillas and bread is an easy way to eat more veggies.
Lettuce wraps can be a part of several types of dishes, and are often used to make low-carb sandwiches and bunless burgers.
Additionally, many types of veggies, such as portobello mushroom caps, sliced sweet potatoes and sliced eggplant make excellent buns.
Lettuce wraps and veggie buns are an easy way to reduce your calorie intake, as one lettuce leaf contains only one calorie. Refined bread is much higher in calories (1314).
Furthermore, replacing flour-based products with veggies is a great way to reduce your carb intake, while consuming lots of nutrients.
The following recipes are a great place to start with lettuce wraps and veggie buns:

11. Grill Veggie Kebabs

Veggie kebabs are a great dish to try if you want to increase your veggie intake.
To make them, place chopped vegetables of your choice on a skewer and cook on a grill or barbecue.
Bell peppers, onions and tomatoes work well for kebabs. You can also use mushrooms and zucchini, such as in this recipe.

12. Enjoy a Veggie Burger

Beetroot Veggie Burger
Veggie burgers are a delicious and unique way to increase your veggie intake.
A burger is a sandwich consisting of a ground meat patty, typically made of beef, that is then placed inside of a bun with various toppings.
Burger patties can also be made by combining vegetables with eggs, nuts or nut flours and seasonings. Sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of vitamin A and antioxidants, are also commonly used to make veggie burgers (15).
The following recipes combine sweet potatoes with almond flour, egg and a variety of spices and chopped veggies, such as mushrooms and cauliflower:
You can take these recipes a step further by wrapping your veggie burger in a lettuce wrap, instead of a bun.

13. Add Veggies to Tuna Salad

Adding veggies to tuna salad is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.
In general, tuna salad is made by blending tuna with mayonnaise, but any type of chopped vegetable can be added to increase the flavor and nutrient content.
Onions, carrots, cucumber and spinach are common additions, such as in this recipe.

14. Make Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are an excellent dish to include in your diet if you want to increase your veggie intake.
They are made by stuffing halved bell peppers with cooked meat, beans, rice and seasonings, and then baking them in the oven.
Bell peppers are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A and C (9).
You can increase the nutrition content of stuffed bell peppers by including lots of extra veggies. Onions, spinach or cauliflower work well, such as in this recipe.

15. Add Veggies to Guacamole

It is fairly easy to add veggies to guacamole, and makes for a unique way to increase your veggie intake.
Guacamole is an avocado-based dip made by mashing ripe avocados and sea salt together with lemon or lime juice, garlic and additional seasonings.
A variety of vegetables taste great when incorporated into guacamole. Bell peppers, tomatoes and onions are good options.
This recipe for veggie guacamole includes onion, carrots, zucchini and yellow squash, which provide a combination of fiber, vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C and manganese (2816).
You can also make guacamole with roasted vegetables, such as in this recipe.

16. Blend Veggies With Meatloaf

Meatloaf With Vegetables
Another way to increase your veggie intake is by blending them with meatloaf.
Meatloaf is a dish made with a combination of ground meat and other ingredients, such as eggs, breadcrumbs and tomato sauce. It is then molded into the shape of a loaf, which is where it gets its name.
You can add just about any type of chopped vegetable to meatloaf, including onions, bell peppers, carrots and zucchini, such as in this recipe.
Additionally, you can make “meatloaf” that is completely veggie-based, like this one, which includes chickpeas, carrots, onions and celery.

17. Make Cauliflower Rice

A unique way to increase your veggie intake is by eating cauliflower rice.
It is made by pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor into small granules. You can then use it raw or cooked as a substitute for regular rice.
Cauliflower rice is significantly lower in carbs than regular rice, with only 5 grams of carbs per cup, compared to 45 grams in a cup (158 grams) of rice (317).
Additionally, cauliflower is significantly higher in nutrients than rice. It is particularly high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium (3).
This recipe for cauliflower rice contains step-by-step directions on how to make it, in addition to some ideas for extra ingredients you can add to enhance its flavor.

The Bottom Line

There are many unique ways you can include more vegetables in your diet.
Make “rice” and “buns” with vegetables, or incorporate them into common dishes, such as casseroles and soups.
By making veggies a regular part of your eating habits, you’ll significantly increase your intake of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants.
Eating enough vegetables is also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and may be beneficial for weight control (1819).
At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong eating more veggies.