Probiotics do WAY more than just help with digestive issues. Keep reading to discover the complete health benefits of taking probiotics as well as some great food and supplement sources.
As crazy as it might sound, our bodies are really just well functioning communities of cells and microorganisms. In fact, microorganisms outnumber human cells by 10 to 1! There are tons of tiny organisms living in our bodies at all times, and these organisms carry out certain functions to keep us healthy and thriving.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms, usually bacteria or yeast, that live in our intestines and help us digest food.
They are found naturally in our bodies, but they can be ingested from food and supplements to be integrated into our biological ecosystems. We may do this for various health reasons.
Why are They Good for You?
Probiotics aid digestion and prevent unpleasant things like constipation, diarrhea, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. They can also help you process foods that are normally difficult for your body to digest. This can be true for mild cases of lactose intolerance, for example.
Probiotics also keep your immune system healthy. This means that taking daily probiotic supplements or eating foods with probiotics can keep colds and flus away!
The health benefits of probiotics can particularly reflect on your skin. If you have acne, ingesting probiotics can help your body balance the bad bacteria in your system, leading to fewer pimples and blemishes.
Taking probiotic supplements is an especially good idea if you’ve been on antibiotics. The antibiotics kill your gut bacteria, and probiotics can help you repopulate the good bacteria strains in your body.
In addition, studies have shown that taking probiotics can minimize depression and prevent it from recurring. That means that these awesome bacteria are working hard to keep your body and mind happy!
Types of Probiotics:
Some of the common and most effective probiotic strains used include:
L. Acidophilus – helps with digestion
L. Plantarum – boosts immunity
B. Infantis – relieves bloating
B. Longum – detoxes the body
Sources of Probiotics
The market is flooded with probiotic supplements, so you should have a wide variety to choose from at any given store. These are typically found in capsule form on supplement shelves, but they can also be purchased live at some health food stores. Some probiotic supplements even have billions of bacteria with multiple strains.
There are plenty of food sources of beneficial probiotics as well. Most foods with probiotics are the fermented kind, which means they take more time to prepare and cultivate the good bacteria.
Here is a list of where you can get your daily dose of probiotics:
Taking Care of Probiotics with Prebiotics
Your probiotics can be nurtured with sustaining fibers called prebiotics. These feed the probiotics and keep them healthy and active in the gut, and they can be found in a variety of healthy foods including:
- Dandelion Greens
- Chicory Root
Things to Avoid
In addition to feeding your probiotics with prebiotics, it’s important not to kill your friendly bacteria! The top probiotic killers to avoid include:
- Refined sugars
Key Points to Remember:
- Probiotics naturally live in your body, but you can eat certain foods and take supplements to boost your supply.
- These friendly bacteria boost your immune system, aid digestion, improve skin health, and even ward off depression.
- Great food sources of probiotics include yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, brewer’s yeast, and kombucha.
- Probiotics should be nurtured with prebiotics, fibers found in foods like bananas, apples, and oats.
- Avoid killing your probiotics by reducing stress and cutting back on refined sugars.
- Only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary as they can obliterate your healthy gut bacteria.
Note: Please consult with your doctor before trying probiotic supplements if you have any health conditions or doubts about the safety of ingesting these microorganisms.
What are your favorite sources of probiotics? Share with us in the comments below!