by Claudia Jones
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the microorganisms, or healthy bacteria that live naturally in our intestines. There are many different strains of healthy bacteria that can populate the gut; these are mainly variations of lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacterium and some yeasts.
10 Ways Probiotic Foods May Improve Your Health
- Stimulating bowel function and relieving constipation
- Improving the digestion and absorption of foods
- Assisting in detoxification of the body
- Balancing the pH of the intestinal tract
- Increasing immunity – probiotics have natural antibiotic properties that prevent colonization of gut with unhealthy bacteria, parasites and yeasts They also help to combat food poisoning
- Repopulating the gut with healthy bacteria after use of antibiotics or colon hydrotherapy that kill or remove the good gut bacteria as well as the bad
- May reduce IBS symptoms, gastroenteritis, diarrhea gas and bloating and the associated discomfort
- Can improve lactose digestion in those who are lactose intolerant
- Balance vaginal flora thereby reducing yeast infections
- May help to slightly reduce blood cholesterol levels, stress and anxiety
Where to find probiotics naturally? Healthy bacteria can be found in abundance in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir (milk, water or coconut kefir) kimchi, sauerkraut, cultured vegetables, kombucha, fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso and natto.
By eating a variety of probiotic foods you may help to support healthy digestion and immune function as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
In supplement form, probiotics can be found in capsule, powder and liquid form. To increase their shelf life probiotic supplements should be stored away from heat and moisture.
Please note: people with severely compromised immune systems, those who are critically unwell and those with leaky gut syndrome should not take probiotic supplements