Probiotic means “for life” or “promoting life”
Probiotics, often referred to as “healthy bacteria,” are naturally occurring bacteria found in the human gut. Probiotics have been shown to provide a multitude of health benefits when consumed each and every day.
An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy gut. Sounds gross, right? These microbacteria are actually extremely important to our health and wellness. These beneficial bacteria perform a variety of important functions. The functions include maintaining immunity, protecting the body from harmful bacteria, and aid in the digestion of food and nutrients. Problems with our health arise when the delicate balance of healthy gut bacteria is disrupted by such factors as antibiotic use, stress, and diet changes.
Probiotics have also been shown to improve health in other ways. In one such study, Canadian researchers recently discovered that the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, levels of people with high cholesterol who ate yogurt containing a strain of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri dropped by nearly 9 percent in six weeks.
In another study, participants who took supplements containing specific strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium longum supplements for 30 days were less stressed than those who didn’t take the probiotics. Even more studies have shown people who consume probiotics on a daily basis have cleaner teeth and gums, fewer colds and coughs, and fewer urinary track infections.
When it comes to probiotics, you can’t get too much of a good thing! The benefits of probiotics are the greatest when consumed daily. Give yourself about 7-12 days of daily probiotic consumption in order to heal your gut and start feeling the perks. Just like anything else, there can be a lot of probiotic gimmicks out there. All probiotics, or probiotic-containing foods, are not created equal. So what should you look for? I recommend a daily serving of Good Belly Juice or a Good Belly Shot, yogurt that clearly states “Live & Active Cultures” (Try SO Delicious Cultured Coconut), Kombucha Tea, Miso, fermented foods like Kim Chi, or a daily capsule such as New Chapter Whole-Food Probiotic All-Flora.
Tip? Make sure you are including enough prebiotics into your diet as well. Prebiotics (also called fermentable fiber) are nondigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. Without prebiotics, those little probiotics are unable to thrive. Prebiotics are found in whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, honey, and artichokes.
Live a Nourished Existence,