Probiotics are an essential component to achieving good health. These live microorganisms are the good bacteria responsible for promoting a healthy gastrointestinal tract. They are naturally found in fermented foods, as well as in supplements. Having a good understanding of probiotics, what they are, and how they work can help you continue your journey in wellness.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the live microorganisms found in your body. These good bacteria aid in digestion and in the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. They also play a role in maintaining and restoring the balance of your body’s microflora.
They have two common types. Lactobacillus, the most common type, is found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi. Bifidobacterium, which make up most of the colon’s healthy bacteria, is found in some dairy products, like yogurt and cheese.
The Benefits of Probiotics
Different probiotic strains can have different effects on the body. One strain may promote better gut health, while another strain may help maintain your urogenital health. Probiotics work to maintain and restore the balance of the body’s microflora with the following benefits:
- Healthy digestive system
Probiotics help restore the balance of your body’s gut bacteria. An imbalance may lead to digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, and constipation. Having beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract helps protect you from the development and onset of harmful bacteria and fungi that can lead to these digestive issues.
- Better immunity
These beneficial bacteria can give your immune system a boost. They can also inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria that can cause infections. Probiotics help promote the production of the body’s natural antibodies. Aside from that, they are known to help the growth of the body’s immune cells such T lymphocytes and natural killer cells.
- Weight loss
Probiotics may help you in losing weight. Some strains prevent the absorption of dietary fat in the intestine, while others help you feel fuller for longer.
- Better vaginal health
Like your intestinal tract, your urogenital system is also home to many species of microorganisms. To maintain a healthy vagina, this microbiome needs to be balanced. However, your vagina’s microbiome can be thrown off balance due to factors such as antibiotic intake and spermicide use. When this happens, it can lead to issues such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections. Taking probiotics for BV may help address its symptoms.
Probiotics and Prebiotics: Different but Intertwined
Like you, your body’s good bacteria need to eat.
If you’re taking probiotics, then you need to take prebiotics too. Prebiotics are substances that the body can’t digest. They serve as food for probiotic bacteria and other beneficial microorganisms that live in your body. What you feed your body’s microbiome with will have a great effect on its health. The healthier your body’s microbiome is, the healthier you will be.
You can take charge of your health, and begin by introducing probiotic-rich foods in your diet for your gut’s health.