Health Highlight: Is Everything Good with Your Gut?
Did you know that our gut contains 100 trillion microorganisms? That’s ten times the amount of cells we have in our entire body!
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the amount of adults taking probiotics quadrupled between 2007 and 2012! But why?
Thanks to the sudden increase in awareness about Probiotics (which translated means “for life” in Greek and Latin), more people have been paying more visits to the yogurt aisles.
Exactly What is Gut Flora?
The bacteria in our gut is also known as “gut flora”, the thing that promotes a healthy immune system that fights off diseases, protects our bodies from infections, and regulates our metabolism.
Our immune systems need probiotics to combat autoimmune disease and inflammation.
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases to be exact, many of which affect people 60 and over.
- Type 1 Diabetes, in which your immune system attacks your cells that make insulin
- Multiple sclerosis, in which the immune system attacks the nerves
- Psoriasis in which new skin cells divide and accumulate too rapidly
- And Rheumatoid arthritis, a painful disease in which the immune system attacks the lining of joints throughout the body
Probiotics are essentially bacteria- but good bacteria that our bodies produce naturally to protect our immune system by balancing the good and bad bacteria in our gut. But sometimes, we need a little help in that department. When we take antibiotics when we get sick, for example, we remove both the good, and the bad bacteria in our bodies.
Ever wondered what kind of probiotic is found in most yogurts? This is the one! Lactobacillus can be found in other fermented foods, and can help you digest lactose- which is the fancy name for sugar found in milk. It is the most common probiotic out there.
Many dairy products contain Bifidobacterium, which belongs to a group of bacteria known as lactic acid. Lactic acid is found in most dairy products, like cheese and yogurt.
Treating your Gut with Probiotics
Although many researchers are still on the fence about whether or not probiotics are the only remedy for gut problems, it has been proven that it definitely helps!
Probiotics are best known for regulating your digestive system. Some of the most common conditions that they can help to treat include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Infectious diarrhea (due to bacteria, viruses and parasites)
- Diarrhea due to the side-effects of some antibiotics
There are countless yogurts out there and other foods that contain probiotics, but Activia is one of the top rated and most consumed products that promote healthy digestion thanks to their probiotics.
Try eating a small cup of Activia yogurt twice a day for two weeks. There are countless other organic options that contain much less sugar and added flavors you could try as well. You should feel a difference very soon.
But don’t all yogurts contain probiotics?
Contrary to popular belief, not all yogurts contain probiotics. Be sure that the label says, “Contains Live Active Cultures” before purchasing a certain brand of yogurt.
Considering Probiotic Supplements
Despite the fact that there are many popular probiotic supplements that come in the form of pills out there, not all of them have been properly tested for safety and if they even work!
This is because the FDA does not regulate these supplements like regular medications. This means that those who produce probiotic pills are not required to undergo the same testing to see if they actually work!
- BE AWARE that not everyone should take probiotic supplements, especially those with certain immune problems and serious health conditions. Always consult with your doctor before adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.
It Takes More than Just Probiotics!
To ensure that you are keeping your immune system in check, be sure to:
- Eat foods high in fiber that is soluble (which is easier for you to digest). Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates are famous for being rich in fiber.
Some common foods include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Pay attention to your stress levels
- Remove food toxins from your diet and try a juice cleanse!
Above all, it’s so important that you not only consider probiotic supplements, but that you follow a healthy nutrition plan and eat right to improve your overall well-being. So the next time you reach for that pack of Activia yogurt, be sure that you’re not over-doing it.
Click on the links below to read up about the latest research in probiotics, and more on how to keep your gut in check!