You are unique and so is your body! Before starting any new health routine, always be sure to talk with your doctor to make sure it is right for your needs.
“Probiotics” is one of the buzziest buzz words of the last decade, but are they worth the hype and expense?
What are Probiotics and How Do They Work?
As most of us know by now, a probiotic is a supplement that contains live beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts (can be different strains or a combination) for your gut microbiome, which is a fancy word for the vast, diverse collection of bacteria that live in your stomach, intestines, lungs, etc.
A true probiotic will:
- Be isolated from a human
- Survive in your intestine after being eaten
- Have a proven benefit to you
- Be safely consumed
While the thought of “good bacteria” inside may alarm you, the reality is that without these microscopic organisms, we could not digest our food, fight off illness and perform many other important daily functions.
You constantly have both good and bad bacteria all over the inside and outside of your body. When you become sick or get an infection, there’s more bad bacteria, knocking your system out of balance. Good bacteria helps eliminate extra bad bacteria, returning the balance. So probiotics are a good way to add helpful bacteria back to your system and restore balance.
How To Increase Your Good Bacteria
You can increase your good bacteria through food, drinks and supplements. Foods that will help bump up your good bug population include fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi and pickles. Fermented drinks like kombucha and kefir can also help increase your good bacteria. You can also include a probiotic supplement in your routine to give your gut a goodness infusion. There are countless options available, so you should talk with your doctor to determine which product is right for you.
The Types of Probiotics Out There
There are a seemingly endless number of probiotic brands to choose from, and you can take your probiotic a number of different ways, from drinks to powders to capsules. However, they are not all created equal.
Some are shelf-stable while others require refrigeration. You will also notice that different strains of bacteria are included, which can help create more biodiversity in your gut. A great place to begin your research is by simply going to your local health foods store, like Health Foods Unlimited.
And be sure to talk with your doctor about what’s right for you. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether a probiotic is right for your health needs and also help you determine which kind to take and how much/often.
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