Tuesday, February 6, 2024

How To Get Good Probiotics

What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics

Good to Know: Can taking probiotics improve our health to help us lead better lives?

Two of the biggest reasons to consume probiotics are to prevent or manage GI issues and to lower your odds of catching a bug. “If you’re traveling or stressed, or not eating or sleeping well, that’s when you’ll notice that probiotics really work,” Dr. Merenstein says. But newer research suggests that probiotics also have the potential to help prevent or treat other conditions, such as high cholesterol, allergies, and even anxiety. Probiotics have such far-reaching effects because your gut does, too: It houses more nerve endings than any place in the body , and it’s ground zero for your immune system’s function.

As you may know, to build a strong immune system, people need exposure to a wide variety of microorganisms, something modern-day Americans don’t typically get. Plus, we use antimicrobials found in some soaps and even toothpaste that kill good bacteria as well as bad. Probiotics may fill the gap, says Hill.

How Do Probiotics Work

The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral. When you are sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better.

Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also:

  • Help your body digest food.
  • Keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick.
  • Create vitamins.
  • Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed from entering your blood.
  • Breakdown and absorb medications.

This balancing act is naturally happening in your body all of the time. You dont actually need to take probiotic supplements to make it happen. Good bacteria is just a natural part of your body. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber every day helps to keep the number of good bacteria at proper levels.

Conditions Related To Allergy

Allergic Rhinitis

  • A review of 23 studies in which probiotics were tested for treating allergic rhinitis found some evidence that they may be helpful for improving symptoms and quality of life. However, because the studies tested different probiotics and measured different effects, no recommendations about the use of probiotics could be made. Few side effects of probiotics were reported in these studies.

Asthma

  • A review of 11 studies of probiotics for asthma in children had inconclusive results.

Atopic Dermatitis

  • Atopic dermatitis is an itchy chronic skin disorder thatâs associated with allergies but not caused by them. Itâs most common in infants and may start as early as age 2 to 6 months. Many people outgrow it by early adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is one of several types of eczema.
  • A 2017 review of 13 studies of probiotics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in infants and children did not find consistent evidence of a beneficial effect. A review of 9 studies in adults provided preliminary evidence that some strains of probiotics might be beneficial for symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Prevention of Allergies

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What Is The Gut Microbiome

Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microbes . These microbes live everywhere on your body, from your skin to inside your nose, but the biggest concentration is in your gut. Among other things, your gut microbiome:

  • Digests and gets energy from your food

  • Makes vitamins

  • Is an important part of your immune system

  • Protects you from disease-causing microbes

We are still learning a lot about gut health. But we know a healthy gut usually has a healthy diversity of different microbes, and our diet has a big impact on that diversity. This is important because our gut microbiome has an impact on our health, both in and outside of the intestine. Changes in our microbiome, for example, have been linked to chronic diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and even cancer.

How Might Probiotics Work

Probiotic

Probiotics may have a variety of effects in the body, and different probiotics may act in different ways.

Probiotics might:

  • Help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or help your bodyâs community of microorganisms return to a healthy condition after being disturbed
  • Produce substances that have desirable effects
  • Influence your bodyâs immune response.

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How Many Billion Probiotics Should I Take

Probiotics are measured by Colony Forming Units , which essentially indicate the number of viable cells. A probiotic supplement should have around 10 billion CFUs as this is the dose required to reduce the duration of diarrhea in children.

Not only is dose important but delivery as well. Many probiotic products do not protect the probiotics inside from stomach acid which kills many of the probiotics inside before they make it to the gut.

Look for probiotics with an enteric coating or some kind of delayed-release mechanisms to maximize the effective probiotic dose you are getting.

In addition to the dose, you need to consider the diversity of your probiotics. Many probiotics have one, two or just a couple strains or types of probiotics.

Studies have shown that more diverse formulations of probiotics with multiple strains of probiotics is more helpful than single strain probiotics.

How To Get More Probiotics Into Your Diet

Adding a few servings of probiotic-rich foods to your daily diet can be an easy and effective way to give your gut microbiome a boost while also improving overall health and youll find you feel better consuming these foods too.

To get started, try making a few simple swaps in the foods you eat. For example, you can switch out soda, juice or energy drinks for fermented beverages such as kombucha instead. You can also trade regular yogurt for probiotic yogurt and substitute raw milk or cheese in place of regular cheese or milk products as well.

Alternatively, try using a few of the best probiotic foods in your favorite recipes to add a bit of extra flavor and variety to your weekly rotation. Tempeh works well as a meatless main dish, sauerkraut can be served as a savory spread and apple cider vinegar makes a great addition to salad dressings and vinaigrettes.

