Just by the name itself, a person would know that probiotics are healthy bacteria. Probiotics mean “for life” which, to some extent, is true in its literal sense. These healthy bacteria provide various health advantages that is why it comes as no surprise that more and more people include probiotic products in their regular diet. Here are 8 benefits of probiotics.
Probiotics can help achieve better digestive health
The great thing about probiotics is that these bacteria can help counter various concerns that affect the digestive system. Among these concerns are irritable bowel syndrome and even necrotizing enterocolitis which is a fatal bowel condition which targets premature babies. Another digestive disorder that probiotics can address is Crohn’s disease. This is essentially an inflammatory bowel disease which causes swelling in the digestive tract. As a result, a person with Crohn’s disease experiences symptoms like recurring diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss. Yet another digestive disorder that probiotics are known to counter is ulcerative colitis. It is also an inflammatory bowel disease that causes not only swelling in the digestive tract but sores as well. It affects both the large intestine and rectum. It is important to note that probiotics, in this situation, is not used as the main medication used to treat all these digestive disorders. It is meant to alleviate the pain, reduce the symptoms, and lower the risk of experiencing said digestive problems again.
Probiotics boost your immune system
Studies have shown that probiotics are potent bacteria that help protect the body from an onslaught of harmful bacteria and yeast. Apart from being live microorganisms that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast in the body, they are also known to produce natural antibodies in the body. All these functions lead to a stronger immune system. Those with the marked inclusion of probiotic products in their diet were consistently shown to have lesser risk in experiencing respiratory infections. It also reduced the probability of women contracting urinary tract infection (UTI).
Probiotics are effective in weight management
There are certain types of probiotics that aid in weight loss. This could manifest in various ways. First, it can regulate appetite. Some probiotics give a feeling of fullness so it decreases food intake. Second, some strains stop fats from being absorbed in the intestines. Instead of being absorbed by the body, these fats are excreted from the body through defecation. Probiotics are also known as an efficient calorie-burner. All these shows why probiotics are known to be an excellent aid in weight loss. A word of caution though. Some strains promote wealth gain. Make sure you know what type to go for depending on your intent.
Probiotics may lessen the effects of allergies
Some studies would show that probiotics are effective at keeping symptoms of allergies at bay. They are especially effective with babies and children. Studies focused on younger children and mothers who drank probiotic milk while they were pregnant. Results showed that there was a significant decrease of the probability of both babies and children of developing eczema. Probiotic milk is also known to be a good alternative to dairy milk since the latter can possibly cause different allergic reactions of varying severity.
Probiotics regulate the growth of bacteria
Bacteria grow in different parts of the digestive system. When left unchecked exacerbated by a supportive environment and a weak immune system, there is a possibility that growth of bad bacteria would overtake the good kind. This is why probiotic products are very important. They maintain the balance between the good and bad bacteria and they boost the immune system to ensure things are in a balanced state. If this delicate balance is not achieved, a variety of digestive disorders and infection might happen.
Probiotics are good for the heart
There are two reasons why probiotics are good for the heart. First, it has cholesterol-busting properties. This is because the acid content of probiotics break cholesterol down, preventing it from being reabsorbed by the body. Second, probiotics are known to lower blood pressure. Studies that have been conducted show a direct link between probiotics and reducing blood pressure.
Probiotics improve mental health
This could probably be the most surprising among the 8 benefits of probiotics. Research has shown a direct link between taking probiotic products and improvement in mental health. These good bacteria have been particularly effective with dealing with cases of autism, anxiety, stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. They can also help enhance memory.
Probiotics lessen the severity of diarrhea
Diarrhea can be caused by a whole host of reasons. While it is quite common, experiencing it is certainly not fun. It is a good thing that probiotics can help lessen the severity of diarrhea and can even prevent it altogether. This is because probiotics promote a healthy digestive system that can withstand whatever the stomach is subjected to even gastroenteritis-causing germs. As an aside, gastroenteritis causes the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract in the stomach and small intestine. This can be caused by parasites, viruses, or bacteria.
Sources of Probiotics
Because of the many benefits of probiotics, there has been a surge of probiotic products in the market. The main source of probiotics would be fermented or cultured dairy products. However, they are also present in soy beverages, buttermilk, and miso soup. One can also source probiotics from cereals, granola bars, sour cream, and cottage cheese. There is also infant formula infused with probiotics. Just make sure you are getting the right strain of probiotics depending on your needs. For example, the Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus gasseri are probiotic strains that aid in weight loss. The Lactobacillus acidophilus strain, meanwhile, aids in weight gain. You might have to consult a nutritionist or a doctor to make the most out of probiotics.
Just by reading the 8 benefits of probiotics, one can readily glean that it would not hurt to add probiotic products in your regular diet. However, before doing so, it is highly advisable to consult a nutritionist or a dietitian. They would know what type of probiotic product would best suit your needs.