A Beginner’s Guide to Probiotics & Why They’re Good
There are a million different forms of bacteria in your stomach—don’t let this scare you! Contrary to popular belief, not all bacteria is bad for you; the good bacteria in your stomach, for example, helps your body in so many ways. Ideally, your stomach should contain 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria.
The right stomach bacteria is linked to numerous health benefits, which include weight loss, improved digestion, healthier skin, a reduced risk of many diseases, and enhanced immune function. Probiotics, a type of friendly bacteria that provides health benefits, can help improve your stomach health.
Here’s a beginner’s guide to probiotics and what you should consume to get more of the good bacteria into your diet.
What Are Probiotics
Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when ingested, are incredibly beneficial to your health—especially your gut. Found in supplements and specific foods that are prepared by bacterial fermentation, probiotics do so much for your body. For example, they support your immune system and help regulate digestion. The probiotic bacteria live within your digestive tract, and without it, your stomach would riot.
Types of Probiotics
Since there are millions of bacteria within the body, this means there are thousands of strains of probiotics living within your stomach. Each kind of probiotic supports a different aspect of your health. If you’re struggling with your health and want to try a holistic approach, consuming a wide variety of probiotics may be what you need. This isn’t to say that they will improve or fix major health issues, but there are some things that can be solved by giving your body more of the healthy bacteria that it needs.
Check out this list of some of the different types of probiotics and what they help cure.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus – Gas, acne, and lactose intolerance
- Bifidobacterium longum – Constipation, Brain Function
- Streptococcus thermophilus – Gastrointestinal Support, Skin Support
- Lactobacillus plantarum – Inflammation
If these science terms have your head spinning, don’t fret! The different strains of probiotics can be ingested by consuming a wide range of foods and supplements. You’ll end up consuming those different strains, without even thinking about it!
What to Consume
Figuring out what to eat and drink is one of the most important aspects of our beginner’s guide to probiotics. Here are just a few options of what you should implement into your diet.
- Milk Kefir
Kefir is similar to yogurt, but it’s thinner and has more probiotics. Most milk kefir grains contain more or less than 20 different probiotic strains and even some beneficial yeast strains.
- Sauerkraut or Kimchi
Sauerkraut and kimchi are both made from fermented cabbage—the difference between the two is the vegetables and spices you add. While kimchi and sauerkraut don’t contain massive amounts of probiotics, the organic acids from them support the growth of good bacteria in your stomach.
All the rage over the past few years, Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea that has healthy probiotics within it. While it might be a little too bitter for some, Kombucha is nevertheless a great way to get in your probiotics for the day.
- Green Olives
Green olives are a probiotic-rich food. Make sure that the olives are brined in salt water and not vinegar or something else. Green olives undergo a natural fermentation process, similar to that of pickles.
For more information on the health benefits of probiotics and their impact on digestive health, take a look at this in-depth article on probiotics.