Probiotics have been hailed as the new superfood in recent years. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide various health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. The idea of consuming live bacteria and yeasts may seem counter-intuitive, but probiotics have been found to be extremely beneficial to health in different ways.
Probiotics are found naturally in the digestive tract of healthy humans and animals. They are also found in certain foods and supplements. The most common probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Probiotics work by restoring the natural balance of gut bacteria, which can be disrupted by certain medications, infections, and other factors. In this blog post, we will explore some of the amazing health benefits of taking probiotics daily.
1. Improves digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.
One of the main functions of probiotics is to improve digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. They can help break down complex carbohydrates, such as fiber and resistant starch, that are not digestible by your body. These carbohydrates act as prebiotics, which are food for the probiotics and other beneficial microbes in your gut. By enhancing the growth and activity of these microbes, probiotics can improve the health and diversity of your gut microbiome, which is linked to overall health and well-being.
2. Prevents and treats diarrhea.
Another benefit of probiotics is their ability to prevent and treat diarrhea, especially antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Antibiotics can disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, leading to diarrhea and other digestive issues. Probiotics can help restore this balance and reduce the risk and severity of diarrhea. Some strains of probiotics, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei, and Saccharomyces boulardii, have been shown to be effective in reducing the duration and frequency of diarrhea caused by various factors, such as antibiotics, infections, or travel.
3. Boosts immunity and decreases inflammation.
Probiotics can also boost your immunity and decrease inflammation in your body. They can modulate your immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies, enhancing the activity of natural killer cells, and regulating the inflammatory response. Probiotics can also protect you from harmful pathogens by competing for space and nutrients, producing antimicrobial substances, and strengthening the intestinal barrier. By supporting your immune system and reducing inflammation, probiotics can help prevent or treat various conditions, such as allergies, eczema, respiratory infections, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
4. Improves mental health.
Probiotics may also have a positive impact on your mental health. There is growing evidence that the gut-brain axis, which is the communication between your gut and your brain, plays a role in mood and behavior. The gut microbiome can influence the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in regulating emotions, cognition, and memory. Probiotics can alter the composition and function of the gut microbiome, which may affect the gut-brain axis and improve mental health. Some studies have found that probiotics can improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and cognitive function in humans.
5. Promotes healthy heart.
Probiotics can also promote a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Probiotics can help lower blood pressure by producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which can improve vascular function and reduce oxidative stress. Probiotics can also help lower cholesterol levels by breaking down bile salts in the intestine, which prevents their reabsorption into the bloodstream. By lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, probiotics can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attack.
6. Supports weight management.
Probiotics may also support weight management by influencing your appetite, metabolism, and energy expenditure. Probiotics can affect your appetite by modulating the levels of hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, such as ghrelin and leptin. Probiotics can also affect your metabolism by altering the absorption of calories and nutrients from food, increasing the production of SCFAs that can increase fat burning, and influencing the expression of genes related to obesity and diabetes. Probiotics may also affect your energy expenditure by increasing thermogenesis (heat production) in brown adipose tissue (BAT), which is a type of fat that burns calories.
7. Improves vaginal health.
Probiotics can also improve vaginal health by maintaining a healthy vaginal microbiome. The vaginal microbiome is dominated by lactobacilli bacteria that produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which create an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of harmful pathogens. However, factors such as antibiotics, hormonal changes, sexual activity, or hygiene products can disrupt the balance of vaginal bacteria and cause infections or inflammation. Probiotics can help restore this balance by replenishing lactobacilli bacteria and preventing or treating conditions such as bacterial vaginosis (BV), yeast infections (candidiasis), urinary tract infections (UTIs), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
How can you get probiotic from your diet? The best sources of probiotic are fermented or cultured foods that contain live microorganisms. Some examples are yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kombucha, and pickles. You can also take probiotic supplements that contain specific strains of bacteria or yeast that have been shown to have health benefits. However, not all probiotic supplements are created equal. You should look for products that have a high number of colony-forming units (CFUs), a variety of strains, an expiration date, and a third-party certification.
Probiotic are beneficial for your health in many ways. They can help balance your gut bacteria, prevent and treat diarrhea, improve your mental health, improves vaginal health, and more. You can get probiotic from fermented foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms. By adding probiotic to your diet, you can support your overall well-being and enjoy a healthier life.