Regardless of how you choose to get in your daily dose of these natural probiotic foods, the trick is to get creative and dont be afraid to experiment with new ingredients to make healthy and delicious meals.

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How Probiotics Can Benefit Your Health

Research has shown that our gut microbes play a significant role in regulating our health, mental health, and weight.

And additional research has suggested a way we might mend this imbalance: by eating fermented foods full of probiotics

Studies have found natural probiotics can help alleviate IBS and IBD symptoms, anxiety symptoms, reduces risk of eczema in infants, and may help reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.

Another major benefit of probiotics is that they may help regulate weight. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that overweight women who were put on a calorie-restricted diet and given a probiotic supplement for 12 weeks showed significantly higher weight loss than those given a placebo.

A possible mechanism, described by a summary in the journal Gut, is that probiotic foods help rebalance your gut bugs by creating an environment where the good guys can regain strength. The A-lister usually mentioned is yogurt, but the probiotic foods we’re about to discuss go way beyond breakfast.

Misconceptions About Probiotic Foods

Probiotics can bring good bacteria to your gut

There are several misconceptions about probiotic foods.

Just because some food types can contain probiotics, it does not mean they all do. For example, not all yogurts contain live and active cultures. The ones that do are usually clearly marked.

Also, not all fermented foods contain live cultures. Examples of fermented foods that do not have probiotics include:

  • beer
  • soya sauce
  • wine

These and other foods like them go through additional processing that inactivates the live cultures. Examples of these processes include baking, filtering, or pasteurization.

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Make Sure To Eat Your Vegetables

Especially the leafy green ones! Vegetables are loaded with fibres, which cannot be digested by people but are consumed by the good bacteria in your gut. It has been observed that people who follow a diet rich with fruits and vegetables are less likely to grow disease-causing bacteria. Some great examples of vegetables that feed your microbes are:

  • Leeks
  • Artichokes

Signs You Are Taking Too Many Probiotics

Generally, probiotics are safe, but you can have too much of a good thing.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that have been found to help promote better digestive health and support your immune system. These microorganisms exist in your intestines and help to break down food, absorb nutrients, and minimize harmful bacteria that may otherwise cause disease. You can get more probiotics by incorporating probiotic-rich foods or supplements into your diet. Foods containing probiotics include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir.

Many people take probiotic supplements for additional health benefits as they offer higher doses of probiotics than probiotic-rich foods. Generally, probiotics are safe, but you can have too much of a good thing. Lets take a look at the four common signs that you may be taking too many probiotics.

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Want More Great Gut Health Content

What’s your favourite way to get probiotics into your diet? Comment below and let us know…

Tracey Randell is a qualified Nutritionist and certified Institute for Functional Medicine practitioner . She lectures at the nutrition college where she trained on various subjects including IBS, Celiac disease, the gut-brain axis and food intolerances. She also offers post graduate training to other health care professionals.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

Do Probiotics Have Side Effects

Good Health Naturally Probiotic 14 120 Capsules

Probiotics may increase bloating, gas, or a change in bowel movements depending on the strain and your personal response to it.

Nearly everyone can take probiotics, but if you have a digestive disorder such as celiac disease, talk to a doctor first. Also, check ingredients on the label if you have a food or drug allergy to minimize your risk of a reaction.

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Lifeway Lite Probiotic Farmer Cheese

If you’re a lactose-intolerant cheese lover, this kefir-based, crumbly salad-topper may be for you. Kefir, a tangy, sour-tasting drink made from fermented cow’s milk, is 99 percent lactose-free and is packed with probiotics for a happy, healthy belly.

The Bottom Line: This cheese is a go! “This product is minimally processed and is a good source of calcium. Overall, it’s not a bad way to get some probiotics in,” says Koszyk.

Signs You Are Taking Too Many Probiotics: 2 Gas

Gas and bloating often go hand in hand. The digestive process itself normally produces gas. The average person passes gas 13 to 21 times per day.

Gas in your GI tract comes from air that you swallow or by the break down of undigested foods by bacteria in your colon . Normally, as bacteria digest food in your gut, gas is released. Certain foods, particularly those high in fiber, cause more gas production than others.

Probiotic supplements essentially provide your gut with more of the good digestive bacteria. Overdosing on that bacteria can cause increased gas .

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If You Can Breastfeed For At Least 6 Months

A babys microbiome begins to properly develop at birth. However, studies suggest that babies may be exposed to some bacteria even before birth .

