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You can't see them, but they are quietly working away, doing you a lot of good. Probiotics is the general term for bacteria, yeasts and other microorganisms that are beneficial to gut and general health. Our bodies contain trillions of bacteria of over 500 different species. Bacteria in our gut help to keep harmful microorganisms (known as pathogens) under control, assist with digestion and absorption of nutrients, and aid the immune system. Different strains of bacteria perform varying functions, e.g. some will aid in the fight against Crohn's disease, some work against digestive tract ulcers, and others help with the treatment and prevention of diarrhea, urinary tract infections and bladder cancer (Harvard Health Publishing, 2005).
Taking probiotics on a regular basis can rebalance the body's natural gut flora, particularly after a course of antibiotics which can wreak havoc on the 'good' bacteria in the gut and cause digestive upsets as a result. Look for product labels which tell you the specific strains used, and what the live count is, then you can do your own research into the beneficial effects of each type. In today's COVID environment it makes good sense to take steps to boost your immune system and take charge of your overall health and wellbeing. Probiotic-containing foods are an excellent way of ensuring this happens.
These kinds of foods include kombucha, kimchi, yoghurts and other types of cultured milk, sauerkraut, miso, some types of sourdough bread, and any other live fermented food. It is also important to 'feed' these good bacteria with the right kind of diet, which is why processed foods high in carbohydrates and low in fibre are frowned upon. They lead to poor gut health, lift blood sugar, and encourage the wrong types of gut flora. Instead, try adding extra fruit and vegetables to your diet, including blueberries, apples, chickpeas, lentils and almonds. Eating a wide range of proven health food choices is the best way to keep your gut in tip top condition, your weight in check, and a spring in your step.