What are Probiotics Used For?

August 4, 2018

You’ve probably heard time and time again about the importance of protecting and “nourishing” your bacterial flora in your intestines in order to have good health. However, do you know what probiotics are, and what they’re used for?

These live bacteria cultures have become one of the best ways to stop pathogens from multiplying, which can affect the health of your intestines and your immune system.

In fact, probiotics play an important role in the synthesis of certain essential nutrients and for maintaining your digestive health. In addition, they create a protective barrier against infection and reduce certain inflammatory processes.

Although they are found naturally in the body, probiotics can also be found in certain fermented food or dairy products, as well as in supplement form. Do you know what their benefits are? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know.

What are probiotics?

The term “probiotic” has become very popular recently due to their “boom” as a complement to a regular diet. The word “probiotics” literally means “in favor of life,” which is precisely due to the benefits they confer on your health.

Foods that have probiotics
Probiotics are essentially “good” bacteria and yeast, which pass through the gastrointestinal tract to the colon and small intestine. Although many people associate bacteria with diseases, their function is exactly the opposite.

Thanks to the fact that they help avoid excess growth of infectious microorganisms, these bacteria are key for avoiding the development of many diseases. Likewise, the most common that are good for humans are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

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What are the benefits of probiotics?

Your gastrointestinal tract contains around 400 bacterial species that are created from the intestinal flora or biota. Although their main function is to protect the body from the proliferation of pathogens, which are important for several things.

Probiotics also control the differentiation of epithelial cells and facilitate certain metabolic processes and the production of vitamins. Therefore, it’s important to have “healthy” intestinal flora.

Probiotics are the main source of these “live cultures” and the best way to restore intestinal flora when they have been altered due to infection, sickness, or antibiotic use. So…what are probiotics for?

  • Modulating the response of your immune system within the intestines and decrease your susceptibility to food allergies.
  • Generating energy due to their ability to ferment indigestible carbohydrates and improve the absorption of monosaccharides.
  • Increasing your absorption of water and minerals in the colon.
  • Optimizing metabolic function and preventing obesity and diabetes.
  • Fighting several diseases of the digestive system (diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease).
  • Stimulating bowel movements and preventing constipation.
  • Treating vaginal infections and urinary tract infections.
  • Reducing bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
  • Protecting the health of your mouth against viruses and bacteria.
  • Improving your overall health and mood.

A woman with a healthy bodyWhere can you obtain probiotics?

Now that you know what probiotics are used for, it’s good to know what sources will provide them for your diet. First let’s take a look at some natural options and then take a look at “biotherapeutic probiotics.”

Natural probiotics

This type of probiotics is obtained through foods that have been subjected to a fermentation process, which means that certain bacteria have transformed the foods’ original composition to make them more digestible and with a higher concentration of nutrients.

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The most popular options are:

  • Kefir
  • Plain yogurt
  • Kombucha
  • Bread dough
  • Pickles
  • Tempeh
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Miso soup

Biotherapeutic probiotics

Probiotics in pill form
Not all people get enough probiotics through their diets. Now, considering their importance for health, consuming them as a supplement is an excellent idea.

Because many people want to benefit from probiotics, there are supplements available in capsules, gels, powders, and other forms. These contain large numbers of microorganisms of several bacterial strains.

Some are high in probiotics, which are foods that favor the growth of good bacteria. In many cases, these options are more effective than probiotics contained in traditional food options.

In summary…

Probiotics are a great complement for people that have develop digestive disorders due to an alteration in the intestinal pH. Likewise, consuming them through food and supplements is the best way to strengthen and protect the “good” bacteria that fight diseases. Now that you know what probiotics, you can easily consume them and improve your health.

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