Probiotics – What Are They and Why You Need to be Taking Them
Mon 28 November 2016
Probiotics are bacteria, and they are very good for you! Probably not a statement you might expect to hear since conventional wisdom associates bacteria with diseases. Sure there are some that are bad, but others are definitely good for you. One thing for sure is that your body is full of both the good and bad bacteria. To stay healthy, you need more of the good (probiotics) than the bad.
Unfortunately, some modern products (like prescription medicines), and diet routines (like high carbohydrate foods) kill probiotics in your body slowly. This means to stay healthy and keep your body in balance, you need to make a deliberate effort to take probiotics as frequently as possible. Check out some of the benefits that they come with.
#1. Keeps your gut healthy
This is certainly the most popular case for probiotics, and chances are it's not your first time coming across it. They treat Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) together with all its associated illnesses and symptoms (like bloating, gas, and constipation). If you have kids, you will be glad to learn that probiotics reduce the risk of catching antibiotic-related diarrhea in children by up to 60%.
#2. Treatment for colds
If you are one of those people who get sick as soon as the cold weather kicks in you, could very well benefit from probiotics. According to research, probiotics reduce the risk of getting respiratory infections by up to 17%.
#3. Struggling with high blood pressure? Probiotics to the rescue
How are your latest blood pressure readings? Any cause for alarm? Don't worry; probiotics can help. According to a study, they lower cholesterol by nearly 9% by breaking up bile salts (which are typically cholesterol) in the liver. That means they can't be reabsorbed in the gut.
#4. Gives You A Million Dollar Smile
Looking to perfect your smile? Here's some good news for you, probiotics and teeth have a great relationship. They (particularly a type known as Lactobacillus reuteri) reduce the effects of gingivitis while at the same time killing the bad bacteria that cause tooth decay.
So by taking probiotics, you get to keep all your teeth and avoid bleeding gums. Two good reasons; but there are more. Poor oral hygiene has long been linked to other illnesses like diabetes and heart diseases. Thanks to probiotics you can reduce the risk of suffering from such diseases.
#5. Quiets Babies
This might sound strange but it's true, and there is research to prove it. Probiotics make a great solution for a crying baby. According to two studies (conducted in 2007 and 2010) that lasted for 28 days, it was discovered that babies of mothers who took probiotics frequently cried 194 minutes less than babies of mothers who didn't.
There's a catch, though, you have to breastfeed your baby. That shouldn't be a big problem though since it comes with 194 minutes of peace.
#6. Helps Ladies Parts
Women, this is for you. You have one extra reason to take probiotics more frequently. They are known for maintaining good vaginal health. The vagina is a very delicate ecosystem, but one that is finely balanced. Lactobacilli, a good bacterium that is dominant in the vagina, maintains an acidic environment that kills the bad ones****. Unfortunately, some factors like antibiotics and some birth control products usually disrupt the perfect balance. That leaves you vulnerable to diseases like UTIs and yeast infections among others.
And that is where probiotics come in. While some ladies prefer to apply the probiotics externally (e.g. applying yogurt) to their lower regions, no scientific proof backs the benefits of that method. The tried and tested way is by taking the probiotics orally to help rebalance your system.
#7. The eczema cure
Well, probiotics might not really cure your eczema, but they can help you not to pass it down to your kids. According to research, if a mother takes probiotics frequently the risk of her baby getting eczema will be reduced significantly.
While not scientifically proven yet, many further studies are being conducted on more benefits of probiotics which include:
- Lowering cholesterol
- Improving acne
- Losing weight
- Treating colic
- Reducing flu and colds
- Treating liver disease
The list goes on. Get started today by adopting a routine of taking probiotics and reap all the benefits that are sure to be proven in time.
Now you have seven (six for men) solid reasons why you should take probiotics. But do you know how to take them? For starters, the FDA recommends that you take them as foods rather than medications. Some of the foods that are rich in probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, microalgae, and miso soup among many others (a more comprehensive list is found in this diet program). There are also special probiotic drinks that are tasty and packed full of good bacteria for you. It’s tastier than it sounds, I promise.