Probiotics can greatly improve your gut health which, in turn, will improve your overall health. Unfortunately, too many people overlook the importance of their gut health. By adding foods high in probiotics to your diet, you can improve your gut health. In this article, we will go over the benefits of taking probiotics, the foods that are high in probiotics, and supplements that can help.
What are the Benefits of Taking Probiotics?
Growing up you hear from your parents, your teachers, your favorite TV show, and even sometimes your doctor that bacteria is bad. While there are some bad forms of bacteria, research suggests that consuming billions of bacteria per day through your diet can be beneficial. In fact, citizens in areas of the world where life expectancy is longer than average eat plenty of bacteria. You can obtain this bacteria through probiotics. Here are some probiotic benefits and what they can help prevent:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Crohn's Disease
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Vaginal Infections
Ever since research into probiotics took off in the mid-1990s, researchers have found that probiotic therapy can help with a wide range of health issues. One of the biggest benefits is the role it has on gut health, which can help prevent diarrhea, as we mentioned earlier.
Do Probiotics Work?
If you’re regularly taking probiotics, you should begin to notice positive changes in your body relatively quickly. These positive changes can range anywhere from an improved mood to a better sleep schedule. More often than not, the first thing people notice is improved digestion. This is because probiotics - as we mentioned earlier - have a huge impact on gut health. Here are some signs probiotics are working:
- Better digestion
- Increased energy
- More regular bowel movements
- Better mood
- Improved immunity
- Lower anxiety
Of course, simply increasing your probiotic intake won’t solve all of your problems immediately. If you want to get the most out of your probiotics you will need to pair them with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
What Probiotics are Best for Weight Loss?
Most of the bacteria that reside in your gut contain vitamin K and certain B vitamins. These vitamins can help break down fiber, which your body can’t digest, turning it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. Most experts agree that bodyweight seems to be related to the balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut.
Of all the probiotic bacteria studied to date, Lactobacillus gasseri shows some of the most promising effects on weight loss. In fact, research has found that probiotic strains of the Lactobacillus family can help you lose weight and body fat. Strains of the Bifidobacterium strain have also been found to help with weight loss and gut health.
Which Probiotics Help With Weight Gain?
Animal and human studies have demonstrated bidirectional weight changes depending upon the formulation of probiotics used. In other words, animals and humans have gained or lost weight depending on what is in the probiotic supplement. In most studies, the use of probiotics was associated with a significant reduction in weight and fat mass. Changing the gut microbiome compared to using a placebo was more effective.
Remember, we mentioned that strains in the lactobacillus family are typically associated with weight loss. However, a recent study found that Lactobacillus acidophilus can actually be associated with weight gain. This is typically found in yogurt and many probiotic supplements. Other Lactobacillus strains - like the aforementioned Lactobacillus gasseri or the Lactobacillus Plantarum - are typically associated with weight loss.
What is the Best Probiotic Supplement?
As we mentioned earlier, there are several different strains of bacteria that provide health benefits. One of the main reasons why probiotic supplements are so popular is because these supplements combine different strains in the same supplement. Research has shown that this increases your likelihood of getting the probiotics your body is in need of.
When it comes to choosing the right probiotic supplement, it’s up to you to find a brand that is reputable, trustworthy, and high-quality. While supplement brands can claim a wide range of things, oftentimes with impunity, they can’t outright lie. You want to find a brand that has third-party research and studies showcasing the positive impact the supplements can have on your health.
Should You Take Probiotics After Antibiotics?
If you are suffering from a bacterial infection, your doctor will more than likely prescribe you antibiotics. These antibiotics will kill off bad bacteria. While this is helpful, it can also disrupt your gut’s complex microbiome. This microbiome is a microscopic community of bacteria that works together to make sure everything is running smoothly in your gut.
To combat this disruption, your doctor may suggest you take probiotic supplements either during or following a regimen of antibiotics. Probiotic treatments contain helpful live bacteria — think the probiotics that are found in yogurt — to restore order to your gut. Usually, there are negative side-effects of taking both but it’s best to do so at your doctor’s discretion.
What Foods Have Probiotics in Them?
Getting probiotics from supplements is popular, but you can also get them from fermented foods. One of the main benefits of a diet that’s high in probiotics is that these foods are already found in healthy diets. Meaning the benefits of these foods extend beyond just increasing the number of positive bacteria in your gut. Here are some foods that are high in probiotics:
If you’re considering adding these foods to your diet, make sure you do not have an allergy to any of these foods. You can check with your doctor to see if you have an allergy to any of the foods mentioned above.
Supplements Can Help
One supplement that can help encourage positive gut health is spermidine. This is because spermidine helps induce something called autophagy. This is the body’s process of replacing old and potentially damaged cell parts with newer, healthier ones. Autophagy literally means ‘self-eat.’
This process helps keep you feeling and looking young while also dramatically lowering your chances of developing aging diseases such as Parkison’s and Alzheimer’s. While it is possible to get your recommended daily intake of spermidine through your diet, it’s recommended to take supplements so you ensure you get the right dose. Simply taking your supplements with your dinner is a great way to remember to take spermidine supplements every night.