Probiotics are micro-organisms that are a good form of bacteria. The digestive system normally includes both ‘good’ as well as ‘bad’ bacteria and in order to maintain optimum heath, it is essential to maintain a correct balance between the two.
Thus, they improve the intestinal function and are effective in treating a number of ailments. Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are two probiotics that are most widely studied.
The World Health Organization defines probiotics as, “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Given below are 5 healing benefits of probiotics. Probiotics, however, may not be suitable for individuals who are immune-compromised.
Probiotics promote a strong immune system and regulate healthy immune response as certain probiotic bacteria improve some components of the immune response.
They reinforce the immunity of the intestinal mucus membrane, potentially change and improve immune cells, and strengthen the bacteria already present in your gut.
By restoring the balance of ‘good’ bacteria, they starve off infections, especially the ones that are caused as the side effect of antibiotics.
Probiotics are highly beneficial when dealing with a gastrointestinal problem called antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Lactobacillus rhamnosus or LGG, in particular, is known to relieve viral or antibiotic induced diarrhea.
Consuming probiotics while taking a course of antibiotics restores the good bacteria that are killed by the antibiotic.
Besides, individuals who are prone to stomach or bowel infections and travelers’ diarrhea should take probiotics.
Moreover, probiotics are useful in preventing childhood diarrhea in 6-36 month old babies. It can also help with colic.
Newborns and infants tend to suffer from eczema due to cow’s milk protein allergy. This can be managed with probiotics (Lactobacillus GG).
Before administering this treatment on your baby, though, make sure you consult with your doctor about it. Probiotics minimize lactose intolerance, too, because they contain lactic acid bacteria, which convert the lactose into lactic acid.
Regular intake of probiotics helps avoid cold and flu. In addition, it is useful for reducing the severity of respiratory tract infections like sinus infection, cold, pharyngitis, etc., particularly during the cold season.
Probiotics, especially strains like Bifidobacterium infantis and Lactobacillus plantarum improve the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in women.
Furthermore, they help prevent urinary tract infections in women. In addition, researchers have found that probiotics may also help fight abdominal obesity and prevent obesity-related disorders (like type-2 diabetes).
They tend to influence the way in which bile acids are metabolized, thereby altering the amount of fats the body absorbs.
Foods that are rich in unpasteurized probiotics include plain unflavored yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso (tofu and vegetable broth soup), sauerkraut (made from fermented cabbage), kimchi, kombucha tea, and pickles.
When getting probiotic foods from the market preferably buy the ones with ‘live active cultures’. Besides, you can take probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidobacteria bifidum.