Though they are often viewed in a negative light, bacteria have a good side, too. They’re often found in cosmetics and fermented foods, so you’ve probably been using and consuming them without knowing. Your digestive system alone houses a large number of friendly bacteria that help break down food. These good bacteria have a common name: probiotics. So, what are probiotics, and how can you manage your intake? Let’s find out.
- What are Probiotics?
- Do Probiotics Contain Good Bacteria?
- Probiotic Foods List: What Should You Eat?
- Maintaining Probiotic Levels Helps You Stay Healthy
What are Probiotics?
So what are probiotics, and why should you care? The live microorganisms that provide health benefits to humankind are called probiotics. Probiotics are found inside your body. Your stomach, intestines, mouth, tonsils, armpits, ears, and nose are all homes to good bacteria. They fight infections and keep your organs safe and healthy. These microorganisms can be bacteria or yeast.
Probiotics are also found in foods. They are often similar to the ones already found in your body. From helping in digestion to fighting diseases, probiotics have a number of benefits. So you should make sure to include probiotics in your diet.But this doesn’t mean you have to pop another pill. Probiotics are best consumed through healthy food such as yogurt. There is a way to improve your digestion apart from taking supplements, and that’s through probiotic-rich foods.
The first step toward learning about probiotics is to take a look at your gut. Your digestive system is the home of many different types of bacteria, all of which help to keep you active and healthy. By learning about how your digestive system functions, you can understand the importance of probiotics.
Other Factors of Health
Also, the importance of sleep is undeniable. After a long day, your body needs time to repair itself. A good night’s sleep can help your body strengthen muscles, improve brain function, and reduce weight gain. All the memories you form in one day are transferred to long-term memory while you sleep. With so many crucial processes going on, sleeping well can help drastically improve your health.
Your immunity also depends on your daily exercise routine. The more active you stay, the stronger your body gets. This in turn improves digestion and prevents diseases caused by inactivity.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Probiotics do not work alone; rather, they coordinate with prebiotics to benefit you. Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates and aid the manufacturing, maintenance, and production of probiotics. They ease anxiety, reduce stress, help with weight loss, lower risk of heart diseases, and strengthen immunity.
Here is a short 7-minute Youtube video explaining the relationship between prebiotics and probiotics.
Do Probiotics Contain Good Bacteria?
There are different strains of bacteria found in probiotics, and each strain has its own unique combination of advantages. However, the research about their effects is ongoing, with results leaning more toward the positive side than the negative. This research has been carried out in relation to diseases such as asthma, traveler’s diarrhea, tooth decay, and urinary tract infection.
The most commonly used strains range from Lactobacillus to Bifidobacterium. Most high-quality probiotics have about five or six strains that support gut health. However, although they have an extensive history of harmless usage, probiotics can cause negative reactions in people with severe illnesses. So, it is best to consult your doctor before beginning a probiotic diet or supplement, especially if you have an underlying condition.
Sometimes, the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria, which creates an imbalance and can cause sickness. This imbalance may be caused by an illness, a poor diet, or medication, and it can be remedied with an increased intake of probiotics.
Apart from boosting metabolism, probiotics also help process vitamins, absorb medications, and control inflammation. Research has shown that consuming an adequate amount of probiotics every day positively affects mental health, as well. According to studies, taking probiotic supplements for around eight weeks can help reduce depression levels in some people. Also, probiotics may play an important role in fighting infections.
Probiotic Foods List: What Should You Eat?
If you’re not a fan of supplements and pills, then a healthy diet is the perfect alternative for you. The following list of seasonal fruits and vegetables are rich in probiotics and can help boost your immune system naturally.
Some good dairy sources of probiotics are:
- Cheddar cheese
You can experiment with different tasty recipes to make staying fit more fun and sustainable. Whether its smoothies made from seasonal fruits and vegetables or a dinner made with bone broth, foods rich in probiotics can help boost your immune system better than most supplements. So, why not finally try that Siggi’s Icelandic Yogurt and make your gut stronger?
Here is a list of fruits and vegetables that are rich in probiotics and can help boost your immunity:
- Pickled beets
- Fermented vegetables
- Apple cider vinegar
Other than fruits and vegetables, legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are also a good source of probiotics. Also, soya sauce, traditional sourdough breads, and miso are some other healthy foods that you should add to your diet if you want to increase your probiotic intake.
There is little doubt that moderate alcohol consumption can save you from a number of diseases. Some experts believe that alcohol can actually fit into a healthy lifestyle, but only if it is consumed in controlled amounts. In fact, alcohol and workouts have a related impact on each other, and consuming a little bit every day may help you improve your workout performance and results.
Don’t Forget the Prebiotics
Increasing your prebiotic intake is essential to improve your probiotic intake. Some popular sources of prebiotics are:
- Sweet potatoes
So, to produce noticeable benefits, combine probiotic foods with prebiotics. You can try different combinations, such as yogurt with bananas or carrots with sweet potatoes, to manage your daily intake of both prebiotics and probiotics.
Maintaining Probiotic Levels Helps You Stay Healthy
Probiotics are good bacteria that live inside your body and are produced with the help of prebiotics. They have a plethora of benefits, from boosting immunity to improving mental health. Research is being carried out to check their effectiveness against asthma, urinary tract infections, and more. While probiotics are healthy, they can be harmful for people with underlying serious conditions such as cancer. So it is best to consult your doctor before beginning a probiotic-rich diet.
The most common sources of probiotics are yogurt, fermented vegetables, and sauerkraut. With so many options to choose from, you can try delicious recipes by combining two or more ingredients. Staying healthy has never been easier! Other than a good diet, moderate alcohol consumption, an active daily exercise routine, and good sleep can also help you lead a healthier life for which your body will be really grateful.