During the first 2 years of life, an infants microbiome is continuously developing and is rich in beneficial Bifidobacteria, which can digest the sugars found in breast milk .

Many studies have shown that infants who are fed formula have an altered microbiome with fewer Bifidobacteria than infants who are breastfed (

38 ).

A number of studies have shown that vegetarian diets may benefit the gut microbiome, which may be due to their high fiber content.

For example, one small 2013 study found that a vegetarian diet led to reduced levels of disease-causing bacteria in people with obesity, as well as reductions in body weight, inflammation, and cholesterol levels .

A 2019 review noted that plant foods are rich in specific nutrients that can increase levels of beneficial bacteria and decrease harmful strains of bacteria to support gut health .

However, it is unclear if the benefits of a vegetarian diet on the gut microbiome are due to a lack of meat intake or if other factors may also play a role.

Summary

Vegetarian and vegan diets may improve the microbiome. However, it is unclear if the positive effects associated with these diets can be attributed to a lack of meat intake or if other factors may be involved.

Make Yogurt A Kitchen Staple

Are Probiotics Good For You?

Plain yogurt with live active cultures can also be transformed from a breakfast food into a key ingredient in salad dressings, dips, and cold sauces, says Kitty Broihier, MS, RD, LD, a nutrition consultant in Portland, Maine.

Just know that any recipe that requires heating the yogurt in any way is going to kill off its good bacteria. So stick to no-cook recipes to reap the most gut benefits, Broihier says.

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Eat More Plants And Dietary Fiber

Almost every gut expert Ive read says that changing our diet is the best and most direct route we have for transforming our gut bacteria. They differ on whether or not to include fruits or grains however, the opinions are unequivocal on eating more plants especially green leafy vegetables.

By eating more plants, we achieve and maintain microbiota diversity which is going to lead to a clearer mind and happier disposition. Just as sugar is processed too easily and therefore starves our microbes, dietary fiber, or MACs a term the Sonnenburgs use throughout their book give our little guys plenty to feast on. Consuming plenty of MACs will not only keep our intestinal lining intact, but it will also help us sustain a more varied collection of bacteria, which is paramount to good health.

Foods That Boost Your Gut Health Naturally

Ideally, you should aim to include a range of prebiotic, probiotic and fibrous foods in your diet. This is likely to be cheaper than relying on supplements too.

As the image below shows, prebiotic foods include apples, bananas, onion, asparagus and leeks, while easy sources of probiotics are yoghurt and fermented foods.

Variety is key, but make sure you introduce food that you are unfamiliar with gradually to avoid any side effects.

Dont forget the fibre either: its not as trendy as some of the newer gut health products, but most of us could do with adding more fibre to our diet. Good sources are fruit and veg, beans and pulses, and whole grains.

Its thought that we need to consume around 30g of fibre per day, but the average Brit consumes an estimated 18g a day.

There is strong evidence that eating lots of fibre lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bowel cancer and more.

It also helps you feel fuller for longer, and can aid digestion and in preventing constipation. Many fibrous foods are also prebiotic, making these choices a win-win for digestive health

Thanks to Dr Simon Gaisford, Dr Samantha Gill, Dr Megan Rossi and Priya Tew for their contributions to this article.

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Potential Side Effects Of Probiotics

According to a stu cvdy, probiotics are well tolerated with no safety concerns. However, same as any other supplement, they can cause side effects in overly sensitive pets. Luckily, the side effects are mild and transient and usually revolve around GI tract upsets loose stool or constipation, bloating, and gassiness.

The chances of developing side effects are higher when introducing new strains or switching probiotic brands. Side effects are also more likely to occur if the supplementation includes high doses, sudden implementation, and low-quality products.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Probiotic Bacteria

Get the Best Probiotic Supplements at Tropical Holistics

Though there are many types of bacteria that can be considered probiotics, there are two specific types of bacteria that are common probiotics found in stores. These include:

  • Lactobacillus.
  • Bifidobacterium.

Probiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is:

  • Saccharomyces boulardii.

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Put Miso Soup On Your Menu

Miso soup is easy to make with hot water and miso paste, and it adds a probiotic punch to any meal. In Japan, it can be served at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Miso is fermented soy that contains healthy bacteria, says Gabriella Vetere, RDN, CSOWM, a California-based medical health coach in the corporate setting in Silicon Valley.

Just remember that high temperatures can kill probiotics, which eliminates their health boost. Add the miso paste just before serving and avoid too-hot temperatures to preserve as many beneficial microorganisms as possible.

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