All About Probiotics

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All About Probiotics

Ever since having a young child who crawls around the floor and licks/touches/eats everything regardless of how dirty it is, I’ve noticed that I have become sick with A LOT more frequency.  It seems like all that good immunity I have built up over the years has gone right out the window!  In an attempt to reverse the effects of this change in my healthy lifestyle, I decided to start taking a probiotic and it has made a huge difference.

So what exactly is a probiotic?

Probiotics are healthy, “good” bacteria and yeasts that live in our guts.  Probiotics are found naturally in our intestines although they can be disrupted from external factors like stress and antibiotics.

Why do we need probiotics?

Current research shows that probiotics can help:

  • treat diarrhea, especially instances related to taking antibiotics
  • prevent and treat yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • reduce the duration of stomach viruses or other intestinal infections
  • prevent and reduce the severity of colds and flus
  • lessen gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, constipation and abdominal pain

How do I get probiotics?

Probiotics are found naturally in some of the foods we eat like:

  • yogurt
  • keifer
  • sauerkraut
  • miso
  • dark chocolate
  • tempeh
  • pickles

Eating these foods can help increase the amount of probiotics in your body and therefore, increase the benefits of the probiotics!

Do I need a supplement?

It depends!  A probiotic supplement can help replace the good bacteria in your body if you have lost some recently due to medication or other factors.  They can also help balance the good and bad bacteria in your body, perhaps better than your body is able to do on its own.  As with any supplement or medication, you should talk to your doctor before adding them to your daily routine.  This is especially true since the FDA doesn’t regulate probiotics like they do medicines so the standards are not as strict.  If you do decide to take a supplement, look for one that contains at least 30 billion probiotics, typically lactobacillus or bifidobacterium.

So as you can see, probiotics have a lot of advantages and some people can really benefit from taking a supplement.  I know for me it has made a huge difference!  What do you think about probiotics?

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