Hey Angels & Alphas!
What if I told you that you’re not the only living thing that has made your body its home?
Did you know what, deep inside you, are residing more than 100 trillion bacteria cells that either want you to help you or harm you? (They amount to about 5lbs of cells).
The bacteria that are truly beneficial to us and our health, who just happen to live inside us, are called probiotics (meaning pro-life).
In this article, you’re about to get acquainted with them.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
What are probiotics?
The latest research on probiotics has concluded that they’re essentially living microorganisms that reside deep within your gut.
The term Probiotic may (or may not) be new to you, but these living organisms have been with you ever since your birth!
Probiotics benefit you in a multitude of ways, all of which can be separated into three categories:
- Aiding digestive processes.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Improving mental health.
According to the National Health Interview Survey, 4 million U.S adults used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days. For most people, probiotic/prebiotic supplements are the 3rd most common supplement used behind vitamins and minerals.
The use of probiotics has quadrupled between 2007-2012 because of their obvious health benefits.
How do Probiotics work?
There are many different kinds of probiotics, and each of them has a particular function in your body. The primary areas in which probiotics benefit you are in the functioning of the gut and digestive tract, the proper performance of the immune system (and getting rid of unwanted guests), as well as improving mental health and aiding weight loss.
Gut health is paramount to your overall well-being. Probiotics are constantly at work in your gut – destroying things that can harm the digestive tract, which includes harmful bacteria, chemicals, toxins, and other types of waste.
Just like there are good bacteria in your gut, there are also bad bacteria.
If there’s an imbalance in your gut, this essentially means too many harmful bacteria and not enough good bacteria. Consequences can include digestive issues, allergies, and mental health problems.
When you take probiotics, you’re helping your body balance out the good and the bad. You’re helping your body restore the natural balance in your gut. As a result of this come all the health benefits which we’ll talk about a bit later.
About 75% of your immune system is in the gut, and since this is the home of probiotics, it makes sense why boosting the immune system would be one of its many benefits.
Although they do an excellent job of keeping the bad bacteria at bay, this is not a job that should be left up to probiotics. What you eat determines how efficient these little organisms are in doing their job. So being conscious of this fact will help them do what they need to do to get your system running efficiently. Of course, this is easier said than done.
With so many people being exposed to toxic food in their lifestyle, they’re producing an environment in which probiotics cannot thrive.
How do we benefit from probiotics?
Since probiotics are live microorganisms, we can consume them through fermented foods or supplements.
A variety of probiotic cultures can be found in fermented dairy products, pickled vegetables, tempeh, and more. We’ll take a look at the best sources of probiotics a little later.
Probiotic supplements can be found as tablets, powders, capsules, and other products that contain these healthy bacteria in a dried form. However, some of them get instantly
ruined by stomach acid before you can even utilize their benefit. That’s why it’s important that you consume only adequate amounts of certain probiotic bacteria that you know will help you.
(Most studies that showed tremendous benefits suggested dosages from 1 to 100 billion live microorganisms.)
What are the benefits of probiotics?
The benefits of probiotics are so many, we can’t possibly look at each individual one. They include, but are not limited to:
- Fighting off foodborne illnesses
- Preventing and treats kidney stones
- Reducing the overuse of antibiotics
- Healing inflammation in bowels
- Promoting oral health
- Boosting the immune system
- Lowering cholesterol
- Reducing colds and cases of flu
Are there any side effects of Probiotics?
Just like everything else, there are pros and cons. For most adults, side-effects are limited to a little initial nausea.
But people who have serious health conditions shouldn’t look to probiotics as the main answer. In certain situations, probiotics can do more harm than good.
Other types of people who should approach probiotic use with caution include children, pregnant women, elderly people, and people who have immune system difficulties.
In certain cases (specifically weak immune systems), probiotics can actually increase the chances of getting sick.
That’s why you should always talk to your doctor/physician if you fit into any of these categories before taking any probiotics.
Where do we find Probiotics?
Since the area of probiotics is growing in popularity, people are always looking for new and different ways to get more of these good bacteria in your system. Many supplements are becoming readily available for people wanting to consume more probiotics, but the best source will always be natural sources.
Below is a list of the top probiotics foods that are sure to help you build up the number of good bacteria in your gut.
Top Probiotic Foods
Yogurt – Yogurt is the most mainstream and popular source of probiotics. There’s evidence that suggests that the animal providing this must be grass-fed.
Whether or not that’s true, this is still a great source to get probiotics.
Buttermilk – This nutrient dense food is also a great dairy product to get your probiotics from. Due to its lacto-fermented nature, even people who are lactose intolerant can enjoy buttermilk’s benefits.
It is not recommended to cook with buttermilk since the heat will destroy the friendly bacteria that live in it.
Kefir – This fermented milk beverage is made by fermenting milk with kefir grains. It has been used for generations and referred to as “an almost ideal probiotic”.
Kefir is also beneficial for people with sleeping disorders and ADHD due to its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system.
Pickles – Pickles also are wonderful for your digestive system. The bacteria the resides on the pickle has been shown to be effective at improving the body’s gut health.
Fun fact: Due to its probiotic nature, many pregnant women have been known to crave pickles!
There are many different probiotic supplements out there. But how do you know which one to pick?
Due to the fact that probiotics aren’t regulated, one must have a systematic approach to determine what to take and what to ignore.
Doctors and health practitioners usually point to the fact that it’s not the total number of bacteria in a product that’s important. Rather, it’s the number of different strains of bacteria included in the supplement.
So, in short, the more strains, the better. Doctors and experts also suggest that the supplements you decide to purchase have these strains:
Probiotics benefit your overall health in a powerful way that can’t be ignored.
These little bacteria silent work day-in and day-out in your gut to maintain your health and vitality. The best way to aid them in this endeavor is to remain conscious of their presence and neglect to engage in behaviors that may bring them harm.
There’s a war going inside you. It’s up to you and your choices which side will win!