5 health benefits of probiotics

Bacteria
Image via pixabay.


What comes to your mind when the word bacteria is mentioned? When we hear the word bacteria we often think that these prokaryotic microorganisms are going to harm us? But did you know that not all bacteria will harm us? The truth is there are bad bacteria as well as good bacteria. These good bacteria are called probiotics and they are needed for a healthy gut and overall good health. There are however different species of probiotics and they are found within the human body.


We form a mutualistic relationship with these good bacteria (probiotics) that live in our gut. This simply means that we both benefit from each other and so we depend on each other.

Bacteria (probiotics) in the gut
Bacteria in the gut. Image via pixabay.


Two probiotics are:
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Bacillus subtilis

Where can I obtain probiotics?
Active live cultures of these good bacteria/probiotics are added to certain foods and they cause fermentation to take place in these foods. So, therefore, you can find them in fermented foods. They can also be found in some supplements.

Some fermented foods that contain probiotics are:
                                                       
                                                                 
Yogurt
Yogurt. Image via pixabay.

  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • kimchee
  • milk
  • miso
  • soy
  • sour cream
  • sauerkraut
  • cottage cheese
  • dietary supplements

Did you know that we can kill our probiotics?
Yes, we can!
Two ways:
  1. The use of antibiotics
  2. Unhealthy diets
Read: 10 smart ways to reduce your sugar intake

5 health benefits of probiotics:


Health benefit #1: Probiotics protect us from some harmful pathogens/microorganisms that are found in our bodies. They achieve this by producing substances that hinder the growth of other harmful microorganisms that can cause diseases. So if your good bacteria are killed, then these other bad microorganisms will start to increase/multiply (and eventually flourish) and will in turn harm you. Bottom line they keep bad microorganisms to a limit.

Health benefit #2:
Probiotics are used for the prevention of diarrhea that is caused by taking antibiotics. Diarrhea can occur when you take antibiotics because antibiotics have the ability to kill your good bacteria. 
One such "bad one" is Clostridium difficile and consequently as stated above (health benefit #1) this bacteria will multiply in the absence of the good bacteria. Toxins are released when this happens and will damage the cells lining the intestinal wall and cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc. to occur. To prevent this from happening, it is best to take probiotics when you take antibiotics.

Health benefit #3:
The bacteria that are found in our gut (healthy gut) is vital to our well-being! Why? Well, because there is where the absorption of nutrients take place. And these nutrients are needed by all parts of our bodies (cells, tissues, organs you name it) to function. Good bacteria are needed for the absorption of these nutrients.

Health benefit #4:
They help to eliminate toxins from our body.


Health benefit #5:
They are used to produce/manufacture certain B vitamins (such as B6, B12, B3, etc) and  vitamin K from our foods that we eat.

In conclusion, probiotics are vital to our well-being!

Comments

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