Bacteria naturally live in our intestines and help promote health by destroying yeast and harmful bacteria that enter our bodies.
There are trillions of these microorganisms colonizing our bodies — tenfold more numerous than the cells of our bodies. When we are healthy, it is in a large part because they are healthy.
Of the trillions of microbes in your system, researchers have identified some — but by no means all — of the friendly flora species.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms
They include yeasts and bacteria that populate your intestines. They neutralize disease-causing agents to keep you in good health. Besides occurring naturally inside your body, probiotics also appear in certain foods and are available as dietary supplements.
Cultures identified include: Escherichia, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium. Other common inhabitants include: Bacteroides, Clostridium, Fusobacterium, Eubacterium, Streptococcus and certain yeast (Candida) strains.
Good intestinal flora regulate bowel movements and help prevent bloating, gas, and yeast overgrowth by controlling the pH level of the intestines through production of lactic acid. Gut flora get their food by breaking down what we eat, which is why diet is the most important factor.
Here are some reasons why you should consider taking probiotics:
1. Antibiotic Use: Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria in the body, and they do not discriminate between the bad and the good. So if you have ever taken a round of antibiotics, or are taking them right now, then consider taking a probiotic to reintroduce the healthy flora back into the body.
2. Digestive Disturbances: If you have been having issues with your gut and are possibly suffering from digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome etc, then taking a probiotic supplement is a good idea and will help with those conditions.
Oftentimes the simple addition of these healthy bacteria can eliminate symptoms and no further treatment is needed. Research has shown probiotics to be helpful for those conditions including diarrhoea, gas, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s and H. pylori infection.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, probiotics may be beneficial in improving and managing these conditions.
3. Skin Conditions: Poor digestion and an imbalance in gut bacteria can contribute to the presence of acne, eczema, rashes, hives or psoriasis. Cleaning up your diet beginning with probiotics and improving diet can help eliminate these conditions.
4. Weak Immunity: Are you one of those that tend to have the cold or flu like clock work when the weather changes or every time the virus goes around? That probably means your defense system (immune system) is not strong enough to defend your body against any of these viruses.
Probiotics have been clinically found to boost the immune system and strengthen the body’s defenses against illness. Healthy bacteria can train your immune system to distinguish between “foreign” microbes and those originating in your body, making probiotics the best front line against infection.
5. Allergies: Probiotics may also be helpful in reducing allergies, especially food allergies. Most often the root cause of food allergies is leaky gut, which can be improved by proper flora levels in the gut.
6. Yeast Infections: If you suffer from recurring yeast infections or Candida, then this is a good indicator that there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the body. The best way to bring it back into balance is with probiotics. Probiotics, or good bacteria, crowd out the bad bacteria, helping to relieve the body of the symptoms attributed to the overgrowth.
These are the 6 reasons why you need probiotics in your diet.
Top Tips To Follow:
• Discuss the need for probiotics with your doctor if you are prescribed a course of antibiotics. Introducing good bacteria can help prevent stomach discomfort and diarrhoea.
• Yogurt, Kefir and Fermented Vegetables are familiar foods to most folks. Something they all have in common is that they are rich in probiotics. They introduce active probiotic cultures that help wedge out unfriendly bacteria by competing directly with two main food poisoners: the toxic strains of E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
• Eliminating white sugar and significantly reducing natural sugars, and sugary carbohydrates is a good starting point to improving gut flora. These foods are what bad bacteria feed on, so in order to expedite their elimination from the body, it is best to cut off their food source.
Include ample supply of vegetables, legumes and whole grains, as good bacteria live long and prosper on these foods. Polyphenols, found in foods like garlic, green tea and ginseng, are also helpful in fostering friendly flora.
• In order to keep the immune system strong, it is ideal to do a round of probiotics for a month or so, and to stay on a low dose as a form of prevention.
• If your skin does not clear from diet and probiotics alone, you may consider using digestive aids such as digestive enzymes and agents to heal the intestinal lining like glutamine and aloe. Always improve the diet first, eliminating hard-to-digest foods such as processed, packaged, and fried foods, dairy, gluten and soy.
The best probiotic supplements come in powdered or capsule form and should be kept refrigerated. Look out for supplements that contain Lactobacillus, Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria in the billions. Probiotics lose potency with age, so buy smaller quantities more often to ensure you are getting the most active cultures.
You should begin to feel a difference within a week or two if your probiotic supplements are effective and you are consistent taking them. If not, try a different variety, combination or brand the next month.
Buying the right supplements can be confusing especially as the supplement industry is not fully regulated.
To make it easier, here are my top three brand picks for probiotics:
• Terra Nova
As with everything else, even the best probiotics are no substitute for good overall health practices. But they do work extremely well as part of a balanced approach, combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
I wish you peace and fabulous health!
Connect here With Watchfit Expert Gloria Halim