A healthy gut is vital to enjoying a healthy and happy life from the inside out.
In may surprise you that 70% of the immune system is located in the gut, alongside a community of billions of bacteria. The immune system and these good bacteria have co-evolved over time and work as a team to support the immune system to effectively protect the body.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria, often referred to as friendly, healthy or ‘good’ bacteria. These, together with communities of bacteria in the gut (and viruses and fungi) form the ‘microbiome’. The digestive system relies on a natural balance of different types of bacteria in the gut. In turn, a healthy balance of bacteria results in a strong immune system.
When the population of ‘bad’ bacteria grows too large in proportion to that of the ‘good’ bacteria, it may become problematic and can lead to a compromised immune system, resulting in various health issues. Increasing your intake of beneficial probiotics encourages the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines, which helps to maintain a balanced microbiome.
The Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics can support a healthy microbiome, which plays a role in the correct function of many body systems, such as:
- Stimulates and supports the immune system
- Aids in digesting food, particularly hard-to-digest foods or allergenic foods
- Supports efficient absorption and metabolization of nutrients from the food we eat. In particular protein absorption and utilization
- Enhances the synthesis of B vitamins and improves calcium absorption
- Helps to keep a healthy balance of intestinal microflora
- Supports urinary health and bowel function regularity
- Promotes women’s health and prevents candida overgrowth
- A healthy balance of gut flora may even affect your mood and the way you think.
How Does the Gut Become Unbalanced?
With today’s everyday stressors such as a poor diet, stress, illness, or antibiotics can disrupt the microbiome. Other factors that can disrupt the balance of bacteria are; consuming antibiotics unconsciously (including antibiotics given to livestock), drinking heavily chlorinated or fluoridated water, using antibacterial soaps and cleaners, ingesting pesticides such as those found on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, breathing polluted air, enduring chronic stress or being in a chronic sleep deficit.
Adding Probiotics to Your Daily Diet
There are many ways to enhance your diet with probiotics. They can be taken as a supplement or can be consumed in probiotic rich food, such as traditionally fermented foods and beverages which are naturally high in probiotics. Popular fermented foods include Kimchi and sauerkraut, sourdough bread, kefir and kombucha, yoghurt, miso and tempeh.
Nowadays, probiotics can be found in, what are called, functional foods. This is where probiotics are added to foods that are regularly consumed, such as breakfast cereals, yoghurts, bars or beverages.
Are Foods with Added Probiotics Effective?
Adding probiotics to foods and beverages creates functional foods. This can be an easy and effective way to get a dose of probiotics at mealtimes. It’s important a high-quality probiotic ingredient is used to ensure the probiotics get to your gut in good condition and do the job they’re meant to. Find out more about the benefits of probiotics used in functional foods.
Prebiotics, Probiotics & Functional Foods
It takes more than probiotics to create a nourishing, healthy diet and a well-balanced gut. It’s also important to include clean, wholefood ingredients and a good dose of prebiotic fibre. Prebiotics are a specific type of indigestible fibre that are metabolized by the probiotics as fuel. Simply put, prebiotics feed probiotics.
So when you’re looking for health benefits from a functional food, it’s important that the probiotics are supported by prebiotics. Foods naturally high in prebiotics include chicory root, bananas, oats, seeds, and legumes. Learn more about prebiotics and other natural sources here.
It’s amazing how what we eat, when we sleep, our moods and our immune response are all connected to our gut. Probiotics are an easy and effective way to enhance your diet for health from the inside out.
Find a unique, shelf-stable source of probiotics in the new Chantal Organics Probiotic Easy Oats, which come in three delicious flavours. Perfect for breakfast on-the-go, at work, while hiking, camping, caravanning, tramping or before the school day.