Do you wonder if probiotics are really worth the time and money? 

Well….how would you rate your gut health right now? 

If you’re one of the thousands of women who have consistent problems with digestion, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or any other issues with their gut, that answer would be a resounding “YES”!!

 

All disease begins in the gut

 

– Hippocrates –

The health of your gut can have an extreme impact on your level of energy, how quickly you recover from illness, and a lot of other daily details that influence your quality of life.

 

One of the best ways to give your gut some love is to use probiotics.

 

If you’re wondering how these microorganisms work together to give you a healthier life, then read on to discover how to heal your gut with probiotics.

What Are Probiotics?

If you’re not familiar with the concept of probiotics, then you’ll be happy to know that they could be a step towards some relief for your gut issues.

Let’s start by talking about where the belief in these tiny organisms began.

image of bacteria

To put it simply, probiotics are bacteria that are thought to have a positive effect on the microbiome in the gut.  

Interestingly, the use of probiotics can be traced back to the first creations of cheese. In the early days of humanity, fermentation processes were used to help preserve foods that were considered to be valuable, primarily dairy products.

 

A Brief History of Probiotics

 

In the early 1900’s, a scientist by the name of Élie Metchnikoff found that the build-up of large numbers of certain bacteria could cause a toxic effect on the gut. These harmful bacteria tend to live interwoven with an overabundance of trapped feces in the large intestine. 

Metchnikoff’s primary goal was to modify the populations of microorganisms by introducing specific bacteria that could combat the harmful bacteria populations that are responsible for the complex tasks of breaking down or causing the rot of excess materials in the gut.

He then hypothesized that the human gut would benefit by ingesting microflora.

Metchnikoff also noticed that people who regularly drank fermented milk seemed to live longer. During this time, it became popular to drink sour milk that had been fermented using a bacteria called Lactobacillales.

This practice became so popular that doctors began giving their patients instructions to drink this particular sour milk for all sorts of ailments.

 

old fashioned milk can

What Probiotics Can Do

While it’s important to note that many people have different results with any treatment, it seems clear that probiotics have a serious place in health. With what has been discovered about the intestinal flora of infants, this information can’t be ignored, but what exactly can probiotics do?

 

Help Prevent or Reduce Diarrhea

 

As mentioned before, scientists discovered that diarrhea could be helped by introducing bacteria into the intestines of infants. 

Having such a sudden and inconvenient illness can certainly put a damper on your day. 

Ingesting some probiotics can help reduce the effects of diarrhea, often in less than a day. Some studies were even able to create effective relief in as little as 12 hours.

 

Stop Constipation

 

You might be wondering how can probiotics be able to stop diarrhea, and ALSO stop you from being stopped up?

man with stomach pain

Constipation and diarrhea can stem from a variety of factors. Hydration issues coupled with the overpopulation of some bacterial populations in your gut can have a massive influence on the way your body handles different foods.

The resulting wastes need to be eliminated from the body, but without the right bacteria to break things down, the wastes have a harder time moving down the line.

 

Eczema

 

There are a shocking number of people who suffer from the uncomfortable effects of eczema.

Over the last few decades, the continued research of diligent doctors looking for cures has found that probiotics can reduce the intensity of eczema. While it’s not completely understood, scientists believe that they may have found a solution to treating the condition, but further research is needed.

 

Level your Mood and Emotions

 

Science has been connecting diet and overall health to depression for years, but this is one component that most people might be surprised to hear.

Studies have revealed that there is some correlation between unbalanced gut flora and emotional issues. The 8 to 10-week studies involving the strains Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus saw some increases in cognitive efficiency and were shown to have helped to control anxiety and depression.

People who ingested the bacteria also saw some increase in memory function, but a lot more testing and funding for testing is needed before any long lasting conclusions can be reached from a scientific point of view.

 

Weight Control

 

One of the most important tasks that the body needs help to perform is the breakdown of the food you eat into its most simple pieces.

Bacteria that produce acids work quickly to break down many of the foods that you ingest so that your body can absorb the released nutrients.

gut bacteria image

When these tiny bits of chemicals pass through your intestines they are absorbed and sent to storage where they can be brought out at a later date to make repairs to your body, or as simple fuel to keep you alive and kicking.

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

 

Even though the mechanisms that control the reaction that your body has to stimuli aren’t fully understood, positive results have been discovered in connection with probiotics and IBS.

The introduction of helpful bacteria to the gut during testing have shown that it’s possible to slow down or even stop a lot of the inflammatory response that takes place in the gut of most IBS sufferers.

A 2012 study claimed that nearly half of its test subjects showed a decrease in discomfort and bloating. That is encouraging news for people who have to constantly find ways to deal with the inconsistency of living life at the mercy of disease.

 

 

Cholesterol

 

Adding probiotics to your daily regime can have a huge impact on not only your quality of life but also your longevity in general.

Doctors believe that introducing the Lactobacillales into the body helps the body to break down the concentrated lumps of cholesterol in the bloodstream. 

This may be because the bacteria prevent the broken down cholesterol from solidifying back into a mass that can deposit itself into a bottleneck in your bloodstream.

Cholesterol that remains in the bile form will be removed more efficiently and with much less effort, and you’ll be more likely to feel energized and ready for your day. 

 

Now that we’ve gone over why you should take probiotics, let’s look at a few easy ways you can add probiotics into your daily diet.

 

Probiotics Found in Food

Yogurt

Perhaps the most widely known source of probiotic flora in the world, is yogurt. Yogurt tends to contain  Lactobacillus delbrueckii. The acidic nature of the bacteria gives the yogurt it’s distinctive taste and coagulates the casein in the yogurt to give it a more solid texture.

yogurt in a bowl with berries

Kombucha

This popular drink is known for its lightly effervescent and sweet flavor as well as its probiotic content.

Kombucha is fermented black or green tea that contains the bacterium Saccharomyces, which is known for its ability to directly help with gastrointestinal issues. 

Kombucha originated in Northeast China (historically referred to as Manchuria) around 220 B.C., and has become so popular it can be purchased in most grocery stores.

 

kombucha in bottles

Sourdough

This type of bread is not only great tasting, but also very healthy for you, and will help you to avoid some of the processing associated with modern bread production today.

Sourdough is another food that makes a great use of Lactobacillus which makes it a good bread to eat when you have an upset or sensitive stomach.

sourdough bread

Sauerkraut

This cabbage mixture is a primarily European food that contains a helping of Lactobacillus.

This bacteria is famous for its ability to help people who are lactose intolerant to be able to deal with dairy more effectively.

sauerkraut

Fresh Peas

Peas are amazing little vegetables. You might not have ever known that peas contain a very powerful bacteria called Leuconostoc mesenteroides. This bacteria has the ability to stimulate your immune system to help your body defend itself from a wide variety of illnesses 

fresh peas

Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is very similar to the fermented milk back in the day. It contains important bacteria that can help you to process dairy, and also  break down more complex nutrients into their more simple parts for use in the body. These bacteria are called Propionibacterium.

 

milk kefir in glass

Final Thoughts

Your gut affects so many aspects of your day-to-day life and probiotics can help us with a number of health issues.  Everyone should include more probiotics into their diet, but especially if you are dealing with gut-related issues.

 

Resources:

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Probiotics, What You Need to Know

Dr. Josh Axe: Probiotics

 

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