Including probiotics in your daily routine is definitely a step worth taking because their benefits stretch from boosting your immune function to decreasing disease risk.
The immune function of our bodies is supported by bacterial cells nested in the gut, called “good bacteria” and probiotics are known to help increase this type of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics can be found in a variety of foods as well as in the form of supplements.
What are probiotics?
A fact most of us are unfamiliar with is that the number of gut bacteria molecules our bodies posses is the same with the number of cells in the rest of the body, which once again brings to attention just how important our gut’s health is. Moreover, probiotics are considered to be live bacteria located in the digestive tract and their two main functions are to help the body fight off infections and support nutrient absorption.
Other functions of these good gut bacteria are:
– Crowding out bad microbes
– Producing enzymes that help get rid of bad bacteria
– Stimulating secretion of T cells and IgA
– Producing vitamin K2 and B12, and butyrate
Compared to people in the past, nowadays, our diets lack plenty of probiotics that people used to get from fermented and fresh foods. Factors like agricultural practices and refrigeration have contributed to stripping foods off the probiotics they naturally contain, and such factors also led to some foods being rich in antibiotics erase the good bacteria from bodies.
Health benefits probiotics bring
- Decrease inflammation and boost immunity
A great number of researches regarding both probiotics and prebiotics (symbiotics) have been conducted. A study conducted in 2015 suggests that probiotics, when used as a supplementary therapy, have the potential to prevent the occurrence of a wide spectrum of immunity-related diseases, owing to their amazing anti-inflammatory effect.
Almost 80 percent of the immune system lies in the gut and this is very fortunate because the gut is the place where probiotics are active. Other health benefits of probiotics like their immunity-boosting abilities have also been found helpful especially in improving the quality of life of seniors.
- Healthy skin
According to meta-analysis, probiotic supplements are effective in the prevention of infant eczema and pediatric atopic dermatitis. The development of acne has also been linked to gut bacteria, however, it still remains unclear exactly how and further research must be conducted.
Healthy gut bacteria also have a positive effect on both diseased and healthy skin and a strain of probiotics (L. casei) is proven to reduce antigen-specific skin inflammation.
- Food allergy protection
It has been estimated that infants with poor gut bacteria are more prone to developing allergies than those with proper gut bacteria. Probiotics are thought to be effective in reducing food allergies symptoms mostly due to their abilities to regulate immune responses and reducing chronic inflammation.
- Decrease antibiotic resistance
Currently, antibiotic resistance is among the biggest worries of the World Health Organization. Improper use of antibiotics, overuse of prescription antibiotics and the lack of diversity of medication are just some of the many reasons why bacteria started building resistance towards antibiotics.
Poor gut bacteria is often the cause of gut problems and such issues can be resolved by using probiotics to rebuild gut bacteria. Moreover, not only can probiotics help prevent the bacteria become resistant, but they can also help better the effects of antibiotics.
- Digestive health
One of the probiotics’ biggest benefits is promoting good digestive health. Studies conducted by Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia suggest that the type of disease and the probiotic strain are key factors and must be taken into consideration when using a probiotic treatment.
Furthermore, evidence suggests that eating probiotic-rich foods and incorporating probiotic supplements into your diet can help provide protection against inflammatory bowel diseases, several forms of diarrhea and help with constipation relief.
Though there is a large variety of probiotics available on the market, there are two main types (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria) that have undergone the most research and are commonly recommended. However, each probiotic strain ensures benefit to a specific condition and bellow we give you the best probiotic strains:
– Saccharomyces boulardii
– Lactobacillus fermentum
– Lactobacillus gasseri
– Lactobacillus plantarum
– Lactobacillus reuteri
– Bacillus subitillis
– Bacillus clausii
– Lactobacillus sporogens
– Bacillus coagulans
Top probiotic foods
Along with probiotic supplements, you can incorporate foods rich in probiotics as well, to achieve a better effect and improve your gut health. The best way to get a good daily dose of probiotics is to include fermented foods and foods with added probiotics in your diet.
These foods are rich in probiotics and we recommend including them in your daily intake:
– Raw cheese
– Probiotic yogurt