Last Updated on January 28, 2023 by Lori Geurin
What are probiotics good for? Here are 7 reasons to take probiotics to support a healthy gut.
Probiotics are the good stomach bacteria. There are many reasons to add them to your eating plan or take them as a supplement. They’re best known for transforming digestive tract health.
Did you know that when your gut health is poor it can destroy the delicate balance of your body? Plus, probiotics protect your digestive and immune systems which help prevent disease.
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How GMOs Effect Your Gut Health
Our modern diets are often of packaged and preserved foods. GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are used to make these processed foods. Unfortunately, GMOs destroy probiotics or the “good bacteria” in your gut.
As a result, it’s important to replace the probiotics in your body because of the damage these artificial foods can cause over time.
I first heard about probiotic supplements a few years ago. I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD), both autoimmune conditions. At the time my body was worn down from fighting untreated Lyme disease. If I’d known how important probiotics were before, I would have started taking them years ago!
So, whether you have a chronic illness or you’re completely healthy, probiotics are important. They can help almost anyone. Below I’ve listed seven ways probiotics can prevent disease and improve your health.
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7 Reasons To Take Probiotics And Include Them In Your Eating Plan
- They can help prevent autoimmunity and allergic reactions (1).
- Probiotics are good for treating diarrhea, which can be caused by taking antibiotics.
- They can help reduce anxiety and depression. Dr. Gershon refers to the gut as our “second brain.”
- Probiotics destroy harmful bacteria (Helicobacter pylori ) which cause ulcers. They can also reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.
- They can lower cholesterol, which could help prevent cardiovascular disease (2).
- Probiotics can also lower the number of cancer-causing enzymes.
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Find out how to include probiotics in your breakfast in 15 Healthy Breakfast Foods To Start Your Morning Right.
Impressive, right? Next, let’s look at some real food sources of probiotics.
Good Sources Of Probiotic Foods
- kefir, a fermented milk drink
- yogurt with active or live cultures – be sure to read the label
- kombucha, a fermented tea
- kimchi, a spicy fermented Korean cabbage dish
- some cheeses, including mozzarella and cheddar – check for active or live cultures on the package
- pickles fermented in salt (not vinegar)
- miso, a Japanese soybean paste
- sauerkraut – make sure to buy the unpasteurized brands or ferment your own sauerkraut
- probiotic supplements
Do Probiotics Help You Stay Regular?
Yes, research has shown that probiotics may ease constipation symptoms. The probiotics containing Bifidobacterium were the most effective.
Signs Probiotics Are Working
There are several things to look for that show your probiotics are improving your health. Here are a few:
- increased energy
- more regular bowel movements
- fewer cravings, especially for sugar
- improved digestion
- less anxiety and increased ability to handle stress
- weight loss
- improved cognitive function
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Summary – Reasons To Take Probiotics
As you can tell, probiotics are good for digestive health. Plus the other health benefits of probiotics are pretty great too. You can easily get probiotics by eating any of the probiotic foods listed above.
You may also decide you want to learn how to make your own fermented foods. It’s fun and affordable too! I make homemade kombucha and prefer it to the store-bought flavors.
Please note that if you take probiotic supplements it’s best to take them in the morning an hour before breakfast, on an empty stomach. Or you can take them two hours after eating dinner.
Also, you can learn more about probiotics in What Are Probiotics And Where Can I Find Them?
What benefits have you noticed from taking probiotics? Do you have any tips to share?