There are trillions of bacteria in your gut. So many, in fact, that we don’t know the exact number of different types of bacteria. Bacteria isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have in your gut. We need both good and bad bacteria to keep our bodies in balance. For your gut to function properly, the two types of bacteria are necessary and must be in balance. This community of tiny organisms, called the gut microbiome, plays a central role in your health. The gut microbiome is involved in many physical processes – like digestion, nutrient absorption and immune response. These populations of bacteria in our guts are highly affected by the foods that we ingest, the environment in which we live and any medications or supplements we are taking.
Probiotics help maintain the vital balance of bacteria types in our digestive tract. The health benefits of probiotics include an increase in nutrient intake, boosting the immune system, weight loss, improving mood, relieving a number of gastrointestinal issues and preventing serious illnesses. Probiotics are microorganisms that positively benefit our intestinal microbial balance. They are living organisms that can significantly benefit their host. Most commonly, they are bacteria that are naturally occurring and are already present in our bodies. The addition of probiotics to supplement your diet can support good bacteria to counteract the negative effects of certain unhealthy dietary choices, along with supporting healthy dietary choices.
Probiotics can help with a large number of chronic health conditions – like preventing Irritable Bowel Syndrome, relieving symptoms of lactose intolerance and constipation, preventing Gastroenteritis and even preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. They have also been shown to help in treating yeast infections and chronic fatigue. The support probiotics can offer your entire body are manifold, including aiding in weight loss, increasing your body’s ability to take in nutrients, strengthening immune systems, and improving overall mood. There have also been studies that suggest that probiotics can assist in preventing cancer.
With all of these benefits, getting probiotics into your diet is very important.
Probiotics can be ingested through:
- Fermented dairy products like yogurt
- Goat’s cheese, kefir, and buttermilk
- Kombucha, a fermented tea
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso and pickles
- Dietary supplements like Garden of Life and Jarrow probiotic formulas
Beneficial bacteria thrive on things like fiber, while harmful bacteria thrive on sugars and alcohols. So consume more fiber-packed foods, such as leafy greens, oatmeal and whole grains to help the good bacteria out!