It’s everywhere you look: “support your gut!”, “gut-healing ingredients”, and “keep your microbiome healthy!”. But what does it all mean? When we have to decipher between marketing gimmicks and true benefits, it’s easy to wonder; are probiotics important?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide our body with many benefits. They help our bodies function the right way, despite many people’s assumptions that bacteria are harmful. Humans will never be able to minimize or ‘sanitize’ the bacteria from our bodies, we require them to live. We have as many as 10 times more bacteria in our body than human cells.
There are good and bad strains of bacteria in our bodies all the time. We know that if the bad bacteria is given the opportunity, it will cause an infection that needs to be treated. However, the good bacteria tin our gut help us to digest food, destroy unwelcome microorganisms, and produce vitamins.
When we take antibiotics, they wipe out the bad bacteria that our body is fighting, along with all of the good bacteria that keeps the bad bacteria in balance. When there’s not enough ‘good’ to balance out the ‘bad’, then you end up with severe gut dysbiosis, gastrointestinal problems, and a lowered immune system.
The probiotics important job is to reintroduce the good bacteria into our bodies, allowing the delicate balance to remain.
Best Ways to Get The Probiotics Important Benefits
Fermented Food- these are one of the best ways to get probiotics into your diet, but it’s not the easiest. Fermenting food takes some time, but you can get really great strains into your gut by wild fermenting. Wild fermentation occurs when you allow the different bacterias that are in the air to ferment your food. Different locations, environments, and seasons can bring you different strains of bacteria that you can’t easily get anywhere else.
Yogurt- Even if you follow a paleo diet, you can still have yogurt, provided it’s made from coconut instead of dairy. If you get a good quality organic yogurt, then you will be able to get some extra good bacteria in your diet. However, if you’re buying the yogurt that’s full of sugar, dyes, and hormones; do yourself a favor and skip it entirely.
Probiotic Supplements- This is the easiest way to get good probiotics in your diet, however not all probiotics are created equal. When looking for a supplement, always make sure that there is a good variety of strains. Sure, some probiotics give you 10 billion CFU, but if there’s only 2 strains of probiotics, you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
And as a bonus, digestive enzymes help immenseley with digestion. I’m a big believer in digestive enzymes, since many people with hypothyroidism also have corresponding low stomach acid.
This makes it harder to get all of the nutrients out of food, and further harms the gut. Since I’ve started on digestive enzymes, I feel so much better and I don’t have nearly as much gastrointestinal discomfort as I once had.
Our probiotics important job is keeping our gut healthy, and it should be a priority for us. We’re chronically suffering with antibiotic overuse, effects of glyphosate and pesticides, and eating processed food that’s tearing us up from the inside out.
Prioritizing your gut looks like regularly eating fermented foods, and taking a high quality probiotic. Introducing different strains of good bacteria into your digestive system on a regular basis will help keep your gut healthy.
How do you keep your gut healthy?
This post was originally written in February 2018. It was updated in May 2019.