Probiotics Types and Benefits 2016 Guide
A healthy lifestyle triggers a bundle of goodies. Healthy eating, regular exercising and the lack of bad habits like smoking, sleep skipping and drinking will get you more focus, improved vitality and energy as well as a good mood.
However, there are moments when even if we include all of the above-mentioned into our lives, health issues occur. The reasons are various. One of them is the lack of balance between good and bad bacteria in our intestines.
Here’s where probiotics come into sight. What are they and what benefits one gets when using them are the things we focus on today.
What are probiotics?
The human body is home to trillions of microorganisms. A great part of them is located in our guts. Experts say that 90% of these tiny life forms are good for our health. They add that the more strains of good bacteria you have, the better for your health.
Therefore, probiotics are live microscopic organisms and yeasts located in your guts. They are useful for our well-being, particularly our digestive system. Their name means pro-life, which sums up their benefits.
It is not uncommon the fact that people who suffer from digestive health issues have more bad bacteria than good ones. Plus, one’s overall health is affected when there’s no balance between the good and bad bacteria.
90% of our immune system is located in our guts, which means that when bad bacteria take over, our immunity weakens, and thus, we become more vulnerable to diseases, and infections.
Our immune system is the most important shield against diseases and viruses. This is why keeping a good balance between good and bad bacteria, is of such a great importance.
According to some experts, the ideal balance is around 85% of good bacteria and 15% of bad bacteria.
Types of probiotics
There are many types of bacteria classified as probiotics. Each of them comes with different benefits, and there are two well-known groups: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
The first one is probably the most common probiotic, and it can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains of Lactobacillus are said to help with diarrhea and bring benefits to people who cannot digest lactose, the sugar found in milk.
Bifidobacterium can be found in some dairy products. This type of probiotics is said to help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions.
What do probiotics do?
Although further research is needed before knowing precisely which probiotics are best for certain health conditions, experts have concluded that some conditions they treat include the following:
- Antibiotic-related diarrhea;
- Inflammatory bowel disease;
- Irritable bowel syndrome;
- Infectious diarrhea.
The benefits of probiotics
Aside from the benefits mentioned above, the use of probiotics is associated with some other health advantages. Here they go:
- Improved immunity – the lack of balance between good and bad bacteria is said to affect one’s immune system. Since our immunity is the main barrier we build against diseases and infections, it is highly important to keep a sound balance of good and bad microorganisms, and thus, improve our immunity. If the number of good bacteria is higher than the one of the bad bacteria, your immune system will be stronger. This means you will be more successful in keeping diseases and infections at bay.
- Probiotics improve energy, skin and hair health –When your bad bacteria level is high, your body’s ability to absorb might weaken. When that happens, the vitamins and minerals you need for your body to function properly and feel good won’t get into your system. Keep a sound level of good bacteria and help your body to absorb the nutrients in your food. You won’t just enjoy an improvement in the way you feel but the way you look as well. A good absorption will lead to improved vitality, better-looking skin, and health.
- Probiotics regulate bowel movements and might help with weight loss. People who’ve used probiotics have noticed an improvement in keeping bowel movements regular and have treated constipation. As a result, they have reduced their weight and belly fats. Probiotics are said to reduce yearnings for liquor, sugar and carbohydrates. If these substances no longer enter your body, you should see some changes in your weight and lose fats.
Sources of probiotics
Probiotics are naturally found in our bodies but we can increase their level when low, with certain foods or even supplements. Important sources of good bacteria include Kefir, lassi (an Indian yogurt), yogurt, natto, sauerkraut, Tempeh (like thick veggie burgers, tempeh is produced using cooked matured soybeans), and raw vegetables.
Most doctors recommend such foods as sources of probiotics. If your situation requires the use of a supplement, too, you should make sure your doctor approves it as, though generally accepted as being safe, foods or supplements rich in probiotics might not be recommended to people that have certain health conditions.
Among the side effects of probiotics supplements, the most common include gas, diarrhea, upset stomach, and bloating.
These effects usually last only for a couple of days after you start them. If you notice any unusual symptoms, make sure to let your doctor know about it and stop taking them if needed.
Probiotics supplements – storage tips
If your doctor prescribes you probiotic supplements, make sure you store your supplements as prescribed since most probiotics are steady just for restricted periods when stored under cool and dry conditions.
A large portion of them are freeze-dried microbial powders that contain dormant microorganisms, and their feasibility is dependent on the particular properties of the bacteria, how they are delivered (tablets, containers, or loose powder), and on the way they are packaged (free in a bottle or separately in foil/foil wraps) and stored.
If probiotics contact dampness, oxygen, and warmth, irreversible damage to microbial cells happens.
When looking for a compelling probiotic supplement, you should pay attention to the way the product is packaged, make sure it’s one that guarantees product viability and look for data from the manufacturer regarding this.