Probiotics are generally described as any organism that brings health benefits when ingested. All the foods we eat contain probiotics but not all of them contain enough to benefit your health. The density of viable bacteria in food better known as colony forming units or CFU tells how beneficial it might be to the host.
All organisms need probiotics to help them live the best life and indeed we do encounter them from the day we are born. Unfortunately lifestyle choices including medicine and food often kill healthy bacteria in our bodies causing many health problems. Foods like Pickles, Kefir, plain yoghurt and Kombucha tea are rich in probiotics but they are hard to come by especially in pure form. Humanity can thank advances in medical technology which helped in the creation of probiotic supplements that can be consumed to provide much needed healthy bacteria.
Effective Probiotic Supplements
Supplements can also be used to help you get the recommended daily dose of healthy bacteria. The most difficult thing though, is trying to find the right brand of supplements that will bring about the best results in a short while. Here are some factors that will help you choose effective probiotics:
• Check the label for probiotic strain to ensure that its contents are indeed effective. Be warned that unscrupulous manufacturers often lie that their products are standard while that isn’t true. An effective product must contain Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, a strain that ensures health benefits.
• Dosage must be specified to make sure that you are getting all the benefits.
• Worthy formulas must remain stable and viable for a long time. Long shelf life and proper packaging help make sure that the supplement works well.
• The brand must survive the stomach, reach the intestine and thrive there. It must resist bile and stomach acids which could compromise its efficacy. For people with certain allergies it is wise to buy products without known allergens like soy, wheat, corn and gluten.
Benefits Of Probiotics
To appreciate the real impact of probiotics it is good to understand exactly what they could do for you:
· Urinary health
Regular ingestion of probiotics prevents bad bacteria from invading the urinary tract by maintaining a population of healthy bacteria. Such infections affect several people who must keep taking antibiotics to deal with the discomfort but unfortunately relief doesn’t last. Probiotics are needed to encourage growth of healthy bacteria and prevent nasty infections.
· Boost immunity
Foods rich in healthy bacteria boosts your immune system by promoting the production of lymphocytes. Good immunity also comes from the ability of probiotics to maintain good intestinal flora.
· Digestive health
The gut contains hundreds of bacteria which help in the breakdown of foods and absorption of nutrients. However the natural supply is often cut off when we take antibiotics. This leads to untold gastric stress and diarrhea to name but a few issues which causes doctors to recommend ingestion of probiotics to restore the balance and ensure good digestive health.
· Women’s health
Like the gut, a woman’s vagina relied on a balance of good and bad bacteria to remain healthy. The slightest imbalance causes yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis both of which are very uncomfortable and even dangerous for pregnant women. Bacterial vaginosis is often cited as a contributing factor to pre-term labor making it important for pregnant women to keep a bottle of probiotics nearby.
Prebiotics to make probiotics even better?
If you choose to take probiotic supplements for good health remember that you need to spice things with prebiotics. This is a component that complements probiotics by keeping the bacteria healthy. These non-digestible foods are comparable to fertilizer as they sit in your gut helping good bacteria to flourish. Sources of prebiotics are oligosaccharides (indigestible carbohydrate fibers). Experts remind people that it is important to add prebiotics to probiotics to enjoy full benefits.
Once you have found a brand of complete probiotics make sure to take the recommended dose so that bad bacteria never overwhelms your body. When traveling carry your bottle with you to take and avoid any discomfort. Even when on vacation it is likely that you might develop some gastric discomfort owing to new foods but not if you brought some probiotics along.