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What Are Probiotics and Why Are They Important?

Probiotics are healthy bacteria and one of their key roles is supporting your gut microbiome. Many healthcare professionals talk about probiotics' benefits and how they can help your digestion function run smoothly, but those bacteria can help other aspects of your well-being. Some research has pointed out how probiotics may help your immune system and cardiovascular health. Multiple strains of probiotics exist, and their benefits can vary.

Common Probiotic Sources

You can get your necessary probiotics intake from either foods or supplements. The option you choose may depend on your specific situation and eating style. Given the variety of probiotic food sources, you may not need to take any supplements.

Foods rich in probiotics include:

  • Dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, and soft cheese
  • Soy products like miso and tempeh
  • Kimchee
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Sourdough bread

Although nutrition bars can also provide probiotics, make sure to check the labels are processed foods can be detrimental to your diet despite certain nutritional benefits.

When adding probiotics to your diet, be mindful of maintaining a sufficient intake of other key nutrients as balance plays a central role in supporting your overall health.

You can also choose to take a probiotic supplement in pills, powder, or liquid form. You may find supplements that combine prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics help deliver the microorganisms to your digestive system. Given the wide selection of probiotic supplements, you may want to discuss which ones fit your needs with your physician or nutritionist.

Probiotics Support Gut Health

Most people associate probiotics with their benefits for gut health. These good bacteria help your gut microbiome run smoothly and get rid of disrupting bacteria and other parasites. When your gut is healthy, your overall digestive function operates efficiently, including your upper and lower gastrointestinal tract.

A healthy gut helps prevent issues such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Your gut health impacts additional bodily functions such as your brain, heart, and kidneys.

Probiotics Can Help You Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight

A healthy gut plays an important role in breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, including prebiotics that helps maintain the barrier of your intestine. As healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome support your metabolic function, you can convert more calories into energy and feel satiated for a longer time.

Probiotics Can Prevent or Treat Diarrhea

Some probiotic strains can treat various types of diarrheas, including the inflammation that causes it, gastroenteritis. Probiotics may also prevent the condition. Depending on what type of diarrhea you are dealing with such as traveler’s diarrhea or diarrhea due to antibiotics, you may benefit from a specific strain of probiotics.

Probiotics Can Improve Your Mental Health

Research has established a link between gut health and cognitive function. Although additional studies continue to unveil details about this complex relation, a healthy gut microbiome affects your body’s production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Those neurotransmitters help stabilize your mood and help regulate your nervous system due to a link with the vagus nerve. Probiotics could help address mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.

Probiotics Help Your Vagina and Urinary Tract Stay Healthy

Optimizing and maintaining your gut microbiome can also positively affect the health of your vagina and urinary tracts. Specific strains of probiotics can be especially effective, including in situations such as pregnancy.

By supporting a healthy gut, probiotics can reduce your risk of developing bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections, which are common health concerns when you have a uterus.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a vaginal or urinary tract infection, you should however speak with your physician or gynecologist. Left untreated, this type of condition can lead to complications.

Should I Consult a Nutritionist?

If you are unsure what sources of probiotics may work for you, especially if you have dietary restrictions, talking with a reputable nutritionist can help create a customized eating plan. A provider can also recommend specific intakes for your specific profile and goals.

Whether you are looking for general help to improve the quality of your diet or have a specific probiotic concern, talking with a nutritionist can help you implement healthy habits and sustain them in the long run.

Are you looking for professional advice to improve your diet in Covington, Harvey, or Metairie? Call Soza Weight Loss today at (504) 475-9817 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment!