Good Gut Health 101: Why You Need Probiotics and How to Get Them

Good Gut Health 101: Why You Need Probiotics and How to Get Them

Posted by Probiotic Maker on Jul 15th 2021

Humans are certainly an exceptional species, but we are indeed animals, and like many animals, we have symbiotic relationships with other species. In our case, we have an entire microbiome of beneficial gut bacteria and yeasts. These "probiotic" microbes are crucial to digestion and overall gut health. Unfortunately, our modern diets can strip these helpful organisms from our gut. How can you get more probiotics in your digestive tract?

Benefits of Probiotics

Derived from the Greek, probiotic means "for life," and microbes perform critical functions in our body. They break down food and medications, generate vitamins, and counteract harmful bacteria. Most people have a healthy population of these good microbes, and that provides a natural balance that supports your overall metabolism.

For example, studies have shown that when the population of gut microbiota declines, conditions such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation worsen. In some cases, this is because harmful bacteria can proliferate when good bacteria are largely absent. We've also seen that taking antibiotics kills beneficial gut bacteria, increasing the risk of intestinal distress. (This isn't to say that people should not take antibiotics but rather that they should take probiotics to restore their gut health.)

You can easily add to your probiotic population by consuming foods that carry those helpful bacteria, which include the bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. They appear in many fermented foods, including yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha.

Conditions Treated by Probiotics

Many digestive tract issues can be alleviated by these helpful microbes. Your gut's microbiome is largely responsible for breaking down food, processing nutrients and releasing them into the lining, and removing or blocking harmful materials. They work in tandem with your saliva, stomach lining, and intestines to help you achieve the most benefit from your food.

Probiotic microbes also appear in sensitive areas of the body, including the lungs, urinary tract, vagina, and even your skin. In all these organs, they ward off harmful bacteria and release beneficial nutrients.

Therefore, when your probiotic population is low, you may experience the following conditions:

  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • IBS
  • yeast infections
  • UTIs
  • eczema
  • upper respiratory infections and sinusitis
  • lactose sensitivity
  • It's easy to restore your microbiome and bring your body back into balance. Look for fermented foods and beverages that introduce good microbes into your body. Your gut will digest the nutrients and retain the beneficial microorganisms.

    Increased probiotic consumption has helped relieve symptoms of:

  • Crohn's disease
  • allergies
  • enterocolitis
  • diabetes
  • There is also some evidence that probiotics can reduce cholesterol levels (by breaking down bile that would otherwise convert to cholesterol) and promote healthy blood composition, both of which reduce one's risk of heart disease. Other studies have shown a powerful link between gut health and mental health; conditions such as anxiety and depression worsen when the gut is overpopulated by bad bacteria, while probiotics seemed to reduce mental illness in clinical studies.

    In short, gaining that healthy gut microbiome is crucial to your overall health and wellness.

    Note: While taking probiotic supplements and consuming probiotic-rich foods are certainly helpful, they are not panaceas for chronic respiratory, intestinal, or skin conditions. Always complete your course of antibiotics, and consult with your doctor about additional treatment options.

    A Probiotic-Rich Diet

    Probiotic microbes appear in a wide variety of foods and beverages, so no matter what your tastes are, you can add to your gut's microbiome and enjoy better health.

    Probiotic-rich foods include:

  • yogurt
  • sourdough bread
  • cottage cheese
  • kimchi
  • sauerkraut
  • tempeh
  • miso soup
  • gouda
  • cheddar
  • mozzarella
  • any pickled vegetables
  • For drinks, try:
  • kombucha
  • kefir
  • buttermilk
  • There are also plenty of probiotic-enriched teas, sparkling juices, and cheeses on the market, as well as pills, capsules, and powders you can add to your food. To help your gut microbiome take a stronghold, "feed" them prebiotics, which are complex carbohydrates that the good bacteria will consume. You can take prebiotic supplements, but eating lots of fiber-rich, whole-grain foods and fruits/vegetables is more than sufficient.

    Wrapping Up

    Probiotics certainly live up to their name, and they're relatively easy and affordable to add to your diet. Whether you're experiencing digestive issues or simply want to be proactive, include these beneficial microbes in your food and beverage choices, or take supplements to increase your population of good bacteria. You'll restore your body's balance in little time.