You’ve probably seen the yogurt commercials that talk about gut health and probiotics, but what are probiotics? What do they do for your body? Why yogurt?
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics (“bios” is Greek for life, so pro-life) are a type of bacteria. Unlike antibiotics (anti-life), which can kill both good and bad bacteria, probiotics are good bacteria that promote a range of health benefits. Probiotics are broken down by their genus, species, and strain, and there are seven main types. Two of the most studied probiotic species are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.
- Bifidobacteria: This species can be found in foods and supplements and can help support a healthy immune system and reduce the growth of bad bacteria in the intestines.
- Lactobacillus: This probiotic produces lactase, which is an enzyme that breaks down sugar. It can produce lactic acid, which also reduces the growth of bad bacteria. Lactobacillus helps the body absorb minerals.
Probiotics and Your Food
There are a variety of foods that contain probiotics, and one of the best ways to increase your daily intake is to look for foods that are fermented. When fermented foods are prepared, the food undergoes a process known as lacto fermentation. This is when natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch, creating lactic acid and an environment that promotes enzymes, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and several species of beneficial bacteria. So, what are some of the best fermented foods can you add to your diet?
Other Foods That Contain Probiotics Include:
- Sourdough Bread
- Cottage Cheese
- Dark Chocolate
Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics help absorb nutrients into the body. Along with that, they can also help prevent fat from being absorbed in the intestine. Instead, the fat is released as waste. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic strain that has been found to help users lose weight.
If you’ve struggled with keeping your cholesterol down, a probiotic could help! Bile in the gut is a fluid made mainly of cholesterol. When lactic acid is produced by the probiotic, it works to break down bile, helping to reduce cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol levels means a healthier cardiovascular system!
Probiotics are typically known for helping with digestive health. An increase in good bacteria in your gut can help reduce symptoms of IBS, Crohn’s disease, and other conditions of the GI tract.
Probiotics help prevent the growth of bad bacteria in the gut and can help strengthen the intestine wall. With a stronger intestine wall, it’s harder for bad bacteria to enter the bloodstream, reducing the risk of respiratory issues and other health problems.
There have been some studies showing a link between probiotics and increased mental health. The strains bifidobacterium and lactobacillus may help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and OCD.
If you’re shopping for health supplements, you may want to look into adding a probiotic supplement to your cart! At Atlas Nutrition, our fitness trainers are passionate about helping clients find the best supplements and workout routines that best fit their needs and goals. If you want professional guidance and top-of-the-line supplements, visit our store in Greeley or Denver.