One thing that we’re talking about more than ever is gut health and having a healthy belly. And when we ask the question: what are probiotics? we’re unlocking knowledge that can truly change our future and help us lead healthier, more vibrant lives.
Probiotics are live bacteria that are especially beneficial for our gastrointestinal tract (GI). These “bugs” are helpful organisms that can aid in digestion and even — down the road — help treat and prevent certain illnesses and diseases. In general, our bodies are packed with trillions of good and bad bacteria but we want more good guys. Probiotics help build them up in our GI and we, in fact, need good bacteria to ensure optimal health. When our body is full of these powerful helpers, we thrive.
Sure, probiotics can be a buzzy word. But don’t let that deter you from learning about and incorporating them into your lifestyle. If you’ve had trouble with digestive issues, autoimmune issues, constant infections, or a history of pharmaceuticals prescribed to you, then it is essential that you listen up about getting probiotics into your system. Incorporating probiotics in one of the single most important things you can do for your gut health. And guess what? It’s easy to do!
What Are the Benefits of Probiotics
There is study upon study showing that our gut is our second brain and basically serves as the mothership for our functioning organ systems. According to a Harvard Research study, “An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel.” And the flora in your digestive system has been shown to impact your health. In fact, it is often the root cause of numerous ailments that could affect your body. Don’t underestimate this: Probiotics do far more than just “aid your digestive system.” Research by the National Institutes of Health shows that probiotics can assist with:
- Bladder and urinary tract infections
- Irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis
- Treating diarrhea
- Depression and anxiety
- Reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol levels
- Boosting your immune system
- Helping with weight loss and belly fat
(See below for all studies that support these health claims.)
Ways to Get Probiotics
One way of accessing beneficial bacteria is by taking supplements. Another, more delicious way is by getting good bacteria through the food we consume, like in fermented foods. Our ancestors used fermentation to preserve the harvest but they also likely realized the healthful aspects of this good bacteria bonanza. They provide added enzymes and acids that supplements alone do not offer. Fermented foods are also more than just rich in probiotics — they contain prebiotics as well. Wait… WHAT?
Prebiotics are the indigestible part of foods, a fiber that goes through the small intestine (undigested) and ferments once it reaches the large colon. Prebiotics help feed probiotics and make the good guys work even more effectively. (See this article for more on prebiotics)
Probiotic supplements don’t include prebiotics. In fact, you would need to purchase an entirely different supplement just for prebiotics. This can get costly.
Fresh, fermented foods like wildbrine products contain both prebiotics and probiotics. A 1-2 punch. And fresh is always better.
At wildbrine, we take it one step further and rely on wild fermentation. This means we let nature do its fermentation thing to all our krauts, kimchi, srirachas and salsas. We add sea salt to our veggies and then provide them with the perfect environment in which to flourish. Our fermentation process is raw, alive, and contains a huge range of probiotics to help fuel your body. We also use zero sugar or vinegar.
Not only that, fermented foods are delicious. Eating them instead of taking a supplement means getting more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet. It is easy to incorporate srirachas and salsas into everyday meals — but adding krauts and kimchis provides a new texture and flavor that many people are missing out on.
When it comes to your overall health, make probiotics an essential part of your life. Just like water, exercise, healthy eating, and sleep, they will help your body thrive.