The Benefits of Probiotic Foods (+ Some Examples)

The Benefits of Probiotic Foods

If there’s one thing I constantly try to do, it’s tweaking my diet. Every months I set myself small goals in order to clean up what I eat and how I eat. Of course I have days where I fall off the bandwagon – but that’s natural. As long as you’re actively tying to make a difference to what you put in you’re and you’re taking action then you’re making progress.

Recently I’ve been trying to add more probiotic foods to my diet. I’ve been experimenting with a few things that I hope to be able to give to you guys in the future to help you out. Today I have post that talks all about probiotic foods, their health benefits and some great examples what foods are classed as probiotic.

In recent years, many people have grown to understand that probiotics are good for regulating bowel movements because of the Activia commercials on television, but there are many other advantages to ingesting probiotics.  For those still unsure of what exactly probiotics are, they are good bacteria that come in many forms which our bodies need to keep us healthy and comfortable.  People lacking these helpful bacteria can face problems associated with digestion, bowel function, lowered immune systems, and even higher amounts of fat storage in the body.

Health Benefits of Probiotic Foods

Not only are we healthier with good bacteria in our gut, but our intestines and colon actually desperately need them to digest our food and absorb it.  Various cures to our health problems, such as antibiotics and chemotherapy kill off bacteria, good or bad, plus poor diets and sickness deplete them.  Eating foods high in probiotics replenish them.  With good bacteria in our guts and actively working for us, it keeps our immune system working rather than allowing it to become lazy.  In this way, probiotics keep us from getting sick as often, or as severely.  Some common problems that probiotics guard against are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), digestive problems caused by lactose intolerance, allergies, and infections.

How Probiotics Affect Your Gut Health

Diarrhea is a common illness in people lacking probiotics in their gut.  Lactose intolerance and IBS are two causes of diarrhea that can be aided by these good bacteria because they help the body to regulate itself, reducing the length of time and severity of the illnesses.  They also reduce bloating, abdominal pain, and gas, plus increase proper bowel function for IBS sufferers.  In the same way, they also help people who suffer from chronic constipation as the bowels begin to move more regularly.

Probiotics also help the gut to digest foods properly, and some forms can reduce carcinogens made by the body by promoting healthy bacteria growth in the colon.  If bile builds up in the colon, it can be changed into cancer causing carcinogens.

5 Examples of Probiotic Foods:

  • Yogurt:  Live-cultured yogurt, especially if handmade or made with goat’s milk, are high in probiotics.  Natural is best; avoid products with artificial sweetener or high fructose corn syrup.
  • Sauerkraut or Kimchi:  These are very similar as they are both forms of fermented cabbage high in live cultures, though Kimchi is very spicy.
  • Miso:  A traditional Japanese soup made with fermented grains used as medicine.
  • Pickles:  As with other fermented foods, pickles are a great source of probiotics that can be made easily at home.
  • Tempeh:  This is used in dishes to replace meat or tofu and is made of fermented soy beans.

 

 

Probiotic Foods, Your Gut, and Fat Loss

Probiotics have been shown to lower inflammation of the intestines and promote digestion, which can help to slow fat build-up in the body.  One way that this happens is that by reduce bile salts secreted by the liver which combines with the fats that we ingest, helping our bodies to digest them.  However, if there is less bile salt to bind to fats, then there is less fat absorption and the fats are free to pass through our bodies.

High amounts of sugar consumption actually kills the good bacteria in our bodies, clearing the way to bad bacteria to take over.  This causes a cruel cycle of weight gain, but it can be reversed.  Eating a well-balanced diet, including foods with natural probiotics, helps the good bacteria to move back in, making it easier to lose weight naturally.  Because sugar makes us gain weight, the benefits of reducing or eliminating sugar intake are two-fold in the struggle to lose weight.

In Conclusion…

There are many health benefits to eating probiotic-rich foods.  Not only do our bodies need these active bacterial cultures, but they also keep us healthy and leaner.  People with problems such as IBS and lactose intolerance can find relief of symptoms as bowel functions become closer to normal.  There are many ways to get probiotics in our diets; many of the best options come from fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt or buttermilk.  Best of all, as our bodies function better, we feel better and have more energy to be active, again promoting a healthier lifestyle as we get out an exercise our bodies.

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