Probiotics are living microorganisms that live in your gut, they are called friendly because they improve your health and immune system. They have a wide range of important and amazing health benefits.
Some of the functions of these bacteria are the production of vitamin K2, B12, and butyrate; they also overcrowd bad microbes and kill them, they create and secret enzymes that kill harmful microbes and invading pathogens, and they stimulate the secretion of regulatory T-cells and IgA which supports a healthy immune system.
These beneficial bacteria line the tract of your digestive system and they increase the ability of your body to absorb nutrients from foods. Your gut is so important for your general health because it contains the same number of gut bacteria as the cells in your body.
80% of your immune system is found in your gut, when the levels of probiotics in your gut is reduced, this leads to a weak immune system and makes your body susceptible to all kinds of infections and illnesses.
The gut is also called the second brain because the second largest part of the neurological system is the digestive system. This combination is called the enteric nervous system and it is located in the gut. Your gut has a significant effect on your mood and brain functions because it creates 95% of the serotonin in your body.
Another name for probiotics is “good bacteria” because they have great health benefits. Your gut and skin alone are home to over 2,000 different types of bacteria.
They maintain the healthy balance of probiotics in your gut, this prevents the bad bacteria from outnumbering them thereby boosting your immune system and improving your overall health.
The health benefits of probiotics are one of the most widely researched natural solutions to diseases and gut health and for years scientists have gotten a lot of information and positive results showing that these good bacteria actually improves the health and treat ailments.
This post will tell you the important things you need to know about this ignored and not-well-known nutrient.
10 Health Benefits of Probiotics
1. Boost the Digestive System
This is the major benefit of probiotics, they improve the functions of your digestive system and keep your gut healthy. They prevent and treat gastrointestinal diseases and they cut the risks of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Probiotics treat different types of diarrhea like the traveler’s diarrhea, acute, diarrhea, and antibiotic-induced diarrhea, and other types or forms of diarrhea.
They reduce the pain and severity of digestive diseases like IBS, ulcer, and pouchitis.
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2. Protect Infants
Probiotics protect infants by preventing serious diseases in infants like neonatal sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis. Premature babies are prone to these conditions and they also have a low birth weight (LBW) or very low birth weight (VLBW).
When a pregnant woman consumes an adequate amount of probiotics, it makes her baby healthy and reduces the risks of all these conditions.
3. Prevent Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health and one effective way we can prevent and treat this is to increase our intake of probiotics.
Bacteria become resistan to antibiotics when we abuse and overtake them. The regular intake of probiotics will help one correct a poor variety of healthy bacteria in the gut, it also increases the effectiveness of antibiotics.
4. Treat Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a medical condition characterized by a buildup of fatty matter in the liver, this can lead to liver failure and death.
Probiotics can prevent and treat this condition, these healthy bacteria prevent the formation of this fatty matter in the liver and it also improves the functions and health of the liver.
5. Treat Mental Illness
Remember I said your gut is your second brain, this connection between your brain and your gut can be used to treat mental problems and cognitive decline.
They are specific probiotics that enhance brain functions and health and they are called “pschyhobiotics”. They have a very strong anti-inflammatory property and this help prevent and treat a lot of mental problems.
They treat anxiety, depression, autism, and other brain-related problems.
6. Fights Cancer
There are certain strains of probiotics that help fight cancer, most especially cancers of the digestive system such as colon cancer. They have anticarcinogenic actions.
7. Boost the Immune System
Probiotics boost your immune system by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut, this helps fight off pathogens and improve immune response.
They also stop chronic inflammation which is the root cause of chronic diseases. 80% of your immune system lies in your gut, this means probiotics control 80% of your immune system thereby preventing immune problems and infections.
In fact, studies are going on to see how probiotics can be of help to HIV patients.
8. Treat Kidney Stones
Species of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus help to break down oxalate stones, one of the main causes of kidney stones.
Probiotics are also employed in the treatment of urinary tract infections.
9. Prevent Food Allergy
Probiotics help prevent and treat food allergies even in infants. Studies have shown that a poor quantity of probiotics in the gut of infants leads to food allergies in the first 2 years of their life.
They help relieve the symptoms of food allergies because they have the ability to stop chronic inflammation in your gut. Allergies are caused by over reaction of the immune system and probiotics have the ability to control immune responses.
10. Treat Arthritis
Poor gut health is one of the root cause of inflammatory conditions and autoimmune responses like rheumatoid arthritis. Probiotics stop the inflammation and correct abnormal or overreactive immune response.
Rich Sources of Probiotics
Natural sources of probiotics are fermented foods and grains. Foods that are sour or fermented have a rich content of probiotics. Examples of probiotic-rich foods are goat milk, Kombucha, coconut kefir, and any fermented grain.
Another way to increase your level of probiotics is to increase your intake of fiber-rich foods, fiber serves as foods for the probiotics and they are called “Prebiotics”.
Fiber-rich foods are fruits and vegetables, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and sweet potatoes. In severe medical conditions and when prescribed by a medical doctor, you can take a quality probiotic supplement.
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There are lots of strains of probiotics and the one you take depends on your condition and what you want to treat.
Regular intake of probiotic-rich foods will prevent dysbiosis, a condition characterized by unbalanced levels of microbes in the gut. Doctors agree that the healthy levels of flora in the gut should be 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria.
If this ratio gets out of balance, it leads to dysbiosis and other health conditions.