Do you need to improve your digestion? Taking natural probiotics can help you achieve this because it is considered restore bacterial balance in the intestines.
Find out what other benefits are attributed to these widely talked about microorganisms, as well as the foods through which you can add them naturally to your diet.
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What are probiotics?
To explain what probiotics are, the presence of good and bad bacteria in nature is a good start. Probiotics belong to the first group. It is about beneficial microorganisms that live in the body and they would play an important role in general health.
Probiotics reduce the number of bad bacteria. In this way, help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria levels in the intestines. In addition, these bacteria and yeasts have been associated with many other health benefits. Some people take them to:
- Treat diarrhea, constipation, and gas. They are often used together with antibiotics to combat their side effects on the normal functioning of the intestines.
- Treat symptoms of ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome
- Strengthen the immune system
- Alleviate lactose intolerance
- Prevent cavities
- Improve brain function
- Prevent allergies
- Protect against bacterial infections
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce cholesterol
- Relieve symptoms of eczema or psoriasis
- Relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
- Promote general health
Are they the same as prebiotics
No, and it is necessary not to confuse them with prebiotics. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics do not harbor live bacteria. Instead, what prebiotic foods do is provide a series of ingredients to the good bacteria already in your gut so that they can grow. Asparagus, oats, and legumes are prebiotic foods.
Do they work?
There are many people who claim to have experienced an improvement in their health (especially in the gastrointestinal tract) after taking probiotics. But there is also a high number of researchers who, despite recognizing certain benefits, believe that more studies are still needed in relation to all the advantages to which they are associated. On the other hand, it is important to note that there are many types of probiotics. Its effects on the body are different depending on the kind of probiotic in question.
How to get natural probiotics
You can get probiotics through fermented foods. Yogurts are the most popular source of natural probiotics. They are advised to strengthen the bones. And the low-fat and low-sugar versions are often included in weight loss plans, especially for lunch or a snack.
But while perhaps the most accessible, yogurt is not the only probiotic food. There are other good sources of probiotics for your diet that are worth considering:
- Kefir: Considered one of the best sources of probiotics, kefir is a fermented milk drink native to the Caucasus. It is prepared by adding kefir nodules to cow's or goat's milk. It is generally well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance, but if you need to do without milk, alternatives such as water kefir are worth highlighting. You can make it yourself at home or buy ready-made kefir at the supermarket.
- Sauerkraut: It is fermented cabbage. Korean kimchi is another probiotic food prepared with this food (among other vegetables).
- miso: It is a Japanese pasta made with various fermented cereals. Associated with important health benefits, it is used mainly in miso soup.
- Certain cheeses: Mozzarella, cheddar, cottage, gouda ... Despite its benefits, cheese should always be eaten in moderation.
- Fermented pickles: To produce a probiotic effect, they must have been made without vinegar.
- tempeh: It is a typical Indonesian fermented soybean. In the rest of the world it has become a food highly valued for its richness in protein, especially by people who follow a vegetarian diet.
- Certain juices
Probiotics can have some side effects, usually minor. In some cases they can produce mild gas and bloating. If they affect you this way, try reducing the amounts.
About probiotic supplements
There are many ways to obtain probiotics through diet, but it is also possible to provide probiotics to the body through food supplements. In capsule, powder, or liquid form, supplements make obtaining probiotics more convenient. However, they are not at the same nutritional level as probiotic foods.
Lastly, as with many supplements, taking them may not be safe for you. Before you start taking probiotic or supplements of any kind, it is advisable to consult with the doctor, especially in the case of pregnant or lactating women.