Any nutritionist will tell you that 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Your gut contains hundreds of different types of microorganisms including bacteria, yeasts and viruses - referred to as “gut flora.” The bacteria in your gut is acquired at birth and is entirely unique to you.
Many of these bacteria are considered beneficial or “friendly.” Their functions include converting fiber into short-chain fatty acids, synthesizing certain vitamins and supporting your immune system. Ongoing research shows that taking care of your gut (and it’s flora) may be one of the single most important things you can do for your health.
Imbalance occurs when there are too many “bad” bacteria and not enough “good” bacteria. This can happen due to illness, prolonged medication such as antibiotics, poor diet and more. An “unbalanced” gut flora is linked to numerous diseases including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Heart disease
- Colorectal cancer
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms found in fermented foods (including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, apple cider vinegar, pickles) and supplements containing “friendly” bacteria and yeasts that help colonize and replenish beneficial microorganisms in the intestines.
The most common probiotic strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Supplements combining different strains and species together and are known as broad-spectrum probiotics, or multi-probiotics.
Health Benefits of Probiotics
Studies have provided compelling evidence that probiotic foods and supplements have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and can help treat:
- Antibiotic-associated diarrhea
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Gas, bloating, constipation
- Ulcers and stomach cancer
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Poor memory
Other benefits can include:
- Weight loss
- Improved digestion
- Enhanced immune function
- Better skin (acne, eczema, psoriasis)
- Improve brain health and overall mood
- Decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol
- Increase “good” HDL cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Increases body’s defenses against allergies
- Reduce the risk of respiratory illness in children
- Treat urinary tract infections in adult women
- Prevent gingivitis and gum infection
Of course, to get the maximum benefit from your probiotics it’s important to make sure you’re consuming a healthy, plant based diet and getting plenty of sleep and exercise.
Ready to improve your gut health and feel more energized?
Try incorporating these probiotic-rich products and recipes into your diet:
Check out our meal delivery service menu for even more healthy and convenient options for every meal and snack of the day, including quite a few probiotics!