How probiotics help keep you healthy
Your gut is home to 100 trillion microorganisms or microbes that play a crucial role in your health.
We’re all born with a unique blend of gut microorganisms—some good, some bad—and this mix is affected by where you live and what you eat affect as you grow.
Studies indicate that the diversity and composition of gut bacteria are important. They help your immune system function properly and may help lower your risk for several cancers, including colon cancer. Some studies even show a greater variety of gut bacteria lowers the likelihood of being overweight or obese. Other studies show a healthy mix of gut bacteria may affect your mood, influencing behavior, anxiety and depression.
What’s most important is learning how to keep your gut bacteria healthy.
Feed it a balanced diet. Your diet sustains your gut bacteria. You provide the environment and food. They, in turn, help us digest food and convert essential vitamins and nutrients into an absorbable form. So you’ll need to feed it a balanced diet loaded with probiotic (foods that contain live bacteria) and prebiotic (fiber-rich foods that feed the bacteria in your gut) foods.
Probiotics which may help restore balance and offer protection from harmful bacteria. Early research shows the anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics could inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. For the best benefits, eat at least one small serving of probiotics a day.
Probiotic foods include:
Yogurt (with live or active cultures)
Prebiotic foods allow the bacteria in your gut to grow and repopulate. Most are fiber-rich plant foods, and they should fill at least two-thirds of your plate.
Prebiotic foods include:
Fruits and vegetables, specifically bananas, asparagus and onions
Limit processed foods, which are low in nutrients and high in added sugar. This includes fast food, and packaged and instant foods. When you eat a diet high in processed foods and low in fruits and vegetables, you have a lower diversity of gut microorganisms.
If you haven’t been eating a balanced diet, it’s not too late to change that. A significant change in your microorganism population takes only a of couple weeks.