Probiotics have taken the world by storm, and in the recent years, they have become increasingly popular in the form of a supplement. But how exactly do probiotics work, and how do they help keep you healthy? Read on to find out.
How Do Probiotics Work?
The body needs a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria to keep functioning normally. When the population of the bad bacteria in the body increases, an infection may take place. Probiotics work by giving the body a dose of the good bacteria, which in turn, fight the bad bacteria in the body and restore health and well-being.
Health Benefits of Probiotic Use
You may have heard about the fact that probiotics are good for you, but how exactly do they help you? Keep reading to find out.
Improved Digestive Health
Better digestive health is one of the most widely known benefits associated with the use of probiotics. Probiotics ensure a healthy balance of bacteria in the digestive tract and therefore make digestion of food easier. Many studies have also shown that regular consumption of probiotic rich foods could help individuals deal with many problems associated with the digestive system including-
Protection from Allergies
It may sound strange, but yes, the consumption of probiotics may also help strengthen the body and protect it from allergic reactions. Infact, a high quality study has also found that women who consume probiotics during pregnancy experienced 30 percent reduced risk of their kid suffering from childhood eczema, which is a form of allergic reaction.
Individuals suffering from seasonal allergies can also experience up-to 50 percent relief from the symptoms after consumption of probiotic rich foods.
Better Urinary Health
Individuals suffering from urinary tract infections can notice improvement in their symptoms after the consumption of probiotic rich foods, studies have found. Infact, regular probiotic use was also found to prevent the bad bacteria from attacking the walls of the urinary tract and causing an infection.
Improved Women’s Health
The vagina, just similar to the digestive tract, needs to have a balance of the good and the bad bacteria, and that’s where probiotics come in. Several studies have found that l.acidophilus, a type of bacteria which is present in most probiotic foods, can helps prevent a vaginal infection and also help support antibiotics if given as a treatment option for an already existing infection.
It is also speculated that probiotics may play a role in maintaining maternal health- pregnant women are at a higher risk of vaginal infections, and probiotic use can reduce its risk. It may also reduce the risk of pre-term labor and therefore prove to be a boon to fetal health.
Not many people know about it, but probiotics are also thought to maintain a good balance of intestinal flora, which in turn, keeps the immune system healthy. Consumption of probiotic rich foods was found to increase the production of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells) in the test subjects.
Protection from Obesity
A study from the Stanford University conducted in 2006 found that the gut bacteria of obese individuals were different from that of those who had a healthy weight. Following this, many studies confirmed the fact that obese individuals who consumed probiotics were able to shed weight more efficiently.
If you’re one of those who get that instant mental image of a cup of yogurt whenever you hear the term ‘probiotics,’ you may find it shocking that probiotics aren’t just limited to it- there are many more foods that turn out to be a good source of healthy bacteria that work wonderfully in improving many aspects of your health.
Some common probiotics that you could add to your daily meals include-
- Miso soup (fermented soybean paste)
- Kimchi (a type of pickle)
- Kombucha tea
- Soft cheese (fermented ones like gouda)
- Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)
- Kefir (dairy product similar to yogurt)
A good way to use these is to look up these on Google, and find some ways to include them in your food preparations.