What are Probiotics?

By Diana Sanchez, Staff Writer

Photo by Miti on Unsplash

Probiotics have been increasing in popularity lately. It’s in advertising, in articles, and in your grocery store, pretty much everywhere you look. But what are they exactly? 

Probiotics are essentially live, good bacteria found in foods or supplements. Generally, when we hear the word, “bacteria” we think of bad bacteria - like the invisible things that only soap and warm water can get rid of. But there’s actually such a thing as good bacteria, and not only is it good for you - it’s necessary. 

Probiotics are found in fermented foods, like the ones listed below.

But what do probiotics do exactly?

What are the Benefits of Probiotics?

Weight loss

Probiotics are key to helping the good bacteria flourish in your digestive system, which is important for weight loss and weight management. In fact, there is some evidence that the makeup of our gut bacteria is very different between thin and overweight people - with thin people showing a lot of similarities. Read more about that here.

Reduce Inflammation

Probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation. While some inflammation can be good, as well as a sign that your body is healing, and that your body is protecting itself from infection, there’s bad inflammation, too. Consistently high levels of inflammation can lead to a host of other diseases, like psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome, just to name a few. 

Enhance Your Immune System

Probiotics, or good bacteria, can diminish the bad bacteria in your digestive system, and increase the production of antibodies, leading to an overall boost in your immune system. 

Reduce Depression and Anxiety

There is a particular group of probiotics, called psychobiotics, that are believed to have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, and overall mental health. The research is incomplete at this point, but there is some evidence that there is a link between gut health and mental well-being. 

Improve Clear Skin

There is some evidence that probiotics can reduce and even eliminate acne, eczema, and rosacea for many individuals. (Why did no one tell me this in high school?) In fact, there has been a rise in skincare products boasting the topical use of probiotics for skincare improvement. There are skincare benefits from introducing probiotics into your diet, too.

Finally…

Are you starting to get the feeling that probiotics are practically magical? Cause, SAME. 

In all seriousness though, the reality is that there is so much about the human body we are only just beginning to understand. Probiotics can have a positive impact on your well-being in a myriad of ways, and it’s certainly worth trying out. 

Let me know what your experience is like if you decide to give probiotics a chance. I love hearing from you!


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