Why Probiotics Are Essential For Your Health

Probiotics

Probiotics have been in the mainstream media over the last few decades and are popularly promoted as the “good bacteria” to help with our digestion.

When you mention the word “probiotic” chances are people will think about yogurt.

While yogurt does have good bacteria, there are other popular food items that contain probiotics.

And there are more benefits to probiotics than just good digestion.

The word “Probiotic” is derived from two Greek words; “Pro” and “Bio” which mean “to promote” and “life” respectively.

Probiotics are universally accepted as a health food. The World Health Organization or WHO defines probiotics as a substance that promotes health.

The United States Department of Agriculture or USDA defines probiotics as a dietary supplement that benefits the host.

Probiotics are live, active cultures of bacteria that keep our gastrointestinal system clean and healthy by destroying deadly pathogens and improving nutrient absorption.

Here are the 6 benefits of taking probiotics:

1.  Improves Digestion

Taking medicines particularly anti-biotics destroys healthy intestinal bacteria that help us digest food.

This leads to gastro-intestinal distress and incidence of diarrhea. Doctors prescribe probiotics to replenish lost bacteria in the intestinal tract and improve digestion.

2.  Promotes Urinary Health

New studies on probiotics show that regular intake of probiotics can prevent bad bacteria from contaminating the urinary tract by accumulating good bacteria inside the tract.

There is evidence that show probiotics can be more effective than anti-biotics in preventing urinary tract infections.

3.   Ensures A Safe Pregnancy

There are studies that show pregnant women who ingest probiotics reduce the incidence of allergies particularly eczema on babies by 30%.

If a pregnant woman does not provide enough good bacteria for the baby, there is strong probability that the baby will develop conditions such as autism, learning disabilities and other neurological problems.

4.  Beneficial For Women’s Health

In addition to keeping babies healthy, probiotics can also help women ward off yeast infections.

The woman’s reproductive system is a finely balanced ecosystem but it can be thrown off by anti-biotics and birth control pills.

The Lactobacilli strain that is predominant in probiotics makes it acidic for potentially dangerous micro-organisms to survive in the woman’s reproductive system.

5.  Strengthens Immune System

A fact that not too many people including doctors know about is that 80% of your immune system is located in your intestinal tract.

Probiotics not only cleans your intestinal tract but greatly improves nutrient absorption.

So if you want to strengthen your immune system, focus on keeping your intestinal tract healthy.

6.  Controls Obesity

A 2006 study by Stanford University showed that people who are obese have a different type of intestinal bacteria compared to those who are of normal weight.

In fact, obese people who underwent weight loss surgery were routinely prescribed probiotics to maintain their body weight.

Other good sources of probiotics are:

  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Pickles
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha Tea

As for yogurt, doctors recommend choosing the plain, unflavoured variety.

They have a good amount of good bacteria but without the unnecessary calories and sugars of flavoured yogurt.