Commonly known as ‘friendly bacteria’, probiotics are increasingly being sold in shops as supplements or are even added to the foods we eat. But what are they?
Guarding your gut
Probiotics are living organisms which can be found naturally in foods such as yoghurt, kimchi, miso and kefir.
As in most action films it’s the good guys versus the bad guys and it’s no different in your intestines! Probiotics defend your gut from bad bacteria have a negative impact on our overall health, metabolism and digestive system.
How do they work?
Researches are still trying to determine exactly how probiotics work but here are some of the ways they could keep you healthy:
- After taking antibiotics you lose some of the ‘good bacteria’ in your body leaving your digestive system vulnerable. Probiotics can help replenish your levels of ‘good bacteria’.
- They help to balance the ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ bacteria to ensure your body is healthy and in optimum condition.
- A healthy digestive system needs an equilibrium of bacteria; without this, our bodies come under additional strain and the immune system becomes stressed trying to fight off the bad bugs.
Why we need them?
Probiotics are essential for keeping the digestive system healthy and functioning well. Our digestive system is key to obtaining energy, immunity and cell repair from the foods that we eat.
Due to modern diets and lifestyle, as well as environmental factors such as pollution and the common overuse of antibiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut is increasingly at risk which can lead to increased chance of inflammatory chronic diseases. Probiotics can help prevent this from happening by maintaining appropriate levels of beneficial bacteria.
Where can we get them?
Now you know the true power of probiotics you probably want to know where you can get them They can be found in all of the foods below:
What do I look for in a supplement?
Research has confirmed that the most effective way of consuming probiotics is in supplement form. Looking at the label on a probiotic supplement is very different to looking at nutritional supplements. One of the key figures is the CFU value (Colony Forming Units), which tells you how many active or live organisms are in the probiotic product. The recommended dosage for CFUs is to have one to two million CFUs daily or every other day. Therefore when comparing products it is best to look for the highest CFU value, normally around 1 billion CFUs for high-quality supplements, as then you have a higher number of good bacteria to protect your digestive system.
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