Probiotics are one of the hottest topics in nutrition right now. As the name suggests, probiotics are microorganisms that are thought to have a beneficial effect on our health. While the jury is still out on probiotics, there is some evidence that eating these “good” bacteria can help with everything from diarrhea to digestive disorders to allergies.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are good for your health. That’s the simple answer, but it doesn’t do them justice. Probiotics promote health and balance in the body through their interaction with the immune system, so they’re typically taken as a supplement. They can be found in foods like yogurt and other fermented foods, in which the bacteria are added deliberately. Unlike antibiotics, which destroy all bacteria, probiotics are generally safe for everyone.
Probiotics are the microorganisms that live in and on our bodies, both inside and outside of our digestive tracts. We’ve known about them for years, but they’re getting some extra attention recently as the gut microbiome becomes better understood. While we’re only just beginning to understand the true importance of the trillions of organisms that live in our guts, we know that the right balance can help keep us healthy.
Where Can We Get Them?
Probiotics have been around for a long time. In fact, they have been with us since the time of the ancient Greeks. It is, in fact, the word probiotics that is derived from the Greek word “probioticem,” meaning for life. Probiotics have also been around for a while in the beer business.
While probiotics are the best known of the prebiotics, there is more to them than just yogurt, kefir, and those ‘active’ drinks we see advertised on TV. Prebiotics, which are found in large amounts in bananas, garlic, asparagus, and other vegetables, are foods that enhance the growth of the good bacteria in your gut.
What Are the Benefits That We Can Get from Probiotics?
Probiotics have become a hot topic, with more and more companies touting the potential health benefits of their products. While many of the claims made by these companies are dubious at best, there is no denying that probiotics can provide some significant benefits to your health. Here are the following benefits:
- Keeps a friendly balance in our digestive health. A probiotic is a “good” bacterium that is added to the food we eat or taken as a supplement. These good bacteria are called “probiotics” because they help your body function normally and keep you healthy. Probiotics help with digestion, help you absorb nutrients, boost your immune system, and help you to have regular bowel movements.
- Help improve mental health conditions. Many different strains of probiotics can be taken as supplements. While many people think of them as a cure-all for intestinal disorders, scientists are beginning to see some impressive improvements in the mental health of those who take probiotics. Your gut and your brain are connected. There’s even a term for it: The gut-brain axis. The same bacteria that live in your digestive system also live in your brain, and recent research has suggested that certain probiotic supplements can improve some mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and autism.
- Takes care of our heart health. A new study suggests that taking a daily probiotic supplement may do more than help keeps your digestive system healthy. It can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. According to another research, taking a right probiotic supplement may enhance blood flow to the heart.
The human body hosts countless bacteria organisms, both good and bad. Studies demonstrate that maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in your intestines can help impact your immune system, digest food, and even help prevent and alleviate some chronic health conditions such as allergies, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome.
How Much Probiotics Is Too Much?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial to your health, and you can find them in food, like yogurt or as supplements. But how much is too much? When it comes to probiotics, bigger is better, right? Actually, it’s not so simple. A recent study found that taking too many probiotics can actually do more harm than good.
The number of probiotics that is right for you depends on your age, your weight, the severity of your symptoms, and other factors, including how many other medications you’re taking. These factors also determine how long you should take probiotics. If you’re just starting to take probiotics, you should take them for one to two weeks to see how you respond. After that, if you still need probiotics, work with your doctor to adjust the dose.