Let’s start with the basics.
What are probiotics?
We know you’ve heard of them, but let’s break it down a little. Probiotics are the “good” live bacteria in your digestive system. These minuscule microorganisms help to keep your gut healthy by reducing the amount of “bad” bacteria in your system. This is important as your gut needs to have a healthy balance between the good and the bad.
Just quickly, we want to touch on prebiotics. Prebiotics are the food for your probiotics, without them your good bacteria will starve! Prebiotics are found in the fibre of vegetables like onions, beans, lentils and chickpeas.
So for a healthy gut, you need both probiotics and prebiotics!
Let’s talk about the benefits of plentiful probiotics in some more detail:
Manage your blood sugar levels
Erratic blood sugar levels and the inability to regulate insulin production are serious issues with pressing consequences like developing diabetes. Studies have shown that certain strains of probiotics can help your body to manage your blood sugar levels. You could try adding more yoghurt to your diet, but be careful to avoid fat-free, sugar-laden and artificially flavoured varieties.
Change your immune response
Probiotics are not only helpful when we take them internally, but topical probiotics have also been shown to calm the body’s immune response, avoiding inflammatory responses. This is why probiotic-infused skin-care products have been hitting the shelves by the hundreds of thousands over recent times. If you suffer from acne, rosacea or another complexion concern maybe some further research is warranted!
Managing your weight
New research has shown that high levels of beneficial bacteria can protect against weight gain. While the research and studies are still in their infancy, there is a promising link emerging so why not take advantage by upping your probiotics now.
Links with mental health
There is an accumulating body of work appearing which links a healthy gut microbiome with a healthy head, aka good mental health. There have been human studies done where positive findings emerged, associating probiotic supplements with an improvement in some mental health issues. Issues touched upon in the research thus far are anxiety, depression and stress disorders. There have even been links to better memory discovered!
There are many probiotic supplements on the market these days, but you can also get your fill via your diet. Try these options:
Making the most out of your probiotics
Now you know what they are, why you should have them and where to get them from, how do you make the most out of your probiotics and keep your microbiome happy?
- Get outdoors and spend time in nature. The outside world is the perfect place for you to expose your microbiome to new bacteria, increasing your internal diversity.
- Ditch the microbiome depletors! Things like the overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial sprays, wipes and hand sanitizers can disrupt your balanced microbiome. Only use them when you have to and look into healthier alternatives.
- Get moving and grooving. Exercise has been shown to affect your good bacteria levels positively, so find a form of movement which is fun for you and get a move on.
- Make sure you’re getting plenty of prebiotics. As we mentioned earlier, you need to feed your microbiome so make sure you’re eating lots of fibre.
- Give your supplements or probiotic-rich diet time to kick in. It can take up to twelve weeks for you to be able to feel and see the effects of a healthier microbiome. Be patient and keep up the excellent work.