What are Probiotics? Benefits and Probiotic Foods
What are probiotics? When many people think of probiotics, the first thought that comes to mind is yogurt. The truth is that probiotics are essential to a better immune system as well as a healthy gut. As a matter of fact, there are about 100 trillion good bacteria microbes in the gut already. Foods containing probiotics have various strains of good bacteria that help to colonize and restore the gut of lost microorganisms.
You might be asking yourself, why do I need more good bacteria from probiotics? You can lose friendly bacteria after taking antibiotic drugs as well as after having a bout of food poisoning. Not only do antibiotics kill harmful bacteria, but will also destroy your gut’s healthy bacteria in the process. Many kinds of intestinal disturbances can throw of the balance of these friendly bacteria in your gut.
Do you need probiotics? Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of eating probiotic foods.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help to provide direct benefits to the gut flora in your body. Throughout history, humans have always had more than enough probiotics in the body to maintain optimal gut and immune healthy. Our ancestors received plenty of probiotics through the process of food fermentation. Numerous foods were fermented during early humanity in order to prevent them from spoiling. As humans evolved and technology improved, we began to consume fermented foods less due to the use of refrigerators in modern times.
There are many strains of friendly bacteria that your gut needs to function properly. Here are some of the strongest and most common strains found in supplements as well as fermented foods.
Common Probiotic Strains
Lactobacillus acidophilus is the most used probiotic strain today. This vital strain is naturally produced in the mouth, vagina, urinary tract and intestinal lining. Acidophilus helps to promote gut and immune health as well as maintain vaginal PH levels.
Bifidobacterium longum is the most important probiotic strains in the human body. It is responsible for the immune system’s ability to fight of infections and toxins exposed to use everyday. It also plays a vital role in maintaining balanced vaginal and intestinal PH levels in the body.
Lactobacillus brevis is a naturally occurring bacteria that’s useful at counteracting harmful bacteria in the gut. It also inhibits the growth of e.coli in the intestines and candida albicans in the vagina.
Bifidobacterium bifidum is a good bacteria that resides in the large intestinal and the vaginal walls. It helps to keep bad bacteria at bay and naturally maintains healthy PH levels in both the intestines and the vagina.
Lactobacillus helveticus is shown to boost gut and immune function as well as improve oral health. It can also help to prevent diarrhea and aid in balancing stress and anxiety levels.
Streptococcus thermophilus is one of the most important and powerful probiotics on the market today. It helps to improve gut health as well as prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the body.
What are the benefits of Probiotics?
There are a number of health benefits to taking probiotics on a daily basis. Below is a list of known benefits to eating probiotic foods every day. Below, I have outlined several of the immediate benefits of probiotics.
- Probiotics help to improve the immune system by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut.
- Probiotics help to promote overall intestinal health by balancing the gut’s PH levels.
- You may see an increase in energy with regular probiotic use.
- Probiotics can also help to treat and prevent UITs and yeast infections in women.
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Weight loss and decreased risk for weight gain in the stomach
- You will sleep better and experience less stress
Probiotic Containing Foods
Yogurt is a fermented food that contains “live active cultures” which help to repopulate the gut with friendly bacteria. It contains Acidophilus bacteria along with thermophilus, bifidus longum, bulgaricus and Lactobacillus casei.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink originating from the country Turkey. It contains various types of bacteria including Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus as well as Leuconostoc bacteria. Kefir is great at relieving and preventing symptoms of diarrhea, gas and bloating.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented cabbage and seasoned radishes. It is fermented using probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that help to promote healthy digestion and weight loss.
Kombucha is a lightly sweetened fermented tea made with green tea leaves and Manchurian mushroom. The Chinese beverage helps improves ith immune system, promotes healthy digestion and mental clarity. Kombucha can also help to fight off yeast overgrowth caused by candida albicans.
You can also take a probiotic supplement and receive many of the necessary strains at once. Visit the Recommended Brands page to learn more about the probiotics I personally use.