Why Probiotics are good for you? Learn their Health Benefits

Agostina Martino 2021-11-23

Have you ever heard about probiotics? Are they already in our body? Or just in some food? Why are probiotics good for you and your body? Which are probiotics' health benefits? Are we what we eat? Learn Why Probiotics are good for you? Learn their Health Benefits. Let´s see!

Here we will try to give you a definition for probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the intestine and improve the overall health of the body, bringing benefits such as facilitating digestion and nutrient absorption, and strengthening the immune system.

You can read more about probiotics' health benefits in The ABC of Probiotics: What are they? and Why are they good?

When the intestinal flora is not in balance, which often happens after the use of antibiotics or when you do not have a healthy and balanced diet, the intestine ends up being populated by bad bacteria, which do not help the immune system and leave the body susceptible to diseases. Probiotics are also foods or supplements containing live microorganisms intended to maintain or enhance the body's "good" bacteria. Eating these types of food will assure you of the probiotics' health benefits.

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Why are Probiotics Good for You?

The main probiotics' health benefits are:

  • Combat and prevent intestinal diseases;
  • Combat diseases such as cancer, candidiasis, hemorrhoids and urinary tract infection.
  • Improve digestion and combat acidity;
  • Combat constipation and diarrhea, regulating intestinal transit;
  • Increase the absorption of nutrients, such as vitamin B, calcium and iron;
  • Strengthen the immune system by increasing the production of macrophages, the body's defense cells;
  • Prevent the proliferation of bad bacteria in the intestine;
  • Help digest lactose, especially in people with lactose intolerance;
  • Prevent problems such as obesity, high cholesterol and hypertension;
  • Prevent allergies and food intolerances;
  • Help improve mood, as it has been found a direct relationship between the balance of the intestinal flora with a decrease in diseases such as depression and anxiety;

Besides probiotics' health benefits, they could even help improve conditions such as autism, as some studies seem to indicate that there are improvements not only at the gastrointestinal level but also at the behavioral level, improving the ability to concentrate and listen. So, there´s plenty of beneficial causes to add probiotics to your life and diet.

You can learn more in Are probiotics good for you? Know their benefits here

How To Take Probiotics?

There are two main ways to ingest probiotics and earn probiotics' health benefits: through increased consumption of foods that are considered natural probiotics, such as yogurt or kefir, for example; and the other way is through the use of probiotic supplements

Here we have some food rich in probiotics:

  1. Plain Yogurt: they are the main and easiest source of probiotics on the market, but there are also flavored yogurt versions that keep the beneficial bacteria alive;
  2. Kefir: is a fermented product with yeast and bacteria, similar to yogurt, but has a higher amount of probiotics. You can learn more about kefir in What is Kefir and How to Make it at Home: easy recipe
  3. Fermented Milk: these are special products that usually contain Lactobacillus added by the industry, Yakult is the most famous;
  4. Kombucha: a fermented beverage made mainly from black tea;
  5. Oriental products based on soy, legumes and vegetables such as Miso, Natto, Kimchi and Tempeh that can be purchased in specialized stores;
  6. Sauerkraut: is a culinary preparation made by fermenting fresh cabbage or cabbage leaves;
  7. Pickles: is a preparation where cucumbers are placed in water and salt and left to ferment for a period of time;
  8. Sourdough or natural yeast: it is a live culture composed of yeast and bacteria that are produced through the fermentation of cereals such as wheat and microorganisms that are naturally found in the environment, being used to make various products such as bread, cakes and cookies.
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In addition to this, some cheeses may also contain live cultures of microorganisms with probiotics' health benefits, and it is important to read the nutritional labeling to confirm whether or not this type of cheese contains these bacteria.

Experts say that to maintain healthy intestinal flora, it is advisable to consume at least 1 probiotic source food per day, especially after the use of antibiotics that end up affecting the healthy intestinal flora. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and a kefir a day guarantees probiotics' health benefits. That's not a rhyme, it's a fact!

Probiotic Supplements

In addition to food, probiotics can also be consumed as supplements and there are several presentations: capsules, liquids or sachets, which must be diluted in water or natural juices to be consumed.

You will find many commercial names, all of them containing the right amount of probiotics' health benefits.

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There are several types of supplements, which include between 1 to 10 different types of probiotics. The most important are usually:

  • Bifidobacteria animalis: helps strengthen the immune system, as well as facilitating digestion and fighting bacteria transmitted by ingesting contaminated food;
  • Bifidobacteria bifidum: are present in the small and large intestine, helping in the digestion of dairy products;
  • Bifidobacteria breve: are present in the intestine and vaginal tract helping to fight bacterial and fungal infections;
  • Bifidobacteria longum: is one of the most common types of probiotics in the intestine and helps eliminate toxins from the body;
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: is perhaps the most important type of probiotics, as it aids in the absorption of various nutrients, as well as fighting infections and facilitating digestion. L. acidophilus are also present in the vagina, helping to fight infections;
  • Lactobacillus reuteri: are present especially in the mouth, stomach and small intestine, being important against Helicobacter pylori infection;
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus: they are present in the intestine and can help to quickly combat cases of diarrhea, especially when traveling to other countries. It can also help treat acne, eczema and candida;
  • Lactobacillus fermentum: help neutralize products and toxins released during digestion, improving the environment for the growth of intestinal flora;
  • Saccharomyces boulardii: helps treat antibiotics for traveler's diarrhea.

The greater the diversity of probiotics, as well as the number of bacteria within each tablet, the better the supplement will be and the better the probiotics' health benefits, as it will facilitate the balance and faster development of a healthy intestinal flora.

How they should be ingested?

It is recommended that the supplement has between 2 to 10 billion active bacteria, being important to read the label of the product that should indicate the amount of organisms per dose, what type of bacteria it has because it is important to choose the one that is best according to the problem to be treated and in what dose it should be taken.

It is important to try the supplement for about 4 weeks, if there is no improvement during this period, the ideal would be to try a different supplement. Probiotics should be ingested before or after a meal, so that the food helps the bacteria to survive the gastric acid and reach the intestine, where they can multiply more easily.

It is important to remember that in addition to the consumption of probiotics in the form of supplements or foods rich in these bacteria, it is also important to maintain a healthy diet rich in fiber, since fiber is the main food for probiotics, favoring their survival in the intestine.

Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics?

While probiotics are healthy bacteria that inhabit the gut, prebiotics are fibers that serve as food for probiotics and promote their survival and proliferation in the gut.

Some examples of natural prebiotics are oats, onion, garlic, green plantain and green plantain biomass.

So, there is no doubt about how good probiotics are. They are in our body but consuming supplements or foods rich in them helps our body maintain balance and give us the best it has every day. Have you already chosen how to consume them?

You may be interested at: Why Doing Yoga 15 Minutes a Day Could Change your Life?

Agostina Martino

Fashion and textile designer. Working on sustainability. Entrepreneur, creative and university teacher.

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