Feel happier, lose weight and be healthier? That’s quite a claim. But it may be justified when it comes to probiotics. Find out about what you can include every day to feel a difference.
Probiotics are substances that contribute to the healthy gut flora in our digestive system. We effectively carry ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in our digestive system, and there’s a nice healthy balance that is maintained. Ideally.
With at typical lifestyle, however, it’s likely that gut bacteria is out of balance, and you could be feeling negative side effects of this every day without knowing it. Antibiotics, booze, smoking, stress and high sugar/carbohydrate diets can all contribute to the good bacteria losing the battle.
Gut bacteria benefit #1: Happiness
Believe it or not, 90% of seratonin is produced in the gut, and then finds it’s way to the brain. This is important because there’s a lot of evidence that supports theories around seratonin production in the gut, seratonin depletion and the link to feeling unhappy. Ever felt feelings of sadness, or being disinterested in things when your stomach is out of whack? There could be more to it than just physically feeling uncomfortable.
Gut bacteria benefit #2: Fuel
Having gut flora in order means that digestion can function optimally and this means better absorption of nutrients from the food you eat. There’s already evidence that people who enjoy what they’re eating take in more nutrients from the same food, compared to someone who doesn’t like that food, and it’s no stretch to imagine how links between stress, and things being out of balance in the digestive system could inhibit us absorbing all the nutrients our food has on offer.
Gut bacteria benefit #3: Fat loss
There’s a growing body of evidence that’s starting to support the idea that having gut bacteria in order will lead to better fat loss, and continued fat loss. The science behind this is complex, but you can confidently put a bet on the fact that having gut bacteria balanced and healthy certainly won’t hurt fat loss, and at best, could help it along.
Gut bacteria benefit #4: Anti stress
Your digestive system is a big part of your body, and if it’s not functioning well, we all know what that can feel like. If you’re having a stressful day, this can have a direct impact on how your digestive system feels, but have you considered that the opposite could also be true? Consider that if the digestive system is already not feeling good, then a message could be relayed back, and a stress cycle supported as you feel less well in general, and small stressors wear you down.
The one paragraph how-to
Probiotics come in two varieties – foods that support good bacteria production, and supplements that add good bacteria. Technically, the foods are prebiotics, meaning they are precursors to the production of good bacteria, but that’s splitting hairs. Look to fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut for massive doses, and also consider capsules packaged by reputable brands that offer counts in the billions of healthy bacteria. Especially supplement if you’ve been taking antibiotics – just don’t take them at the same time as those capsules.
You can also balance your bacteria by adjusting lifestyle, but obviously this may be a little more challenging. In general, the more you can reduce stressful lifestyle decisions, or ones that challenge the body, will help you out. So, look to intake of alcohol, taking of antibiotics and high sugar/carbohydrate indulgences as some of the key factors.
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