Health Begins in the Gut: The Benefits of Probiotics
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For some of us, the mention of the word “bacteria” is synonymous with invoking sicknesses and diseases hence they prefer not to mention it in positive light. It is true that bacteria are responsible for a host of diseases, some of which are fatal, but the truth is that there are many types of bacteria that you and I need in our bodies in order to live healthy life.
I hope most of us can remember that class of medicines called “antibiotics.” These drugs are called so because they deal with bacteria that are “anti-bios”, i.e., against life. When we talk of “probiotics” then, we are talking of a type of bacteria that is “for, friendly, or supportive to life.” These bacteria live in the digestive tract and they are responsible for supporting your body so that it can take in nutrients and ward off diseases.
In this post, we are going to discuss the benefits of these bacteria but from confined angle related to the gut. But why should we confine our discussion to the gut and not any other part of the body system?
Why the digestive tract is paramount
The reason why we shall focus our post on the digestive system is that it is home to the largest section of our bodies’ immune system. This system controls more than 80 percent of our immune system and this whopping percentage means that if you and I can sort its health, we will have dealt with more than 80 percent of all the diseases and ailments that we suffer.
That is why the first step in sorting our immune system needs to focus on restoring the system’s health by taking decisive measures to balance its bacteria ratio. This balancing measure act means that you begin consuming foods or supplements that are rich in probiotics.
The health benefits of probiotics
Now, let’s settle down and look at some of the benefits of these probiotics not just to your digestive system, but also the rest of the body in general.
- A stronger immune system
This is definitely the number one and most important benefit of these bacteria because without a healthy body, you will not enjoy the other benefits that come after it.
Probiotics build the core of our immune system and enable our bodies to resist sicknesses. In addition, they facilitate the recovery of impaired digestive tissues and ensure that our bodies stay healthy.
- Facilitates digestion
The second most important benefit of these bacteria is their ability to facilitate proper digestion in the body. For you to have a healthy body that can fight off diseases, you need to feed well. However, health is not just based on the food you swallow but on the one that is properly digested and assimilated into the body system. Proper digestion results in the efficient distribution of disease-fighting nutrients hence efficient digestion and a vibrant immune system work like two sides of the same coin.
- Enhanced vaginal health
The third benefit of probiotics is their ability to enhance vaginal health. The reason why these bacteria play a significant role in the vaginal tract is that it shares most of the features that the gut has. For instance, the vagina tract has a fine balance which can be affected by other external factors such as contraceptives. But when an imbalance occurs in the system, it can be treated using probiotics.
- Easier absorption of nutrients
Another way by which probiotics can benefit your body is through the facilitation of nutrient absorption. There are different stages that lead to healthy eating. You don’t benefit from food just because you ingested it, no. The food needs to be digested and after digestion, the body needs to extract and absorb the nutrients that the food contains. It is the level of nutrient absorption you can now say that you have benefited from the “health value” of the meal. Put in simple terms, the ingestion and digestion stages keep you free from starvation; but the last stage (absorption) is what makes you healthy.
- Keeping pathogens in check
Besides, probiotics are responsible for the inhibiting of the harmful activities of bad bacteria in the digestive system. These good bacteria suppress the destructive activities of pathogens such as yeast, fungi, and bacteria.
- Management and healing of child eczema
Another benefit of these bacteria is their ability to facilitate the management and healing of eczema in kids. If you keep your young ones on a healthy probiotic diet, you can be sure of saving them a great portion of skin-related infections.
- Treatment of cavities and gum diseases
Even though studies are still underway, there are positive trials that are pointing towards the ability of probiotics being used to fight off cavities and gum diseases.
- Reduction of flu
Another area that is still under scientific trials is the ability of these bacteria to combat the effects of flu.
- The treatment of acne
Probiotics are also believed to have power to treat the effects of acne. However, there is still need for more conclusive scientific trials and evidence.
- Weight loss
This is another area where probiotics are believed to be beneficial.
- Treatment of kidney stones
Probiotics are also believed to be helpful in the treatment of the kidney stones.
Using probiotics safely
In as much as these good proteins are beneficial, take them within safe limits so that you don’t erode their benefits. This section seeks to share with you some of the possible side effects that you can suffer through overuse.
Diarrhea is the most common side effect of probiotics. It occurs if you take too much of them within a very short time.
Probiotics are good for the health of our bodies, and especially the digestive tract which comprises 80 percent of our bodies’ immune system. These good bacteria have many benefits that affect different parts of our bodies. However, if too much of them are consumed at once, they may lead to negative side effects.
Recently we reviewed some of the best probiotic supplements; feel free to browse through our list.