There are countless bacteria with some being beneficial and some are being harmful to us. When someone gets infected by harmful bacteria, antibiotics are taken to kill them. On the other hand, many bacteria are also good for our bodies. In fact, there are ten times more bacteria in our body than we have cells. Most of them are present in the gut to help with digestion. Even still, the concept of healthy bacteria is hard to understand. Probiotics are one of those healthy bacteria, and we would be looking at what they are and how they can benefit our bodies.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are living bacteria that are really good for our immune and digestive systems. They are mostly yeast or come as fermented products. They help our gut with digestion and extracting energy from food. They also keep the digestive system healthy. In essence, probiotics are microorganisms that we ingest.
What Do They Do?
Probiotics serve many purposes depending on their type and the time of consumption. For example, if they are consumed after going through an antibiotic course, they replenish the reserves of good bacteria that were destroyed in the process. They also maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria. This is essential because if the number of bad bacteria increases, the chances of getting an infection increase as well.
Types of Probiotics
There are two basic types of probiotics which are Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium. The former is found in yogurt and other products made by fermentation. It is most commonly used by people who have a hard time digesting sugar or suffer from digestive disorders. Bifidobacterium is used to ease indigestion and to treat IBS.
The types vary depending on the strains they have. Each probiotic has a designated purpose so one should be aware of the advantages of the specific one they are taking.
Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics are ingestible bacteria that are great for your body. Here are some of the benefits you can get from them:
They Are Good For The Gut
The most common use of probiotics is to improve the health of the gut. They are the best way to treat diarrhea and other such diseases. It makes a recovery from diarrhea 60% faster. Probiotics are also used to treat the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Probiotics decrease the risk of developing ulcers as well. Overall they improve gut health every way.
They Balance The Good And Bad Bacteria
As mentioned above, probiotics replace the damaged good bacteria after an antibiotics course. By doing so, they also maintain a balance between the levels of good and bad bacteria in our body. The balance is essential to stay healthy, have proper digestion and avoid diseases.
Naturally, a healthy balance is maintained naturally ion our bodies between good and bad bacteria. But when a person falls sick, the number of good bacteria decreases. It can be for many reasons but happens mostly due to antibiotics, which kill off good bacteria in the process of fighting the infections. A poor diet can also cause an imbalance.
Probiotics have been known to improve our oral health as well. They reduce the chances of developing many periodontal problems. They are also a great solution to bad breath.
They Are Good For The Heart
Probiotics play a big role in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in our bodies. This way, they improve the health of our heart as well. The bacteria cause the intestines to generate acids that keep the bad cholesterol levels at bay. They also keep blood pressure levels in check.
There are a few mental health conditions that can be treated by using probiotics. There is a proven direct relation between moods and gut health. Therefore, people with healthy digestive systems exhibit more positive moods as well and suffer less from stress and depression. Probiotics have also been known to reduce negative thoughts.
Probiotics inhibit the absorption of fat in our bodies. This greatly helps in losing weight and reducing belly fat as well. Instead of storing the fat on our body, the digestive system disposes it. Probiotics are low on calories and reduce hunger as well. Therefore, you end up consuming fewer calories as well. All these things combined greatly help in weight loss. There are specific probiotics for weight loss to ensure the benefits of the one you are taking.
Stronger Immune System
Probiotics boost immunity against diseases. They promote the production of antibodies as well. As probiotics improve the balance between good & bad bacteria, chances of infections decrease, and immunity increases too. As mentioned above, probiotics also reduce stress, therefore increasing resistance against diseases.
Probiotics are really effective against eczema, and they have been known to improve overall skin health. By strengthening the immune system, probiotics also improve resistance against allergies.
By improving digestion, probiotics reduce the risk of developing rectal cancer. There is a lot of research being done on this topic, and it has been proven that chances of cancer decrease greatly with regular consumption of probiotics.
Sources of Probiotics
We mentioned earlier that probiotics are bacteria that are ingested. Here are some of the sources:
If you find it hard to find probiotic-rich foods, then try to get probiotic supplements. Be sure to consult your doctor before you start taking them.