Everything You Need To Know About Probiotics
Probiotics have become a hot trend in the health and nutrition sphere, and for good reason. With health benefits like an improved digestive system and boosting your immune system, we highly recommend incorporating probiotics into your daily nutrition. Below you’ll be able to read a little more on what exactly probiotics are, how they work, and ways that you can easily include them into your diet: your guide to probiotics.
What are Probiotics?
It may sound gross, but probiotics are literally live bacteria (and yeast) that occur naturally in our bodies and in the food we consume on a regular basis. Thankfully, probiotics are the “good” kind of bacteria, and the kind that help improve some of our most basic health functions.
Ultimately, probiotics are broken into two categories: lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. The most basic of the two are lactobacillus probiotics, which we find in yogurts and cheeses. What these differences mean to you may vary based on your diet and your health concerns, and are something that we can cover at your next appointment.
How Will Probiotics Help Me?
What we really want to know at the end of the day is how probiotics can help you feel better in your body. The good news is there are numerous health benefits to incorporating probiotics into your diet. Here are a few of the most important ones:
- Digestive Improvements – The most popular (and possibly well known) health benefit from probiotics occurs in the belly. Because probiotics can help restore balance to the bacteria that occur naturally in our stomach and intestines, they may be able to help treat (and prevent) diarrhea, IBS and bowel inflammation.
- Skin Conditions (like Eczema) – Some studies have shown positive results on the use of probiotics to help treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis (a common form of eczema). Because of the impact probiotics have in bolstering the immune system, and reducing overall inflammation, they may have positive impact on people suffering with conditions like eczema.
- Heart Health – Probiotics may also be able to help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Probiotics can help break down bile (largely comprosed from cholesterol) from your stomach, keeping it from being reabsorbed enter entering the bloodstream as the bad kind of cholesterol we don’t want around our hearts.
- Weight Loss – There are no magic tricks for losing weight or adjusting your body composition. Still, supplements like probiotics can help in the journey. If the bacteria in your stomach aren’t properly balanced, you may find that losing (or gaining) weight becomes much more difficult. Let’s talk about weight loss at your next appointment and how probiotics may be a beneficial tool based on what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Mental Health – Just because you’re belly and your brain don’t live right next to each other doesn’t mean they can’t have an impact on one another’s functions. Some studies are beginning to point to digestive health as being linked to mental health, meaning that the work probiotics do in our stomachs may have positive effects all over the body.
Where We Find Them
Finding and identifying good probiotic sources can be tricky – everything promises to have them these days.
Arguments rage as to which yogurts are really good sources of microbes. Lets remember that microbes are live, and that making yogurt should only require milk and starter microbe and the correct combination of time and temperature; products with thickeners like gums, pectins, gelatins or extra milk powder are probably made by producers that aren’t very good at making yogurt. Shorter ingredient lists are better!
When all else fails, you can always turn to supplements to help increase the number of active cultures you ingest. Let’s talk about a few I recommend at your next appointment to make sure you’re taking the right kinds of probiotics, and for the right reasons.
Dr. Don Seals D.C.