Anti-bacterial cleaning wipes have been a popular item this year as we all work to keep ourselves and our belongings clean from germs and bacteria.
Ironically while the bacteria we are wiping off with these wipes is no doubt gross (and should be kept away from our mouths), some bacteria we intentionally eat – and to great benefits.
Probiotics are live bacteria found in some foods and supplements that have been found to treat and prevent some illnesses – particularly in our guts.
How do probiotics work?
In a simple sense probiotics are the “good bacteria” that fight to maintain a healthy balance in your body. A big aspect of probiotics benefits comes with its ability to help your body digest food while limiting gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other digestion concerns.
What foods contain probiotics?
The most popularly noted source of probiotics is yogurt. Because yogurt is widely available and comes in many different brands and flavors, it is an easy choice.
Here are a couple of other common sources of probiotics that come with their own stipulations to watch for:
- Cheese – most types of cheese are minimally beneficial as a source of probiotics, but fermented soft cheeses are thought to be acceptable sources.
- Pickles – these must be naturally fermented, not the vinegar kind we commonly see.
- Sauerkraut – important to choose the unpasteurized kind here.
How probiotics connect to the gut
According to research shared by Harvard, the following conditions, as well as a few others are believed to be aided by the consumption of probiotics:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Vaginal infections
- Urinary tract infections
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a gut and brain connection disorder, is a chronic disorder with an unknown cause. However, recent research has suggested that an imbalance in the intestinal microbiota and problematic function of the intestinal barrier. In other words, a lack of balance in your body.
Many of your digestive processes are reliant on having the correct balance of bacteria, and IBS may be no different. To fill the gap and effectively better balance your diet, probiotic consumption can help restore this natural balance.
Whether you have been dealing with digestion issues or not, adding probiotics to your diet can be a great way to increase the effectiveness of your gut.