This article was previously published on April 22, 2016.
Having a healthy gut translates to having a healthy body. This is because the gut is the epicenter of nutrient absorption and therefore affects the productivity, health, and efficiency of the other systems and organs. Although this may seem simple, the gut’s job is quite involved, and gut health depends on a complex system of bacteria.
The gut has a lining of trillions of microorganisms that form the intestinal flora. These bacteria grow, change, and deplete with time as triggered by various factors such as environment, lifestyle, and diet. Thus, the only constant you can offer your gut is the introduction of probiotics. In fact, taking probiotics and eating a clean diet are the only things that can improve your health.
What are Probiotics?
The body is made up of both bad and good bacteria. The term “probiotics” refers to the yeast and bacteria that are good for health, especially for the digestive system. Probiotics are the good bacteria that are important in maintaining a healthy gut. Although they are naturally occurring in the body, probiotics may also be found in supplements and some foods.
How Do Probiotics Work To Improve Your Health?
Although it was not until the mid-1990s that more and more people increased their knowledge of probiotics, particularly their health benefits, probiotics have been around as along as us. In fact, babies born vaginally usually acquire a bustling network of microflora as they enter the world. Newborns typically pick up Bacteroides, Escherichia Coli, and Bifidobacterium Lactobacillus from the mother through the birth canal. However, mothers who deliver through cesarean section do not transmit this bacteria. Because C-section babies are born with less than optimal gut microflora, their immunity may be comprised, hence the prevalence of allergies in C-section newborns.
So what do probiotics do? Probiotics offer protection in two ways. Firstly, they help bring a balance between the bad and good bacteria in the digestive tract. Secondly, probiotics have an impact on the immune system that protects the body from germs. When the immune system does not function well, we experience allergic reactions as well as autoimmune disorders and infections. Therefore, doctors suggest the use of probiotics for patients with digestive and immunity problems.
6 Reasons Why You Should Include Probiotics In Your Daily Diet
1. Probiotics help with your digestive issues.
While metabolism is predisposed to a large extent, taking probiotics helps in increasing as well as regulating this function owing to their positive effect on inactive thyroid cells. Consequently, taking probiotics can contribute to weight loss.
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2. Probiotics boost energy.
If you experience a groggy feeling that is coupled with low energy despite getting adequate sleep, probiotics can help. Low energy is a sign that your digestive system is drawing most of your energy since digestion consumes most of the body’s energy. An imbalance in the gut leads to poor digestion that causes the body to use even more energy for digestion. The result is weight gain, fatigue, and low energy. Thus, you will do well to consider eliminating foods that are hard to digest while increasing probiotic foods in your diet.
3. Probiotics improve your skin and help to fight skin conditions like acne.
If you struggle with skin that is dry and itchy or other skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and acne, your gut may be unhealthy and imbalanced. External appearance reflects the internal environment. Skin conditions like dry skin and rashes are a sign of a bigger health problem on the inside, such as gut disease. To maintain healthy skin with a youthful glow, you may benefit from drinking more water and increasing your intake of high-quality probiotics.
4. Probiotics improve your immune system.
If you get sick more than you should and struggle with allergies, common cold, or seasonal flu, chances are your immune system is compromised. About 70-80% of your immune system is inside the gut. Therefore, when your gut bacteria is unbalanced, it directly affects the strength of your immune system. If your immune system is weak, you need to consider increasing your daily intake of probiotic supplements or probiotic-rich foods while maintaining a healthy balanced diet.
5. Probiotics help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
When the gut is unhealthy, you are bound to experience anxiety and depression that directly affect your mood, mental clarity, and ability to focus. Consequently, people who suffer from feelings of depression are likely to be struggling with unbalanced gut and digestive issues. Studies have shown that probiotics will decrease anxiety, impact overall behavior, and stabilize mood swings. Therefore, increasing your daily intake of probiotic foods will not only heal the gut but also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
6. Probiotics encourage weight loss.
According to research, the overflow of bad bacteria in the gut may result in an inflammation of the body, thus making weight loss a challenge. Consuming probiotic supplements and eating probiotic-rich foods can help to decrease inflammation and assist in weight loss over time. Popping supplements is just the start, however. Probiotics, such as PRO EM1, must be taken alongside a healthy diet since consuming processed foods can cause the bad bacteria to continue growing, thus promoting weight gain.
Probiotics play a very important role in your overall health, which is why most people will experience a myriad of benefits when they increase their daily intake either through probiotic-rich foods or through probiotic supplements.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate probiotics into your diet?
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Photos: Jessica Riley-Norton, Lauren Sacerdote, Peaceful Dumpling