Probiotics: Health Benefits and Sources

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Probiotics are the live and helpful bacteria that are found in the digestive tract. Unlike bad bacteria, probiotics mostly work to keep the gut healthy. We may artificially derive probiotics from what we eat. There are two types of probiotics: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The former is mostly found in fermented foods and yogurt, whereas the latter is often found in dairy products.

Health Benefits of Probiotics

1. Prevents digestive issues

Probiotics work to create a balance of the gut bacteria in the digestive system. An imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system means that there is too much bad bacteria. Studies have shown that there is a close link between the imbalance of bacteria and digestive problems such as diarrhea.

2. Improves mental health

The imbalance of bacteria significantly contributes to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. A study done on 70 chemical workers revealed that those who consumed 100 grams of yogurt daily showed a close connection between the gut and mental health. That is to say the gut regulates inflammation that causes brain conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

3. Helps replace the good bacteria

The body loses the good bacteria when we consume antibiotics. Taking probiotics will replace any such lost good bacteria.

4. Helps with skin conditions

Certain probiotics alter the severity of skin conditions such as eczema. Also, because probiotics reduce the levels of C-creative protein, users are less exposed to inflammation responses to certain allergies.

5. Boosts the immune system

By inhibiting the excessive growth of bad bacteria, probiotics promote the production of natural antibodies. Also, probiotics are rich in a variety of nutrients such as calories and fibers that strengthen the immune system.

5 healthy sources of probiotics

1. Pickles

Most vegetables can be pickled, although in the U.S., the term always refers to pickled cucumbers. However, not all pickled vegetables are fermented. To enjoy the health benefits of pickles, ensure that the pickled vegetable is fermented.

2. Kombucha

This dark tea mostly common in Asia is rich in probiotics that boost the body’s energy and help in stomach digestion.

3. Natto

Mostly popular among the Japanese, natto is a Japanese dish made of fermented soybeans. It is rich in gut-healing probiotics that work to keep inflammation at bay.

4. Fermented dairy products

Yogurt is the common source of probiotics under this category. It may be Greek yogurt from cows and goats or the live variety. Always read the ingredients in the yogurt to ascertain whether it comes from cow or goat milk.

5. Tempeh

Whether baked, grilled or sauteed, tempeh is a rich source of probiotics. It is made by fermenting a soybean product through a natural culturing process.

Tips on deriving full probiotics benefits

Taking probiotics should not be a reason to skip your daily exercise. Staying active increases the number of beneficial bacteria in your body by up to 40%.

Some probiotics are likely to be destroyed by stomach acid. It is therefore advisable to take probiotics in adequate amounts to derive their full health benefits.

Moreover, avoid using antibiotics and other things that destroy your microbiome.

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