You now have one more reason to enjoy your cup of yogurt!
Fermented foods like yogurt (and probiotic supplements) have in them live microorganisms which are very good for the health of our gut and there’s mounting evidence now linking an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system with our overall health and immunity.
Probiotics help us maintain this balance of bacteria in the gut and have been shown to have many other health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.
1. Probiotics Help Boost Immunity
Most of us have no clue as to where in the body, the immune system resides and can’t associate it with a specific organ or part of the body. It isn’t really confined to a specific organ, but 80 percent of it is in the gastrointestinal tract in the form of receptor cells, which is why, whatever happens in the gut has a huge impact on our immune system.
And when our gut is healthy, there is a huge number of good bacteria that help support the receptor cells of the immune system. They make a protective barrier within the colon and the intestines.
Making sure our diet contains a good amount of probiotics can help support the good bacteria in our gut so that they can work toward maintaining our immune health.
2. Probiotics Help With Weight Control
Certain strains of probiotics can help with weight management in people with a tendency to put on weight easily.
Research suggests that infants who have high numbers of beneficial bacteria don’t show any tendencies towards excess weight gain. These good bacteria found in the guts of breast-fed infants, ensure that they have a lower risk of becoming obese.
What’s also come to light is that the bacteria in the guts of obese people differs from that of lean people and lean people have higher amounts of the good bacteria.
Also, more and more research is now confirming that probiotics play a vital role in weight management. In fact, a human study showed that a set of obese people, when put on a probiotic rich fermented beverage, started losing their abdominal fat in a 12-week period.
3. Probiotics Help With The Digestive Process
Our body needs good bacteria to absorb certain kinds of undigested starches, fiber and sugar from our food. Having a good population of these bacteria in the gut helps convert these carbs into energy and nutrients.
Probiotics also serve another important function in the body by helping in the production of Vitamin K and B. They also help absorb minerals from the food we eat. And if that wasn’t enough, they also help metabolize and break down the body’s wastes.
4. Probiotics Help Provide Emotional Health Support
It might come as a surprise, but our gut produces more serotonin than our brain does. And this important neurotransmitter is what decides our moods.
Research shows that probiotics help with the communication between the gut and the brain. Our body actually contains two nervous systems, one that resides in the brain and spinal cord, and the other in the GI tract. And these two are connected by the vagus nerve, that helps transmit messages between our brain and the GI tract.
This interrelationship shows how closely our diet is related to our mental health and how important it is to help heal the lining in the gut, (with foods rich in probiotics) for our emotional and mental wellbeing.
5. Probiotics Help With Allergies And Eczema
Although the evidence is weak, certain probiotic strains may reduce the severity of eczema in children and infants.
In fact, a study found that children who were fed milk supplemented with probiotics showed an improvement in their eczema symptoms, compared to children who weren’t given the probiotics. Also, children whose mothers took probiotics during pregnancy, had 83% lower risk of developing eczema in the first two years of life.