A Detailed Look at Probiotics
Most people spend a lot of time trying to get rid of the bacteria in their bodies, but what if I told you not all bacteria is bad for you? In fact, your body relies on millions of healthy, helpful bacteria to keep you safe and healthy every day. And by giving your body beneficial probiotics, you can improve the population of helpful bacteria inside your body that are necessary for your continued health. Today we’re going to take a detailed look at Probiotics.
Eating foods rich in probiotics can not only prevent illness but also treat some disorders and imbalances. Learning which foods are high in probiotics, as well as the benefits these organisms offer to your body, will help you feel better and stay healthier over time.
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A Detailed Look at Probiotics
You have bacteria, yeast, and other microbes all over your body, both inside and out. Luckily, many of those organisms are helpful bacteria that perform vital functions for your cells, tissues, organs, and body systems.
Probiotics and the beneficial bacteria they support can help:
1. Boost your immune system, allowing you to heal faster from sickness and injury.
2. Prevent infection by stopping hostile bacteria from taking over.
3. Improve your digestion, which allows you to better absorb nutrients from the foods you eat.
The majority of helpful bacteria in your body live in your gut, keeping your digestive microflora healthy not only aids your digestion but also ensures your immune system is working properly. These two systems are directly linked.
When you throw off the balance of good versus bad bacteria in your gut, such as when you are sick or when you are taking antibiotics, you need to help your body replenish the friendly bacteria in your system. Eating probiotics can restore this balance, which creates a barrier against harmful microbes.
Probiotics and Antibiotics
When you take antibiotics to treat an infection, you not only eliminate the bad bacteria that are making you sick but also the healthy, beneficial bacteria that can make you well. When you take probiotics during and after using antibiotics, you are helping to restore the natural gut microflora that your body needs quickly. This also can help increase the effectiveness of antibiotics, which can help you feel better faster and require fewer and smaller doses of antibiotics in the future.
Foods that are cultured or fermented are good sources of probiotics, as bacteria are what create their flavor and texture. Examples of foods that are high in probiotics include cultured yogurt, miso, tempeh, kefir, buttermilk, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and nattō. While some of these foods have bacteria which grow naturally, some include bacteria that are adding during the preparation process.
These foods and beverages contain one or more of the following strains of probiotics, so let’s take a look at what benefits these different strains can give you and your health:
This is the most commonly used probiotic. This lives in the mouth, intestines, vagina, and urinary system. This probiotic adheres to the walls of the intestines promoting immunity and aiding in digestion. It also adheres to the walls of the mouth, vagina, and urinary system where it helps to fight infections, such as candida (yeast). This probiotic also helps to synthesize vitamin K and other antimicrobial substances which gives it antibiotic properties.
This is the probiotic that you’d want to take if you have diarrhea caused by antibiotics. It has anti-inflammatory effects in the gastrointestinal tract and produces lactic acid that lowers your pH in your belly and hinders the growth of harmful bacteria….including Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff). This probiotic lives in your mouth.
This probiotic lives mostly in the large intestine and vagina. It adheres to the walls and prevents harmful bacteria from colonizing. It also produces substances that change your pH so the harmful bacteria can not grow or thrive. It also enhances the assimilation (absorption) of minerals.
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus is one of the probiotics that is used to create yogurt. This probiotic adheres to the walls of the intestines and is beneficial in aiding with antibiotic-associated diarrhea, C. Diff, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and many others.
Found in the digestive tract, urinary tract, and reproductive tract, this probiotic can aid in promoting healthy flora to stave off a number of bacterial and fungus infections, including yeast infections and IBS. It also enhances immunity and aids with digestion.
This is a probiotic that is yeast resistant to antibiotics and stomach acids. Effective against acute diarrhea, antibiotic-associated and travelers diarrhea, and promotes digestive and immune health. This probiotic lives in the intestines.
L. Plantarum helps with antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and reduces symptoms of IBS such as pain, bloating, and constipation.
Probably one of the most versatile of the probiotics, B. Lactis can fight lactose intolerance and boost the immune system. It may even be helpful with lowering cholesterol levels, fight the effects of celiac disease, and ease ulcerative colitis symptoms. Found in the intestinal tract, this probiotic is great for your overall bowel health.
E. Faecium has long been recognized for its probiotic benefits and is widely used around the world. One of the major benefits of it is that it is uniquely suited to survive the digestive process and thrive in the gut. It promotes a balanced intestinal flora by competing for resources that harmful organisms would otherwise consume and use to grow. It also competes with harmful organisms for adhesion sites which are areas on the surface of cells to which other cells and molecules can bind. E. Faecium is commonly found in human probiotic supplements.
S. Thermophilus is widely used in commercial food industries. This is a starter strain that is used in making yogurt and cheeses. It can aid in preventing lactose intolerance by fermenting milk sugars (lactose) that turn into lactic acid and also lowers the pH of yogurt to prevent harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning. This probiotic balances the microflora of the intestines and may even benefit chemotherapy patients.
These are the most significant and important probiotics found in the human body, and the first microbes to colonize in the sterile GI tract of a newborn baby, it is also found in breast milk. It overwhelms bad bacteria that cause discomfort and neutralizes toxins in the belly. It helps production and absorption of B vitamins, blocks harmful intruders, maintains regularity and stimulates and boosts the immune system. It even helps break down carbohydrates without causing excess gas.
Has been shown to lower pH levels in the intestine and vagina to fight off harmful bacteria that cause infection and fungi.
*Any food that claims to have probiotics should contain at least one of the strains listed here. This is also true for probiotic supplements, so always read the label if you are in doubt.
Supporting a Probiotic Environment
In addition to eating foods that contain probiotics, you can create an environment that is supportive of the healthy bacteria in your body. You can start by altering the pH of your digestive system by eating more sour foods. Fermented vegetables and vinegar contain small amounts of probiotic, but their acid content is the most powerful part of their benefits. They contribute to a gut environment that allows probiotics to flourish.
You can also be sure the bacteria in your system have plenty of fuel by feeding them a high-fiber diet. The fermentable fiber in fresh vegetables, fruits, flax and chia seeds are perfect for giving probiotics the food they need to maintain your healthy bacteria levels. If you don’t consume enough of these types of foods, then you can always add a Prebiotic supplement with your Probiotic, which is the “food” that your Probiotic needs to thrive.
Probiotics in your Food!
Probiotics are basically live or active cultures, meaning that they are live bacteria. Here is a list of some of the foods you can find your probiotics in:
Aged cheeses such as Cheddar, Gouda, and Mozzarella
Buttermilk that is not cultured
Kefir which is a probiotic milk beverage
Sour Dill Pickles
Kombucha, which is fermented tea
Natto, which is made from fermented soybeans
Tempeh, a meat substitute
Here’s the Deal….
Adding food to your diet that contains Probiotics is an easy way to boost your health and add many benefits as well. There are a few ways to accomplish this especially if you don’t like the foods that contain what you need. Most Probiotics come in capsule form and readily available in any drug store or grocery store, but I do advise that you research what benefits you need from the probiotics so you can get the optimal benefit from them.
As always, please speak to your Physician before starting any supplement because too much of a good thing can still be bad for you!
I hope you got some great information from my post about Probiotics! Do you take Probiotics? What benefits have you noticed since you started? Light up that comment box!
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