WHAT MAKES PROBIOTICS SPECIAL?
Most of us have heard about benefits of “probiotics” or the “good bacteria” for our immunity or for staying regular, and lately there has been much talk about the beneficial effect of probiotics for our gut health . For example, in addition to help alleviate constipation and gas, probiotics are suggested as a supplement for disorders such as Irritable bowel Syndrome(IBS)(1)*** or chronic Diverticulitis (presence of small pouches in the colon, that in some people may get infected, leading to an acute episode.)(2)*** Thus many people take probiotic supplements as an easy way to incorporate those “good bacteria” in their system. But what exactly are the probiotics, what are some foods that are rich in those , and what benefits can they have on out gut health ?
According to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) probiotics are “live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut.” (3)*** Probiotics benefits have been proven effective in immune function improvement, reducing the inflammation, promoting healthy digestion, as well as reducing symptoms of GI tract issues such as bloating, gas and constipation. (4)***
While taking supplements may be an easy way to introduce healthy bacteria into our gut , consuming probiotic rich foods may be cheaper and more effective for most people.
HEALTH BENEFITS : There are numerous health benefit of consuming probiotic foods :
Digestive Health The first major benefit of probiotics is as a promoter of digestive health. According to a meta-analysis conducted by Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia:
“Probiotics are generally beneficial in treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal diseases… When choosing to use probiotics in the treatment or prevention of gastrointestinal disease, the type of disease and probiotic species (strain) are the most important factors to take into consideration.” (5)***
Immunity Booster and Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Both probiotics and prebiotics are a continuing topic of research regarding immunity.
One 2015 study on the probiotic subject stated, “We suggest that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria and novel strains [of probiotics] might be an additional or supplementary therapy and may have potential for preventing wide scope of immunity-related diseases due to anti-inflammatory effect.”(6)***
Many research studies have examined probiotics benefits for skin, especially in children. Meta-analyses have found that probiotic supplements are effective in the prevention of eczema and skin inflammation in infants.(7)***
. Food Allergy Protection
The reason probiotics can help reduce food allergy and intolerance symptoms , in particular, due to the ability to reduce chronic inflammation in the gut and regulate immune response(8)***
PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS :
What are some of the most probiotic rich foods? Fermented dairy, fermented soy and fermented teas are most common, but there is many more :
Anyone with digestive tract issues should incorporate probiotics into their routine by eating more fermented foods, eating more insoluble fiber and high-fiber rich foods, and by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement in order to take advantage of probiotics benefits.
P- P-fotography | Shutterstock
P-P-fotography | Shutterstock
The Digestible; a site for easy to understand food, nutrition, health, and energy balance information.