12 Surprising Facts and Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics have become one of the biggest trends in the health care world. This trend, however, compared to certain others circulating on the internet, is one that is actually quite beneficial and good for your body. Probiotics are found in a wide array of the foods many of us consume. Some of the most popular places to find them are in protein bars and yogurts. Probiotics can also be taken in supplement form. The key with probiotics, like any other substance, is to get the right ones and in the right amounts. In this blog, we will discuss a few surprising facts and benefits of probiotics in hopes of helping you learn more about them and of course, decide whether this trend is one you may want to follow to increase not only your health but your overall feeling of well-being.
What Are Probiotics
Before discussing any of the facts or benefits of probiotics, it is important to know exactly what they are. Most define probiotics as living organisms, that when taken into the body in the correct amounts can promote a healthy lifestyle that goes far beyond the realm of normal good nutrition. Probiotics have been linked to not only immune system health but of the maintaining of gut microbiota in the body which is directly linked to a healthy digestive system, and in honesty, the health of the entire body.
You may be asking yourself why these living organisms are needed inside your gut to keep you healthy. The answer is that there are all kinds of organisms living in your gut that are there to maintain the balance inside your stomach and keep digestion going as it should. Foods and supplements that are high in probiotics promote this balance, giving the body, and most especially the digestive system the healthy feeling most of us are looking for.
Now that you’ve learned what the definition of probiotics is, let’s start this blog off by looking at a few facts about them. This will give you a better understanding of probiotics and their function inside your body.
First Things First
One of the most important facts about probiotics is making their home more hospitable will make the benefits more noticeable. What does that mean? Probiotics, both natural and in supplement form, are in your body to nourish the good things inside your gut. If you eat foods that are high in sugar or not all that good for you, they will nourish the bad things you are taking into your body instead. To really boost your body’s health and experience the benefits of these probiotics, giving them a nice home is key. The easiest way of doing this is to avoid sugary drinks and foods, and of course, processed foods that can be harmful to your overall health. Once you start doing that, natural probiotics in foods and in supplements, if that is what you choose, can kick in and do the job they were actually intended to do all along.
Learn the Best Sources
Yes, taking supplements is a great way of adding probiotics to your body, but keep in mind these microorganisms are naturally present in a lot of foods that can make this addition even easier. If you are serious about taking charge of your gut health and adding more probiotics to your body, learning which food sources are best is a great tool to use.
Yes, yogurt is known for being high in probiotics, which is great for digestion. The thing is, like with many of the foods found on the market, it’s hard to tell which yogurt brands are made the way they should be and contain the probiotics you need. This is where a bit of research comes in. A person can’t simply add just any type of yogurt to their daily routine and think they are doing their part in the addition of probiotics to their body. If the brand you are consuming isn’t verified for its probiotic content, they won’t do you much good. Learn about the foods you plan on consuming. This is a great way to ensure everything you take into your body is healthy and will keep you on the right track to overall well-being.
Foods at Home
One of the most popular ways of getting the probiotics you need is by making your own foods at home that are high in these needed microorganisms. It may sound like a lot more work but in the overall scheme of things, anything you do at home may be better health wise. Homemade kefir and fermented vegetables are done inside the home are two of the most popular foods people use to get their needed dose of probiotics. If making these yourself sounds appealing, you’ll find several online resources dedicated to teaching you the methods and making your life easier.
Some Bacteria Aren’t Long Lasting
L-acidophilus is more commonly known as the most easily found probiotic in our dairy products. Unfortunately, however, this particular probiotic isn’t very long lasting. In most cases, it only dwells in a person’s system for a few hours. Luckily, there are other forms of probiotics that can be added to your body, this is where many supplements come into play, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, that have the ability to linger in a person’s system for longer. This particular probiotic can stay in your body for up to eight days, giving you and your digestive and immune systems the boost they need to stay healthy.
Great for Mental Health
When talking about something that can boost your digestive and immune systems as much as probiotics can, most people wouldn’t consider mental health benefits as an addition. When it comes to probiotics that aren’t the case. An unbalanced microbiome affects more than just your gut. It can potentially affect your immunity, your mood, and even brain function thanks in part to what is known as the gut-brain axis. This axis is what connects your brain to your gut inside the human body. This means whatever is happening inside your digestive system can have a direct effect on your brain. Issues with your brain can also affect your gut. Have you ever had something on your mind that completely changes your mood, and makes you a bit sick to your stomach? This is a prime example of the connection between these two important parts of your body. By eating foods high in probiotics or adding supplements to your daily routine you’ll not only be promoting digestive health but mental health as well.
