In the modern world, everybody is striving to be as healthy as possible, especially given the impact that the coronavirus has had on our lives. There is an extra impetus to eat healthily and to do more exercise in order to keep the evil virus at bay. During the lockdown and subsequent quarantine periods, you may have heard people talking about probiotic supplements that can augment your diet and provide improved gut health and overall well being when actually you have no idea what these really are and how they work. You may also be asking yourself – do I need to be taking them, and will they really improve my overall health? Well, in this article we are going to look at everything that you need to know about probiotic supplements, so read on to find out more.
What are probiotics?
There are two types of bacteria that commonly live in the human body and the perception is that these are always bad for you, when, in fact, this isn’t the case. One type is bad for you, but the other is extremely beneficial and probiotic supplements are a combination of live beneficial bacteria and / or yeasts that commonly live in the human body. By adding probiotics to your diet you will be supplementing the good bacteria in your body, helping it to function as well as it possibly can. It can even help to fight the bad bacteria in your guts improving your digestive health no end. Probiotics are made up of microbes that are naturally found in our bodies which are a combination of bacteria, viruses, yeasts and protozoa. In order for a supplement to be called probiotic, it must fulfil four criteria: it must have a proven benefit, it must be safely consumed, it must survive after ingestion and must be able to be isolated from a human being.
Where in our bodies are probiotics beneficial?
The commonly held assumption is that probiotics are only useful for our intestinal health, but that is not the case. Obviously, they do help our digestive systems, but they also help a whole host of other parts of our bodies that are exposed to the outside world. Beneficial microbes can be found in our mouths, on our skin, in our vaginas and urinary tracts and in our lungs, so by consuming probiotics you will be helping all these parts of your bodies.
Where can I find probiotics?
Probiotics can be found in a whole host of natural foods as well as in supplement form. Some probiotics are found in very common foods that you may already be eating such as yoghurt, cottage cheese or sourdough bread, but if you are prepared to be a little more adventurous you can augment your diet with foods such as kimchi, kombucha and fermented pickles and sauerkraut. All these foods are high in probiotics but it is important to remember that they should only be consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet.
What about supplements?
If some of the aforementioned food products are not for you, then don’t worry, you are not the only one that finds kimchi or sauerkraut an acquired taste! There are many different types of probiotic supplements that you can take and you can make an informed choice by visiting a useful site that will help you to narrow down your options until you find something that is right for you. Supplements are available in powders to mix with drinks, in tablet form, or even as a liquid, so there is something available for everyone.
How effective are probiotics?
Research is ongoing about the effectiveness of probiotic supplements. Many studies have shown positive results to certain parts of our bodies, but more research is needed in order to complete the bigger picture as this is only a field of study that has been looked at in the past decade. What is certain, however, is that many people report beneficial effects by increasing their consumption of probiotic food or by taking supplements, and there is no evidence that by doing this you are harming your health.
As we have discovered probiotics are made up of good bacteria, viruses, yeasts and protozoa that can help our overall microbial health. Any area of our body that is exposed to the outside world can benefit from these supplements, but primarily they help our digestive system and our intestinal health. They can be found in a host of natural foods from yogurt to kimchi and can be taken in tablet, liquid or powder form if these foods are too much for you to stomach. So, if you want to boost your health today, then take probiotic supplements, and you will feel like a new person!