As we deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic, staying healthy is essential. One of the ways to do this is to keep our digestive systems healthy. Enter probiotics; more specifically, VEGAN probiotics!
You can check out our discussion of vegan probiotics here…
…or read on for a quick summary.
The human digestive system contains a lot of bacteria, most of which are harmless. Collectively, these microorganisms are referred to as gut flora, and are found primarily in the colon and large intestine. They’re SUPER helpful to the body in a couple of ways; they help to control the digestive process and keep your immune system in check.
Gut flora, along with other organisms living in the body (such as viruses and fungi) make up your microbiome. Each person’s microbiome is TRULY unique, and is determined partly by genetics and partly by environment.
When harmful gut flora outnumber harmless gut flora, the body can get out of whack.
Possible health problems that can arise include:
* heart disease
* upset stomach (and/or chronic stomach issues)
* skin issues (such as acne)
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help manage good gut bacteria, which results in a variety of health benefits.
The most common types of probiotics are:
L. acidophilus (Lactobacillus reuteri) — mostly found in dairy products; aids in digestion and helps reduce vaginal bacteria
B. longum (Bifidobaterium longum) — helps your body break down carbs
L. reuteri — Has been shown to help reduce bad bacteria in your mouth
B. breve (Bifidobacterium breve) — has been used to fight infections; helps absorb nutrients and fiber
B. animalis — found in some yogurt, such as Dannon’s Activia; has immune-boosting properties and helps with digestion
B. lactis — derived from raw milk; helps digestion and immune functions
What Do They Do for Your Body?
An unhealthy gut can lead to all sorts of health issues. Probiotics can help your body balance the good gut flora in your body.
Antibiotics, for example, can cause gut flora to become imbalanced, which may lead to stomach upset and digestive issues such as diarrhea.
What Do They Do for Your Brain?
Probiotics may also have positive effects on mental health.
Studies have shown that mood–and some mental disorders–can be impacted by the bacteria in our intestines. Certain strains of probiotics have been shown to have a positive impact on treating disorders such as OCD, depression, anxiety, and autism.
We don’t often realize how much of our overall health is dependent on the state of our intestines!
What’s the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics?
Prebiotics are plant fibers that help stimulate the growth of healthy gut flora. They help create the ideal environment in which beneficial microorganisms can grow.
Prebiotics are found in fruits and vegetables that contain complex carbs and fiber including, but not limited to:
Are There Any Risks of Taking Probiotics?
It seems like probiotics would be a great thing to add to one’s diet, and for most people, they are!