Health Made Simple

Probiotics: The Healthy Bacteria You Need In Your Diet

You get the energy and protection you need from the food you eat. But you must thank healthy gut bacteria like probiotics for making it all possible.

Everyone deserves that satisfying feeling after a long busy day. As a reward, you may even treat yourself to a delicious feast. But suddenly feeling bloated and constipated is enough to dampen the rest of your night.

Many factors like hormones and stress can cause digestive issues. But if these happen too frequently, you may also want to check in with your gut.

Your intestine is composed of gut bacteria that act like your stomach's natural barriers against infection. Gut bacteria include both good and bad bacteria, where friendly microbes, like probiotics, help maintain your gastrointestinal (GI) health. That is why when probiotics are compromised and outnumbered by bad bacteria, you may experience digestive problems.

But the health benefits of these probiotics don't end in your stomach. These healthy living microorganisms play many roles in your overall health, here are just some of them.

The health benefits of probiotics

Controls bad bacteria

The primary responsibility of probiotics is to keep your health and immunity stable. Whenever harmful bacteria enter your body, probiotics prevent them from multiplying further. Probiotics essentially support your immune system and restore balance in your body so you can avoid sickness and feel better.

Prevents unwanted GI tract issues

If you're prone to constipation, bloating, and gas, it's time to take probiotics. Taking care of healthy bacteria in your stomach can help reduce these symptoms. You may even rely on probiotics for diarrhea. Studies have also shown that probiotics are effective in managing acute infectious diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

Antibiotics can be unpleasant for your GI tract as they eliminate both good and bad bacteria. But some experts believe that probiotics can help minimize the negative effects. A study has shown that taking probiotics has reduced the instances of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 52%.

Creates vitamins for you

Probiotics are vital to your stomach's digestive process. They break down harmful bacteria as well as other microorganisms. And by doing so, they can extract and provide you with beneficial vitamins such as Vitamin K and folate. These vitamins will promote healthier blood circulation and bone metabolism for you.

Probiotics also produce short-chain fatty acids that help reduce inflammation in your intestines, reducing the risk of leaky gut and other gastrointestinal diseases.

Prebiotic vs Probiotic: What's the difference?

Though your body naturally has probiotics, it's still important to ensure they're strong enough to fight bad bacteria. And the key to healthy probiotics is to get enough prebiotics.

Many people may be confused about the difference between probiotics and prebiotics. But here's the bottom line: probiotics are the living microorganisms in your gut. And prebiotics are carbohydrates that act as a food source or metabolic fuel for these healthy bacteria.

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are great natural sources of prebiotic fiber. Consuming these food items regularly will certainly help in maintaining good bacteria.

How to eat more probiotics & prebiotics

If you want more prebiotics in your diet, you'd like to look at fiber-rich food choices. The easiest way to find these are in pantry-staple fruits like apples and bananas. Herbs, like garlic, and vegetables such as onions and asparagus are welcome additions to your meal if you want more prebiotics. For cereal, whole grain food like whole oats and barley rich in beta-glucan fiber would also be great alternatives for breakfast.

Because probiotic bacteria already exist in your body, you don't need to consume more of them. However, eating more probiotics may be beneficial as it increases the number of good microbes in your body. You may already be eating food containing probiotics in your regular diet. These are usually fermented food items like yogurt, pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread.

If you'd like, you may also complement your meals with fermented drinks such as kefir and kombucha. You can consume more probiotics out of your meals by simply adding or substituting certain ingredients with yogurt. You may add yogurt in egg and potato salads or as an alternative salad dressing for leafy greens.

When to take probiotic supplements

You can't deny the positive role of probiotics in your health. From supporting your immune system to producing vitamins that you need, these good bacteria work hard to keep you from harm's way. However, if you're planning to take dietary supplements for probiotics, please do so with caution.

There is considerable ongoing research on how certain probiotic strains can treat and help specific conditions. And while you wait for definitive answers, you may trust the advice of your healthcare providers. Some experts may advise patients undergoing antibiotic treatments to consume probiotics to minimize diarrhea symptoms.

Still, individuals with a weakened immune system due to a critical illness or who have recently had surgery must remain cautious. Taking probiotics under these circumstances may increase the risk of infection.

Essentially, you can get a good amount of prebiotics and probiotics from the food you eat regularly. But if you find that you're short on available fruits and vegetables, probiotic and prebiotic supplements can help. Here's one suggestion from MyPharma.

Numax Probiotics

Containing Beta-glucan, this probiotic supplement offers a formulation that helps and supports gut health and immunity. Each 1500mg sachet may help prevent diarrhea and reduce symptoms of certain digestive disorders.

There are many ways your body protects itself from sickness, and one that's especially vital is probiotics. By keeping a well-balanced diet of fiber, protein, and vitamins, you'll ensure the health of good gut bacteria in your body. If you give your meals the proper attention, rest assured that it’ll lead to smoother digestion. — (MyPharma)

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