Probiotics are everywhere: on grocery store shelves, in health shops, on social media, and in many foods. Probiotics get a lot of buzz due to their acclaimed countless health benefits, like solving digestive issues, easing anxiety and depression, and building up the immune system. There are many pros of taking probiotics, and we’re here to break down what probiotics are and the top reasons why people love taking a daily dose of bacteria.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are “good” bacteria found in certain foods and dietary supplements that improve gut health, which has a strong correlation to overall well-being from head to toe. About 100 trillion bacteria live in the digestive system, and probiotics act similarly as the good bacteria that currently resides in the body to improve digestion, maintain a healthy weight, and boost your mood. Eating a poor diet or not consuming enough foods that contain good bacteria can lead to an imbalance of bad and good bacteria in the gut, resulting in digestive issues, weight gain, or even depression.
There are various ways to make sure you’re getting enough good bacteria. You can purchase a probiotic supplement at any health store or supermarket, or you can add foods that contain probiotic strains to your diet, like:
- Yogurt with active or live cultures
- Some cheeses
Fermented foods are bursting with probiotics, but if none of these options make your taste buds tingle, then a probiotic supplement could be a good option for you. But keep in mind that probiotic supplements should never replace a healthy diet. A probiotic supplement is supplementary to a nutritious diet and will not provide your body with all of the nutrients and minerals that it needs.
Probiotics Benefits for the Mind and Body
Yes, probiotics are essential for gut health. But what does gut health really mean? What is the big picture, here? According to Health Line, your gut health plays a significant role in your body’s daily functioning as well as your state of mind. It’s no surprise that physical health and mental health are connected. Take a look at how probiotics can positively affect your mind and body to enhance your everyday life.
1. Digestive relief
Probiotics increase the number of good bacteria in your gut to restore and replenish your digestive tract. Too much harmful bacteria from artificial sugar, fried foods, and foods with a high fat content can lead to digestive issues and inflammation. If you consistently experience an upset stomach or stomach pain, probiotic supplements and probiotic foods rich in good bacteria could provide you with digestive relief from bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other stomach issues that cramp your style.
2. Decreased anxiety and depression
Have you ever felt dull, down, or nervous after eating fried foods or snacking on sugary candy? Well, the saying, “you are what you eat,” isn’t just a cliché. Some experts believe that the bacteria you consume from food can affect your mental health.
A healthy brain has a balanced level of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine, which affect your mood, sleep patterns, motivation, and much more. When the brain experiences an imbalance of these chemicals, symptoms of depression and anxiety can spike. Adding more good bacteria to your gut, aka your, “second brain,” could decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression by helping you maintain a healthy level of neurotransmitters in your body. It is believed that 90% of serotonin, the “happy chemical,” is produced in the digestive tract!
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, speak with your primary care physician about taking a daily probiotic supplement, and try adding the following mood-enhancing probiotic foods into your diet for more benefits:
- Brown rice
3. Strengthened immune system
From your favorite coffee shop to your gym to your workplace, germs are seemingly everywhere and can lead to officewide sinus infections or an unexpected day spent fighting off a virus. Getting sick is the worst, but multiple studies have shown that probiotics produce natural antibodies that can help shield your body from diseases, like viral infections, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections in women. Probiotics can also give your immune system a boost to ease allergy symptoms, adverse reactions from vaccinations, and clear eczema. Adding probiotics to your life is a preventative measure that you can take to ward off diseases and calm allergies by strengthening your body’s natural armor, your immune system.
4. Healthier skin
Did you know that probiotics benefits extend from the inside of your body to the outside? Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it needs nourishment to stay clear and healthy. Inflammation can lead to many issues and could be the underlying cause of any skin conditions that you are experiencing, like acne or rosacea. If your skin feels or looks irritated, you may have inflammation in your gut, and probiotics could be an excellent solution for you.
Also, if you have skin issues, your diet could be the culprit. You may be allergic to specific foods causing inflammation in your gut, which can cause breakouts. Chat with your doctor about trying an elimination diet to discover any unknown food allergies that could be affecting your skin.
Probiotics + Gut Health = Positive Well-Being
Improving your gut health with probiotics is a great way to feel healthier and happier as you go through the journey of life. If you’re trying probiotics for the first time, keep in mind that supplements take some time to build up in your gut, and you will not notice results right away. There are also hundreds of probiotic options on the market, so we recommend asking your healthcare provider for suggestions that align with your specific health needs. Also, it is always a smart idea to speak with your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen to learn about any risks or side effects.
As you are seeking ways to improve your gut health, now is the time to also secure health insurance or change to a plan that may suit your needs better. Aca-compliant enrollments are now open through August 15th, speak to a VelaPoint licensed agent to get your questions answered and compare plans in your area. Call today for a free insurance consultation at 855-548-0727 or visit VelaPoint Marketplace for more information.