Words by Emma Tiernan
August 8th, 2018
We often hear that we should be taking probiotics as part of a balanced diet but what exactly is it that makes them so special and why should we focus on them more than the next superfood? Probiotics are the good bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection, and according to The Mayo Clinic, “there is a greater number of bacteria in your intestines than there are cells in your body”. This alone proves that gut health is arguably the most important part of your body to keep healthy. Not having a healthy gut can result in numerous different health issues which in turn can end up affecting other areas of your body and mind. It’s because of this that your gut is often called your “second brain”, as it is responsible for creating up to 95% of the serotonin which affects your mood and brain functions.
Discover the key benefits of adding probiotics to your diet below.
The main reason why people take probiotics is to maintain a healthy digestive system. Your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad, and your gut is no exception. Naturally, there is an imbalance of bad bacteria here so taking probiotics will increase the levels of good bacteria to create a healthy balance needed for a fully functioning digestive system. People who suffer from digestive issues relating to gut health such as irritable bowel syndrome can take probiotics to help limit symptoms.
Probiotics act as a boost to the immune system as they help balance the good and the bad bacteria found in your gut which is why they are especially important when you are sick and taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are known as one of the top probiotics killers as they cannot distinguish between good and bad bacteria in your body, making it necessary to take probiotics in conjunction with or after a course of antibiotics so you can rebuild the depleted levels of good bacteria in your gut. Of course, taking probiotics regularly helps to strengthen your immune system so it decreases the chances of you getting sick in the first place!
People who struggle with losing weight can benefit greatly from taking probiotics and maintaining a healthy gut. Some probiotics can prevent fat from being absorbed in the intestine. The fat is then flushed out of the system rather than piling up in the body. Probiotics can also make you feel fuller for longer, so you don’t feel like you need to eat as often resulting in your body storing less fat which of course speeds up the weight loss process.
Recent studies show that gut health and brain function go hand in hand, which means that looking after your gut can benefit your mental health. People who suffer from anxiety and depression can benefit from taking probiotics in aid of improving their general wellbeing. As mentioned above, your gut is responsible for creating up to 95% of the serotonin found in the body which is a known mood booster. The conclusion is a happy gut equals a happier you.
Yes, you read that correctly; taking probiotics can actually prevent hay fever. Hay fever is linked to an oversensitive immune system. Over 70% of your immune system is located in the gut and when your gut is out of sync, so too is your immune system, which can result in developing hay fever. Experts say the best way to tackle hay fever is to balance the two sides of the immune system, in other words, supply the body with beneficial bacteria and create an environment for them to coincide and work for your benefit.
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