The Surprising Health Benefits of Probiotics

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

The term “probiotic” is used to describe the beneficial effects of certain microorganisms to both humans. Élie Metchnikoff, a Ukrainian zoologist coined the term, suggesting that the human digestive system is somehow dependent on bacteria to maintain the body’s flora. Today, the health benefits of gut microbes are well documented. In today’s post, we are giving you six reasons why you should boost your consumption of probiotic-rich foods:

Improves Digestion

Did you know that the human body has at least 1,000 different species of bacteria living in the digestive tract? And that these microbes are helping the body break down food and absorb more nutrients? Scientists agree that the human digestive system is dependent on friendly gut microbes, in terms of digesting food. This is the reason why most doctors recommend, “re-populating” the gut with friendly microbes if you take antibiotics. These bacteria reduce the risk of irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, intestinal disorders and other gastrointestinal problems.

Boosts Urinary Health

Probiotics do more than just aid in digestion. These microbes also keep the bladder and kidneys healthy. Studies show that probiotics help reduces the risk of urinary tract infection. These microbes also inhibit the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the urinary tract.

Reduces Allergy Symptoms

Preliminary studies found that probiotics could minimize the occurrence of childhood eczema. According to researchers, childhood eczema is an early sign of allergies in infants. Expectant mothers who take probiotics could reduce the onset of childhood eczema among their offspring by as much as 30%.

To conduct the study, researchers selected dozens of pregnant women with a history of seasonal allergies or those whose partners have allergies. Infants who received probiotics in vitro had 50% higher levels of tissue inflammation, which is thought to trigger the immune system. According to the conclusion, infants have fewer chances of acquiring the same allergies their parents have if they take probiotics in vitro.

Protects from Fungal Infection in Women

Taking probiotics could reduce the risk of yeast infection in women. The friendly microbes inhibit the proliferation of bacterial vaginosis. These harmful microbes thrive in the vagina. When the flora of the vagina is unbalanced, harmful microbes will start overtaking beneficial microbes. The result? Fungal infections. Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of developing vaginal infection. In addition, bacterial vaginosis is believed to be a contributing factor to premature labor.

Studies show that probiotic L. acidophilus reduces the risk of fungal infection. These microbes also inhibit the growth of bacterial vaginosis that cause a yeast infection.

Promotes Immunity

Probiotics have positive effects to the immune system too. A balanced digestive flora protects the body from sickness. A healthy digestive system is instrumental to an efficient immune system. Studies show that students given a serving of fermented dairy drink daily showed an increased production of lymphocytes in the system. Lymphocytes are a type of marker that indicates an immune system’s efficiency.

Reduced Obesity Risk

A Stanford University found that obese individuals have a different set of gut bacteria than individuals with normal weight. This shows that gut bacteria plays a critical role in a person’s overall weight. Preliminary tests also show that probiotics can help patients maintain normal weight after receiving weight loss surgery. In women, gut bacteria help reduce abdominal fat among post-partum participants.

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