You gut does more than process your food. In fact, your gut is a community, and this community hosts trillions of bacteria, which promote healthy digestion and boost your overall health plus allows your inner beauty to shine through your face and skin. There is some truth to the saying “you are what you eat,” because when you eat healthy, your gut is happy, and in turn your health is optimal.
A poorly functioning gut, on the other hand, can cause discomfort and increase your risk for serious disease. To achieve optimal health, it is important to ensure that your gut is happy and healthy.
To do so involves providing your gut bacteria with what they need to thrive. Probiotic foods and supplements are the best way to ensure that your gut community maintains a healthy balance.
5 Reasons to Keep Your Gut Healthy
Poor diet and lifestyle choices can allow harmful strains to take over, depleting your beneficial flora and putting you at risk for disease. By including probiotic foods and supplements in your diet, your gut community maintains healthy numbers, strength, and the ability to fight off pathogenic strains. Your gut is protected from harm, as is your overall health.
- Keeping the balance:The most important reason for taking probiotics is to keep the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria in your gut. Use of too many antibiotics, poor diet, and stress can allow the balance to switch in favor of harmful strains, increasing your risk of illness but probiotics ensure that beneficial numbers stay high.
On their own, probiotics help protect you from digestive issues, obesity, and allergies, so keeping them balanced means you’re in the best possible position to maintain optimal health.
- Improved mental health: The discovery of the gut-brain axis allowed us to understand the connection between diet and mood. Just as anxiety can cause you to get an upset stomach, an upset bacterial community can lead to depressive and anxious thoughts.
The direct communication between your gut microbiome and your brain makes it important to keep your gut thriving. Studies have shown that probiotics can improve digestive health as well as mental health disorders, such as depression.
- Boost heart health: Probiotics help to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure, which makes them ideal for promoting heart health and preventing cardiovascular diseases. Lactic acid-producing bacteria in particular reduce cholesterol levels, which keeps your blood vessels free of clogs and damage. The effects probiotics have on blood pressure are still being studied, but when supplements continue for over 8 weeks, improvements have been recorded.
- Better digestion: Given that they live in your gut, it makes sense that bacteria and probiotics will help digestive health. Inflammatory foods or an imbalanced gut can cause inflammation and diseases, such as ulcerative colitis.
Probiotic foods and supplements have been shown to prevent inflammation and can help alleviate inflammation-related pain and diseases. Along with protecting your digestive system from disease, probiotics also ensure optimal processing of food, and absorption of nutrients.
- Boosted immunity: Just as the bacteria in your gut communicate with your brain, they also communicate with your immune system. Your beneficial flora helps support the activities of your immune system by inhibiting the growth of harmful strains.
In addition to this, some probiotics can promote production of beneficial antibodies and natural killer cells, which eliminate invading bacteria and pathogens.
The Best Probiotic Foods
It is easy to increase probiotics through your diet thanks to their increased availability. Each of the best probiotic foods below not only support healthy digestion, but they deliver essential nutrients and promote optimal health.
- Yogurt: This is easily the most popular probiotic food, but it is important to get the right kind. Many yogurts on the market are pasteurized, removing all the beneficial cultures.
In addition to this, they contain added sugar, which promotes the growth of bad bacterial strains. Ideally, you want to make your own natural yogurt from scratch and add live cultures, or look for a natural, organic brand that has no added sugar or additives.
- Apple cider vinegar: With a daily dose, you not only get probiotics, but you also get compounds that lower blood pressure and cholesterol and promote weight loss. You can drink a small cup each day or add it to your favorite salad dressing.
- Kefir: Like yogurt, kefir is a probiotic dairy product made from fermented kefir grains. The fermentation process allows this drink to deliver essential probiotics to your gut.
It may have a tart taste, but when you realize that each cup gives you between ten and thirty different bacterial strains, it is worth it.
- Miso: You may think this is a soup, but it is actually a spice. Commonly used in Japanese fare, miso is created from fermented soybean, and it is this process that gives you beneficial probiotics.
- Tempeh: Another fermented soybean product from Indonesia, tempeh can be cooked in a variety of ways and is full of nutritional value as well as beneficial probiotics.
- Cultured vegetables: sauerkraut and kimchi are both examples of beneficial cultured vegetables full of probiotic benefits. In addition to having bacteria present, the sour taste of these vegetables, produced by organic acids promotes and supports the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Once in your gut, these foods help support your already growing bacterial community. Both of these vegetables also contain digestive enzymes which promote efficient digestion and overall gut health.
The Supplement Solution
The best probiotic supplement will be one that is high-quality, from a reputable brand, consists of a variety of bacterial strains, and has been clinically proven to work. Certain supplements contain strains that provide specific benefits, so it is worthwhile to read the label and identify each strain in the supplement.
With daily use of a quality probiotic supplement, you can be assured of a happy gut, and all the other benefits that come with it.
The Bottom Line
Whether you eat more probiotic foods or try a daily probiotic supplement, the outcome will be the same. Your gut community will be balanced and thriving, which means you are more protected from disease and your overall health will be improved.
A healthy gut requires the right food and care, and in return you will be rewarded with optimal physical and mental well-being.
Article Submitted By Community Writer