How Probiotics Can Boost Your Health
Did you know that 70 million Americans suffer from digestive diseases? How about that between 60-80% of the immune system is in our digestive system or gut? That’s not all, according to Dr. Axe (at draxe.com), “more than 40 diseases have been linked to bacterial imbalance.” This includes cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and even neurological disorders like depression. I bet you didn’t know that by taking care of your digestive health, you could also be taking care of so many more body systems, in turn. Here, we discuss some ways that healthy bacteria for the gut and probiotic organisms can help you stay healthier, inside and out.
Probiotic organisms are live bacteria and yeasts that help our intestines keep a healthy balance of microflora. Naturally, our intestines contain about 400 different types of bacteria. These bacterial reduce harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. One of the ways you can care for your digestive tract, or your gut, is by eating foods or taking daily probiotic supplements that contain beneficial bacteria.
Healthy gut, healthy brain and more
As you know, disruptions in our intestinal health can cause overall negative health effects. Since our immune system is so intricately tied to our digestive health, a bad bacteria in our gut can cause flu, infection, and diarrhea. However, gut health has also been tied to neurological health, skin health, and respiratory infections. In a study done 2004, researchers found that a specific probiotic combination was beneficial in reducing anxiety and stress responses. It also helped to improve mood and people who were moderately stressed. We can chock it up to “healthy gut healthy brain.” But that’s not all. According to Healthline.com, a recent study shows that probiotics can help alleviate the severity of cold and flu symptoms. Another study on children in Finland showed that kids given milk with probiotics added were 17% less likely to catch respiratory infections.
Probiotics for skin health
Another way to use probiotics for health is to use them topically on skin. A recent article published by mindbodygreen.com talks about how to incorporate probiotics into your daily skin routine in order to fight the drying and aging effects of winter. According to author Dr. Roshini Raj, probiotics on our skin can produce hyaluronic acid. This substance is naturally produced in our bodies and is one of the main components of skin elasticity, strength, and plumpness. Hyaluronic acid also helps to absorb and retain moisture, which is a huge help in these dry winter months.
In order to take advantage of these skin benefits, you can find products that contain probiotic organisms (some day creams have started to use these bacteria). Or, you can buy yogurt or kefir at the grocery store and create a DIY mask at home (and have a snack, too!) A yogurt or kefir mask containing lactococcus ferment will provide many benefits. It can help regulate the pH (acid and alkaline) balance of your face, it contains alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) which can also help balance pH and rid you of wrinkles and even slow down the process of aging. Who knew using probiotics for health could help on the inside and outside!
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are healthy bacteria and prebiotics are non-digestable carbohydrates that probiotics use for energy or food. When you combine them together it is called a “synbiotic”. This combination is the live bacteria and the food they need to thrive.
Where can I get probiotics?
You can find probiotics in both food and supplement form. At the grocery store you can buy fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir. Other foods that contain probiotics include sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso soup, pickles, kimchi, and kombucha tea.
Foods that contain prebiotics, the food that probiotics need to survive are jicama, garlic, onions, chives, whole grains, avocado, soybeans, and potato skins.
You can also find daily probiotic supplements that can help to regulate gut health without changing your diet. These supplements can provide both prebiotics and probiotics to keep your gut, immune system, and brain healthy.