Before you grab the antacids or pills for your tummy ache, consider the cause of your stomach distress. You may find that probiotics benefits are a better way to heal what ails you, and you can get them without pills. Probiotics can do a lot of good things for your gut.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are found in some foods, and even in supplement form. They are live bacteria, as well as yeast, that help with overall health. They are mainly used for the health of your digestive system.
In order to work properly, the gut needs good bacteria to help with digestion. Probiotics are that “good” bacteria. As far as food goes, they are most often found in yogurt and fermented foods (like kefir).
There are many different types of probiotics. They can come from different foods and help with different ailments. A few of the most common probiotic bacteria you'll find include the following –
- Bifidobacterium – Bifidobacterium is a probiotic that is mostly found in certain dairy products. This is the probiotic most recommended when it comes to problems with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, as well as other stomach discomforts that include pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
- Lactobacillus – Lactobacillus may ring familiar to you, and that's because it is one of the most common of the probiotics. Lactobacillus is found in yogurt, as well as other types of fermented foods. This particular probiotic can come in different strains, which can help with different ailments – including helping people that suffer from lactose intolerance.
- Saccharomyces boulardii – Yeasts found in probiotics can be healthful too, and Saccharomyces boulardii is one of those yeasts. It too helps with diarrhea and can have a positive effect on other digestive issues.
Probiotics Benefits For Your Health
There are numerous probiotics benefits, but they're only beneficial if you need them. A healthy gut produces all of the good bacteria it needs in order to run properly. It is those people that suffer from IBS, Crohn's disease, and other issues of the stomach and bowels that will find benefit from adding probiotics to their diet on a daily basis.
Here are some of the illnesses and gut problems that may benefit from the addition of probiotics to your diet.
How often do you experience diarrhea? If you're having diarrhea once a week or more, there is something negative going on within your digestive system – but you don't have to put up with it.
If you have diarrhea often, talk to your doctor – filling them in on how often you have it, what seems to be triggering it, and how long it lasts. Knowing the cause will help even more than adding probiotics to your diet – because knowing the cause will let you know which probiotics will actually help.
People that get diarrhea from antibiotics can especially benefit from the probiotic benefits, as antibiotics cannot distinguish good bacteria from bad and kill off good bacteria while also helping fight off the bad stuff.
2. Various Digestive Illnesses
If you've been diagnosed with colitis, Crohn's disease, or IBS/IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) – Probiotics may be able to help you live a more normal life again. Each of these illnesses can affect your quality of life (causing you to always know where a bathroom is no matter where you go) and affecting how you can eat.
For colitis, some strains of probiotics help put the illness in remission. For Crohn's, they can help avoid a relapse or a worsening of the illness. For people with IBS, probiotics can help ease the symptoms, which include diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps/pain, gas, and bloating.
3. Digestive Imbalance
Sometimes your digestive can be running poorly, and your doctor won't be able to pinpoint the exact cause. In this case, they may still suggest trying probiotics in the form of yogurt or something fairly common to eat. The concept is to introduce more good bacteria into your gut and see if it helps, without putting too many of those bacteria in there (in case you don't really need them and there is some other health issue that is being missed).
Allergies, including dietary issues such as Celiac disease, can cause stomach discomfort and diarrhea as well. Even obesity to make your digestive system work poorly. Dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and the addition of probiotics can help with each of these problems.
For people that are lactose intolerant (which is actually normal – since all animals, including humans, are only meant to digest milk as infants), probiotics can help with the effects of lactose too. It's the fact that they help with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients that make probiotics helpful in this case and for people with Celiac disease.
Whether you regularly suffer from yeast infections, urinary tract infections (UTI), skin infections (like eczema), bacterial infections or respiratory infections, the good bacteria in probiotics may be able to help you. Studies are currently in the works to find out just how probiotics help with infections of all kinds.
Your gut is basically the core of your body, so it makes sense that an unhealthy gut could affect your overall health. By adding a serving a day of yogurt or other fermented foods to your diet, you can test out whether or not there are benefits for your particular ailments.
5. Inflammatory Illnesses
People that have been diagnosed with inflammatory illnesses, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, may also be able to benefit from the gut healing effects of probiotics.
Inflammation can be caused by numerous foods, and there are also foods that can help decrease inflammation – changing your diet to decrease inflammation and including a steady probiotic is beneficial to your health and pain relief.
6. Mental Health Issues
A healthy digestive system can help with mental clarity – which means that for people with mental illnesses, probiotics could help ease symptoms. Your imbalanced gut could be affecting your ability to battle depression and mental fog.
It's a fact that a healthy diet can change the way your mind works and the way you feel in general. By ensuring that you're taking care of your digestive system, you'll also be taking care of your brain.
When To Consider Taking Probiotics
If you don't often suffer from stomach ailments, it's likely you already have enough healthy bacteria in your gut. In this case, probiotics won't be useful to you. Some people can have adverse or allergic reactions to probiotics as well – so pay attention to all of the signs that your body gives you when you do test probiotic benefits.
If you find that you sometimes suffer from any of the ailments mentioned previously, you may want to consider taking probiotics. You can get them by eating some yogurt each day or introducing fermented foods into your daily diet. You can also get them by taking a probiotic – but you may want to talk to your doctor or a diet specialist about which probiotics are best (not all brands are created equal).
Where To Get Your Probiotics
While you can find plenty of probiotic supplements on the market, that isn't the only way to get the essential good live bacteria that can help with your gut health. There are plenty of foods that offer an array of healthy yeast and bacteria.
Your doctor can help determine which bacteria are essential for your personal health plan – and you'll find that different foods and different supplements host a variety of different bacteria.
Some of the top food sources for probiotics include –
- While normal dairy milk isn't going to give you any probiotic benefits, you can get healthy bacteria through both buttermilk and fermented milk (also called kefir).
- Yogurt is yet another dairy product that is rich in probiotics. From plain to Greek, and even soy and almond yogurt, yogurt offers an array of live cultures and is a great way to get kids to take probiotics as well.
- Fermented foods are also rich in healthy bacteria. These include fermented vegetables, as well as things like sauerkraut, tempeh, and miso.
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If a diet rich in probiotic nutrient foods isn't giving you enough good bacteria, you may need to consider a supplement.
Final Thoughts On Probiotics Benefits
Gut health is important and if you find that you're spending a lot of time in the bathroom, or wishing you could go to the bathroom, experiencing digestive distress of any kind (like gas, bloating, or cramping), or you don't feel like your absorbing the nutrients you need, and you're constantly feeling under the weather – talk to your doctor about probiotics. You won't believe the difference a healthy gut will make in your life.