Antibiotics vs Probiotics
People get sick. This is a common thing, which sometimes requires an antibiotic to fight the infection. When it comes to these antibiotics, they aren’t selective about the things they fight inside your body. When taking a prescribed course of antibiotics, they will attack both the good and bad things inside your gut, including probiotics. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still add probiotics to your system while on medication. If you want to continue reaping in the benefits of a probiotic supplement or your favorite foods packed with these microorganisms, simply take them a few hours apart from your antibiotics. This will still allow you to get the benefits without the worry of the antibiotics blocking all your healthy advances.
Probiotic supplements can provide the much-needed dose of probiotics the body needs to stay on the healthy track. Unfortunately, just like with the yogurt and other foods we discussed above, not all supplements are made the same. You will find several different brands and potency levels by simply walking into your local fitness store. This is where supplement research comes into play. Not only do you want to choose a brand you feel you can trust, but you also want to take a supplement that gives your body the health benefits you strive for. Investigate any substance you decide to take into your body so you know both the good and the bad that come from it.
Above, while discussing the facts about probiotics we talked about a few of the benefits a person can get from adding these microorganisms to their body. In this section, we will look a bit deeper into those benefits while also telling you about a few we haven’t mentioned yet.
Two of the things we mentioned above were the benefits probiotics can provide your digestive tract and the fact that several of the probiotics in your system can be fought by taking antibiotics. Due to antibiotics fight against the bacteria in your stomach, often they can cause a person to experience diarrhea when taking them. This is quite common and not really a cause for concern but can be fought against. Continuing your probiotics during this time can help fight this issue, often eliminating diarrhea all together while you are on your medication. That isn’t where they stop though. Probiotics can also fight diarrhea that isn’t associated with taking antibiotics. Infectious diarrhea has been known to be less intensive and leave the body sooner thanks in part to probiotics.
Good for the Heart
One benefit of probiotics that many seem to forget about is their aid in heart health. With the incredible benefits probiotics give to your gut, they also help break down the bile in your system. This bile is mostly made up of cholesterol. By aiding in digesting this bile, it is kept out of the body and cholesterol is therefore lowered. It is also common for those who ingest good amounts of probiotics to lower their blood pressure. This along with the reduction of cholesterol are great for the heart and a body’s health.
When discussing something that is great for the health of your gut, you may not take the benefits to your skin into consideration. Probiotics have been noted as being able to help infants struggling with eczema on their skin. It has also been suggested that mothers who ingest the appropriate amounts of probiotics during pregnancy may be helping their little ones develop a slight immunity or stronger way of fighting this skin issue.
Immune System Boost
We have talked quite a bit about what probiotics can do for the digestive system, but what about the immune system? Research has shown that some probiotics have the ability to boost a body’s natural antibodies. In doing this, it also boosts the immune system. This allows a body to fight off issues much easier and stand up to infections that may want to step in and make you sick.
Probiotics and Weight Loss
Everyone wants a great way to help them lose weight. The market is saturated with quick schemes and techniques that promise the moon to those hoping to shed pounds. Probiotics don’t do that. They are used to make a body healthier and promote a healthy gut. While doing their job, certain ones, prevent the absorption of fat into the intestine. The fat is then flushed from the body with proper digestion. This may not be a drop the pounds quick scheme, but anything that helps eliminate fat from the body is a great way of losing weight, especially around the gut area.
Living with digestive disorders can be uncomfortable and often painful. Research is now being done on whether proper probiotics can aid in the reduction of symptoms of certain bowel disorders. By helping maintain proper digestion and a healthy gut this could very well be possible. If you are prone to digestive disorders it may be a great idea to keep an eye on current research and consider adding probiotics to your daily routine.
There you have 12 surprising facts and benefits of probiotics. Whether you have digestive issues, or simply want to keep your digestive and immune systems in the best shape possible, the addition of probiotics can be quite beneficial. As with anything, speak to your doctor for more information before deciding if you want to seek out probiotic supplements or the foods they occur naturally in for a healthier body.
- Activia: What are Probiotics?
- Healthline: 8 Health Benefits of Probiotics
- Dr. Mercola: A Guide to Probiotics