What are probiotics?

  • Live bacteria and yeast that live in the gut and are “good” and “helpful” to maintenance of the digestive system.
  • There are two types of probiotics:
    • Lactobacillus: most common probiotic. Found in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains can help with diarrhea.
    • Bifidobacterium. Found in some dairy products. It may help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What do probiotics do?

  • Probiotics from foods (and supplements) help to replenish “good” bacteria in the gut when needed (like after a round of antibiotics).
  • Probiotics can help ease symptoms of IBS and diarrhea caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites.
  • Prevent allergies and colds: probiotics are anti-inflammatory and help keep the immune system in check.
  • Mental health: healthy “good” bacteria in the gut uses the vagus nerve to communicate information to the brain. This affects retention, focus, and sorting of memories. Eating foods plentiful in probiotics also affect your mood and can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Women’s health: probiotics help balance vaginal bacteria, too. This can decrease instances of UTI’s, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis

Take note:

  • Probiotics found in foods are safe for most individuals, however, those with a compromised immune system or other serious illness should consult their physician.
  • For individuals who have not introduced foods high in probiotics to their diets may experience side effects like nausea, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. This may last for a few days until the body is used to the new bacteria proliferating in their gut. If symptoms persist after a few days of SLOWLY introducing new foods into diet, see physician.

Food sources:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut (and other fermented vegetables)
  • Kombucha
  • Raw Cheese
  • Organic Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Pickles

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