If you’ve heard the word “probiotics” – you probably know that they are correlated with good health. Even though these bacteria are all the rage lately – many people still don’t know exactly what probiotics are. Well luckily for you, your QOL health guru is here to give you a full guide to probiotics.
In this blog we will answer the following questions; what are probiotics? How do they differ from prebiotics? What are some natural ways to promote probiotic growth within your microbiome? Should I add a probiotic supplement to my wellness plan? And many more probiotic related questions you never knew you had!
First things first, what are probiotics? Glad you asked… Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you. The human body is filled with both good and bad bacteria – probiotics are the “good” and “helpful” bacteria due to their ability to keep your gut healthy. You can find probiotics in supplements and naturally in some foods such as, yogurt and kefir.
Researchers are still trying to figure out the exact science behind how probiotics work, but when you lose “good” bacteria within your body, these probiotic can help replace them. Probiotics also keep the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria at the optimal ratio within your body.
Although similar in name, prebiotics differ from probiotics. Prebiotics are a non-digestible part of foods, such as bananas, onions and garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, the skin of apples, chicory root, beans and many other foods. Prebiotic fiber goes through the small intestine undigested and it fermented when it reached the large colon. Prebiotics act as a food source for probiotics. AHCC® has been shown to promote the presence of beneficial microflora in the colon by reducing intestinal inflammation and fostering probiotic growth while also reducing the prevalence of bad bacteria.*
Your gut microbiome responds to what you feed it – remove the sugar and processed foods from your diet – refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods get absorbed quickly into the small intestine without any help from the microbes. This means that your microbes will stay hungry – when they do not have an adequate food supply they will start snacking on your intestinal lining. When this happens it is known as leaky gut and can result in many health complications.
Some foods that promote gut health are, bananas, polenta, blueberries, broccoli and beans. Also, it is important to include fermented foods into your diet. These fermented foods fill your gut with healthy bacteria. Some great choices are sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, and kombucha!
Probiotic supplements can also be used to increase the number of beneficial bacteria inside your gut. The probiotics that have shown to provide health benefits include various strains of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces. Different types of probiotic bacteria provides different health benefits, so when you are choosing a probiotic supplement make sure to match it to the specific condition you are trying to address. Some probiotics may be effective at dosages of 1-2 billion colony-forming units per day, while others require at least 20 billion colony-forming units to achieve a desired effect. Consider this when choosing your probiotic supplement!
Probiotics don’t have to be boring, they can actually be tasty! Here are some delicious recipes that are high in probiotics:
We hope you have learned a thing or two about probiotics – now go test out some of these recipes and take steps to improve your gut health. Share this blog with your friends and family so they can learn about all things probiotics too!
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