Probiotics have gained a lot of attention in recent years. But do you really know what they are? If you’ve been wondering if you really need to add probiotics to your daily routine, we have the answers for you.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has defined probiotics as, “live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut.” You’ve been told your whole life that bacteria is bad for you but not in this case! There are some good bacteria, which our body needs to function properly. Without them, we can develop digestive issues and a number of other problems. In this case, probiotics are one group of those helpful bacteria.
Unfortunately, there are a number of things that destroy the good bacteria in our bodies. For example: taking too many antibiotics, consuming a lot of sugar, dealing with emotional stress, and even a lack of exercise can wreak havoc on us. The good news is, eating probiotic rich foods or taking probiotic supplements can help repair damage, while also providing a variety of other benefits.
Here are five reasons why you should be incorporating probiotics into your diet:
1. Probiotics Promote Good Digestive Health
One of the primary reasons people start taking probiotics or consuming probiotic rich foods is because they promise to deliver better digestive health. For those who are dealing with gut related issues, especially inflammation, they’ve turned to probiotics for help in relieving their symptoms.
The reason for this is that probiotics are loaded with good bacteria that our digestive systems need to function at their absolute best. As a result, continued use of probiotics can relieve bloating, ease irritable bowel syndrome, and soothe other tummy troubles.
2. They Can Help Boost Your Immune System
Surprisingly, 80% of our body’s immune system is in the gut. So, while you may choose to pop some vitamin C supplements and assume it’s enough, probiotics are great to supplement as well.
Besides helping your immune system, it could be the key to ridding yourself of those allergies you’ve been struggling with. A study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition had allergy sufferers take a probiotic with B. lactis, where they found it helped prevent sinus issues.
3. You Can See Clearer, Healthier Skin
If skin conditions have left you feeling frustrated, you may want to try incorporating probiotics into your diet. Why? Probiotics have been shown to be an effective means of helping with psoriasis, eczema, as well as the development of acne. The reason it works so well is because many skin conditions are triggered by chronic inflammation. Probiotics work to balance the inflammation and thus decreasing the likelihood of these skin conditions flaring up. Probiotic rich foods include yogurt (dairy or vegan), kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, etc.
4. Probiotics May Improve Mental Health Issues
By now, you may be realizing that our gut health greatly affects the ecosystem in which our body operates. But did you know there’s also a connection between the gut and mental health? A study from 2016 has shown probiotics helped to reduce depression symptoms. Another study suggests that taking a probiotic regularly may even help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
5. It Might Help You Lose Weight
There’s some debate over whether or not probiotics can actually help you lose weight. However, one study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that it can. The study revealed that the women who took a type of probiotic called Lactobacillus gasseri were able to lose weight when combined with a reduced-calorie diet. They lost about twice as much weight during the study than the women who followed the same diet, but didn’t take the probiotic.
While some other research conflicts with this, it’s worth investigating and trying out if you’ve been looking to shed a few extra pounds. Why it works could largely be due to the fact that probiotics have been shown to improve your blood sugar control, while also impacting your body’s sensitivity to the hormone that regulates our appetites (leptin).
Now that you’ve read all the benefits, think about incorporating probiotics into your diet today!