Probiotics: What Are They and Why Do You Need Them
There’s been a lot of hype around ‘gut health’ recently. And probiotics are certainly a huge part of the solution! But firstly, what these friendly little good bacteria and what are probiotics good for? Moreover, what are some probiotic foods that can help us get enough of the nutrients our body needs.
To begin with, the body contains trillions of good and bad bacteria. Many of these bacteria live in our guts and while some are bad and cause disease and infections, others can be helpful, supporting the body to function efficiently. These are known as the ‘good bacteria’ – and they work by eliminating the extra bad bacteria and maintaining balance in the body.
And probiotics are made up of these ‘good’ bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in your body. Their role is to help maintain digestive health and boost the immune system. Probiotics are found in certain foods such as yogurt and probiotic-supplements are another way to increase the good bacteria in your body.
There are different types of probiotics depending on the variety of microorganisms they contain. The most common types of ‘good bacteria’ found in probiotics include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, as well as yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii. These different types of probiotics have different benefits on the body.
But what about how probiotics work and why are they good for you? And lastly, how can you incorporate more probiotics into your diet today with products available at Prinos Farm&Deli?
What are the benefits of taking Probiotics?
Probiotics basically work by maintaining a healthy balance in your body. To explain, they keep your body healthy and working well and help you feel better. When we get sick, the bad bacteria in our bodies increase in number, thus putting the body out of balance. In turn, good bacteria help to fight this bad bacteria, returning balance in the body and helping us to heal and get better.
Having well-balanced and healthy gut bacteria can help the body in many ways. These include boosting the immune system and supporting the body to fight inflammation, aiding digestion, creating vitamins and preventing bad bacteria from entering the blood.
Healthy gut bacteria is also linked to weight loss and reduced bloating, healthier skin, hair and nails and reduced risks of certain diseases.
How to add more probiotics to your diet
Now that we’ve told you what they are and what they do, let’s look at where to get them from. Probiotics can be taken via supplements, but is also present in foods prepared by bacterial fermentation.
Some of the best probiotic foods include:
- Yogurt and kefir: Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics, while kefir contains several varieties of bacteria and yeast, making it an even more beneficial probiotic.
- Green Olives: When left to soak and ferment in salted water, brined olives become rich in gut-friendly Lactobacillus bacteria.
- Sauerkraut: Popular in Germany, this fermented cabbage dish is a healthy plant-based source of good bacteria that is also easy to make at home.
- Pickles: Like sauerkraut, pickles need to be fermented in salted water to add probiotics to your gut. Make your own pickles at home by preserving your leftover veg in jars of salted brine.
- Kimchi: A mainstay of the Korean cuisine, kimchi is mainly made of fermented cabbage, and is packed full of gut-friendly Lactobacillus bacteria.
- Tempeh: This popular vegan substitute is made of fermented soybeans that help to increase the levels of good bacteria in the body.
- Kombucha: Long known for its health giving properties, Kombucha is a black tea from China. Made by fermenting tea leaves with a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria, this tea is full of gut-beneficial bacteria and yeast species.
- Miso: Usually sold either as a paste of (or?) a soup, miso is made of fermented soybeans, rice or barley and is commonly used in Japanese and Asian foods. Miso is an excellent dietary source of good gut bacteria.
- Hard Cheeses: Certain hard cheeses including cheddar, parmesan and gouda are particularly good at carrying probiotics to the gut.
Another great way to add more probiotics to your diet is as part of a well-balanced breakfast. Making sure your diet is well-balanced and rich in fibre, also helps to maintain healthy levels of good bacteria.
So, should you take probiotics? There are some studies that say most people don’t need to supplement their diet with probiotics as good bacteria is naturally occurring in the body. However, it is always a good idea to ensure your diet is healthy and well-balanced to keep you feeling as strong and nourished as you can be.
Head to Prinos Farm&Deli in Nicosia or Larnaca or visit our e-shop to stock up on foods that will help keep you and your family healthy.