Ok so maybe it’s not a secret but maybe you are not sure what it is. Probiotics are finding their way into health advertisements in last several years. Probiotics are gaining popularity to help people feel healthy especially when it comes to digestive related illnesses and support of the immune function. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, gas and bloating are a few problems that probiotics and help.
Probiotics comes from the roots pro and biota which means “for life”.
According to the Oxford Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases the “internationally endorsed definition of probiotics is live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Probiotics and normal digestive health
There are more microorganisms living in a healthy digestive system than cells have in our body. In our digestive tract we have an estimated 100 trillion microorganisms present creating a healthy bowel. The microorganisms out number of human cells about 10 to 1. So these microorganisms are vital to our digestive survival. There are more than 500 different species that make up that immense number of microorganisms.
We have a beneficial relationship with these microorganisms that provide support for normal digestion and immunity. When the balance of beneficial microorganism becomes compromised because of infections or damage to the intestinal lining researchers believe this can create digestive problems. Eating foods high in probiotics or taking probiotic supplements may help restore balance.
“Probiotics can improve intestinal function and maintain the integrity of the lining of the intestines,” says Stefano Guandalini, MD, professor of pediatrics and gastroenterology at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Health problems that could be improved by taking probiotics
Researchers at Yale University reviewed the research and found probiotics to be a potential benefit in the following common diseases:
- Treating childhood diarrhea
- Treating ulcerative colitis
- Preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea and infectious diarrhea
- Treating and preventing eczema associated with cow’s milk allergy
- Helping the immune system
- Treating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
- Treating vaginitis
- Treating Crohn's disease
Probiotics are generally considered safe for people to use. If you have a weakened immune system you should check with your doctor before starting a supplementation plan.
Foods that are high in Probiotics
Probiotics are actually microorganisms that are created during the fermentation process of many types of foods and they are also found in our digestive system. There are some foods that are high in probiotics that are found in many cultures. I sure fire way to get probiotics is to make your own or get the homemade version. Many commercial products don’t have high amounts or they have supplements that been added back in after cooking.
There are several foods that are high in probiotics here are a few for you to consider.
- Soft Cheese
- Sourdough bread
- Sea salt and water sour pickles
Probiotics are part of a normal healthy digestive system and more research is being done to show numerous benefits of making probiotics part of your dietary or supplemental routine!