Probiotics… I see that buzz word on every container of yogurt at the grocery store. But what is it? A bacteria you say? Why would I want to eat bacteria? Oh – these are health promoting bacteria?
Probiotics, when translated, literally means “for life.” They are living microorganisms—“friendly” or “good” bacteria that, when consumed in sufficient numbers, can provide health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition. Our digestive system contains approximately 85% “good” bacteria, and 15% “bad” bacteria. The “good” bacteria that live in your gut can be taken in either capsule or yogurt form. These are called probiotics because they’re health-promoting bacteria. Processing — including pasteurization and sterilization — effectively destroys both good and bad bacteria. Processed foods are also often high in sugar, which nourishes harmful bacteria in your gut. As well, that delicate balance of good and bad bacteria can be disrupted by disease, stress, poor diet, or medications like antibiotics, which is why a probiotic supplement may be necessary.
Taking a probiotic supplement is good for you for 3 reasons:
- They keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check:
Probiotics aid in the alleviation of many common symptoms related to the overgrowth of unfriendly microorganisms. These include diarrhea, urinary tract infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and intestinal tract infections. Probiotics are considered safe. They simply facilitate a reintroduction into the body, of microorganisms which are like those already present in the gut.
- They aid digestion and nutrient absorption:
Friendly bacteria function within the digestive system by aiding in the breakdown and absorption of food and nutrients. When there is an over abundance of Bad bacteria, not as many nutrients from the food can be absorbed (ie: when you have diarrhea). It is therefore important to do what it takes to protect the body’s bacterial balance.
- Contribute to immune function:
Since your immune system is your body’s first line of defense, this means that your digestive system can greatly influence your overall health. Friendly bacteria function within the immune system by protecting against unfriendly, disease-causing flora.
As you know, I’m a proud Swiss Natural Ambassador so I was offered the Swiss Natural Probiotic Age for Adults probiotic capsule (they also make a special capsule for kids called Swiss Natural Probiotic Kids). I began taking these on a regular basis when I was put on antibiotics for my kidney infection – normally antibiotics give me the (ahem) runs, but not this time, so I’ve been taking them ever since.
Question: Do you take a probiotic supplement? Why or why not?
PS – Swiss Natural is currently running a giveaway for a 5-star culinary trip to New York, San Francisco or New Orleans! ENTER NOW! Good Luck!
Disclosure: I’m a Swiss Natural Ambassador, and was compensated to write this post.