Probiotics- we hear about them from our doctor’s, and we see them listed on yogurt labels. What are they exactly? And what do they do? Let’s break down everything you need to know about probiotics.
What are they?
Probiotics are living microorganisms which are supposed to provide health benefits when they come in contact with your body (1). To get deeper into it, they are made of bacteria and yeast. When people hear bacteria, they probably have a negative connotation. However, there are good and bad forms of bacteria. Probiotics are a good type of bacteria, so you want them in your body.
What do they do?
Well, since there are good and bad bacteria in the body, probiotics help keep the balance veering towards the “good” side. The bad bacteria come into your body when you are sick or have an infection of some kind. Bad bacteria can cause disturbances as small as a pimple, or spark issues as serious as toxic shock syndrome (2). Probiotics help your body fight off the bad bacteria. So, if you touch a germy surface and come in contact with some bad bacteria, the good bacteria from probiotics can prevent you from getting sick.
Where in my body are probiotics?
The most common location for probiotics in your body is your gut (3). The other areas where probiotics are at work are the lungs, skin, vagina, urinary tract, and mouth. These are areas that have access to the outside world, whether it be by touching a surface, eating something, or sex, so it makes sense this is where bacteria has a chance to enter the body.
How can I get more probiotics in my system?
Some foods that contain probiotics are yogurt, unpasteurized sauerkraut, miso soup, soft cheeses, sourdough bread and sour pickles (4). Adding some of these foods to your diet can help add more of those good bacteria to your system. When it comes to food, they are typically helping your digestion, so they are targeting bad bacteria in your gut.
When people think of probiotic health, yogurt may be one of the first foods that comes to mind. This is likely due to the marketing of the yogurt brand, Activia. A quick glance at the Activia website shows you how focused the company is on probiotics. The company sells probiotic dailies, which is a quick way to get in your daily probiotics. The product is a small yogurt drink that you can finish quickly, which is great news for your gut. Activia promotes what is called the Activia Gut Health Challenge. To participate, all you have to do is consume Activia twice a day for two weeks straight. During this time, you will be helping your gut health by getting in all those probiotics.
Activia has done research for 20 years on probiotics, so the company has a lot of insight on gut health to offer. Many people might not know that your gut impacts many parts of your everyday life, from how you feel, to how you sleep, to your energy levels. It’s important that you take your gut health seriously, and by taking a step, like participating in the Activia Gut Health Challenge, you’ll feel the difference.