Your Body’s Buy-In for More Probiotics
In our germ-averse world, of anti-bacterial wipes, fast spreading airborne illnesses and white-glove approved cleaning products, it’s no wonder, we are acutely aware of our surroundings and the need to keep ourselves, and particularly our children, squeaky clean and bacteria-free. So the question presents itself, why would anyone actively consume any kind of bacteria at all? For centuries, eastern cultures have incorporated probiotic-rich foods into their diets (think kimchi in Korea, and kefir in Russia). And probiotics, bacteria found in the body, are finally gaining popularity in the western world, and for good reason. While bad bacteria promote illness and other chronic conditions of the body, it’s been giving good bacteria a bad name for far too long.
What is a probiotic?
Probiotics, also known as good or helpful bacteria, are live microorganisms, naturally occurring in the body, residing along the digestive tract. Probiotics, unlike bad bacteria, do not make us sick, but are actually good for you and have long been lauded for their health benefits in preventing illnesses, aiding in digestion, fighting infection and improving immune function overall. In addition to the probiotics you’re already born with, strains of the bacteria, such as lactobacillus acidophilus, sporogenes, and bulgaricus, among others, can also be found in plants and soil, fermented food products (yogurt, cheese, vinegar, etc.), and non-oral products such as lotions and creams.
Why is the health of your digestive tract so important?
A large amount of disease-fighting antibodies can be found in your gastrointestinal tract, which is no wonder why the state of your gut can contribute to the overall state of your health. Additionally, the gut is also referred to as the second brain for its strong connection and correlation with neurological functioning. Ever wonder why you have knots in your stomach when you’re worried about something or have a “gut feeling” when first meeting someone? Needless to say, when there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your digestive tract, it can affect almost every other system in your body. An imbalance in your digestive tract can result in skin conditions, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and a host of other conditions – all of which originate in your gut. The good news is that there are a variety of probiotic products and foods to restore that balance.
If probiotics are already naturally occurring in the body, why do I need more?
While we are already born with probiotics, various factors could be suppressing your body’s natural probiotics, which might warrant a probiotic boost with food and supplements. Some of the things we face and consume on daily basis like grains, sugary foods, non-organic dairy, tap water and emotional stress, among other factors, can result in dysbiosis, or an imbalance of the bad bacteria. Even antibiotics, that are meant to kill bad bacteria when you get sick, are actually non-discriminate agents and end up killing the good bacteria too.
What are the benefits of probiotics?
As mentioned, probiotics promote a healthy gut, and a healthy gut contributes to the overall health of many other systems in the body, including the brain and stomach. There are several strains of probiotics that have a variety of benefits, but in general, probiotics have helped improve digestion, diarrhea, depression, chronic skin conditions, yeast infections, lactose indigestion, allergies and more.
In addition, glowing skin is not just skin deep. The health of your digestive tract no doubt has an impact on the body’s largest organ, your skin. Probiotics have been known for relieving and alleviating psoriasis, a skin disorder linked to inflammation, rejuvenating and strengthening the skin’s immunity, as well as promoting the healing of scars and burns.
Seeing is believing
Side effects of taking most probiotics tend to be mild, and limited to a brief abdominal bloating and gas, but can vary in individuals being treated with antibiotics or with existing infections, so it’s recommended that you consult with your health care provider before taking any new product or treatment. With the evidence and testimonies of how probiotics have helped people, we can certainly say we have a good (gut) feeling about them. But seeing, and trying for yourself, is believing.
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