The power of probiotics

by | Jul 30, 2021 | Healing | 0 comments

Photo Credit: Unsplash, andrew welch @andrewwelch3

Probiotics – a buzzword that thankfully turned into a constant in the holistic world! You may have heard many people taking probiotics everyday before their first meal and seen the social media posts about the benefits of adding probiotic rich foods into your diet – but what exactly is a probiotic?

Essentially, probiotics are foods, capsules and forms of medicine that contain live bacteria that when ingested, protect the gut and help the body ward off bad bacteria – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So, why are probiotics so important?

We should all know by now that good gut health means good overall body health and this is because the lining of the gut is covered in microscopic organisms that protect the body and influence our behaviour. Naturally, these organisms need to be fed correctly in order to keep the body healthy and functioning at its best. While they can grow with prebiotics (food that is good for the gut), they also thrive when one supplements with a good probiotic that is filled with millions of live organisms.

Probiotics influence more than just the gut – including the nasal, respiratory, gastrointestinal health, digestive comfort, vaginal and urogenital health as well as immunity. Having the correct amount of good gut bacteria in your body can not only help with skin health but assist with weight loss and even reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Prebiotics vs. probiotics

Quite simply put, prebiotics are dietary fibres whereas probiotics are products and foods that contain bacteria. Synbiotic products however, are products that contain both the prebiotics and probiotics. All of the Avalife probiotics include prebiotics too, and are therefore synbiotics formulations.

According to the Mayo Clinic, prebiotics are “specialized plant fibres” that “act like fertilizers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.” These prebiotics are found in a myriad of fruits and vegetables like asparagus, green bananas, apples and berries amongst a few others. You can even find prebiotics in garlic, onions, leeks, oats and even cocoa since they all contain inulin, a prebiotic fibre. All of the prebiotic foods help in different ways to help the gut and effects can be seen through improved digestion and bowel movements and even anti-inflammatory properties.

Natural probiotics

If you forgot to take your probiotics in the morning, then have no fear as there are a few natural and live sources of probiotics rich foods that you can buy and even make! Some of the most popular are:

Yoghurt – choose a yoghurt that contains live cultures to ensure you are getting one that will help your gut. Yoghurt also assists with improving bone health and contains beneficial bacteria for your gut.

Kombucha – a delicious tea fermented with yeast and bacteria, kombucha is probably the most popular probiotic source on the internet. You can find this drink at any health food store and even make your own with a simple home DIY kit!

Sauerkraut – a simple cabbage fermented with lactic acid bacteria; sauerkraut serves as an easy way to add probiotics to your diet. Make it yourself with cabbage and salt and enjoy your own homemade probiotic rich food with lunch!

Kefir – containing cultures of lactic acid bacteria, kefir is a fermented and probiotic rich milk drink that contains a wide source of probiotics for gut and body health.

 It is important to remember that different probiotics are made to address different health concerns therefore, before starting on any probiotic, we recommend chatting to your healthcare provider to ensure that you are taking the correct strain of probiotic for your body.

Naturally, it would only make sense that probiotics have an incredible effect on your digestive health which is why it is commonly prescribed by doctors after being on a course of antibiotics or any other powerful medications. According to Health Line, it is essential to take probiotics after antibiotics since

“antibiotics kill many of the natural bacteria in your gut, which shifts the gut balance and allows harmful bacteria to thrive.”

They also note that

“probiotics may also help combat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common digestive disorder, reducing gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other symptoms”.

It is wise to remember that the effects of probiotics won’t be seen immediately – you’ll have to wait for at least 8 weeks before you see a noticeable difference in your body (although it differs from person to person).

References

Healthline. (Date unknown), ‘Probiotics 101’, Healthline. Available at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-101 (accessed 17 July 2021)

Mayo Clinic. (Date unknown), ‘Prebiotics, Probiotics and your health’, Mayo Clinic. Available at

https://www.mayoclinic.org/prebiotics-probiotics-and-your-health/art-20390058 (accessed 17 July 2021)

Image: Unsplash, andrew welch @andrewwelch3

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