Do you eat the perfect diet, avoiding excess sugar and alcohol; live stress frees all while managing to avoid colds and flus when they do the rounds?
If you answered no to any of the above, taking a daily probiotic may help you stay healthy by supporting your gut health.
Your gut microbiome is a key player in the wellbeing stakes and plays a role in:
- The production of vitamins including folic acid and vitamins B12 and K
- Supporting healthy immune function
- Defending against pathogens
- Supporting a healthy digestive system
Good gut health and use of probiotics has been linked to a heathy weight and healthy vaginal flora.
Some research suggests probiotics may help prevent diarrhoea caused by antibiotic use and that there is a link to mental wellbeing and brain health.
The gut-health busting suspects
A healthy gut has a balance between beneficial bacteria and pathogenic, or "bad" bacteria.
Our gut flora thrives best on a diet rich in a variety of whole foods (so yes to carrots, but you also need wholegrains, other coloured fruits and veggies, lean protein, dairy, water...you know the drill!)
Daily exercise also aids digestion, and research suggests a healthy digestive system supports good gut health.
But while we all do our best in the diet and lifestyle stakes, a busy life can see the best of intentions supplemented with the odd doughnut and three-days-takeout and too many vinos occur.
Add to this other factors that can hinder our gut health - certain medications, stress, climate, ageing, illness and infections, creating an imbalance of our gut bacteria.
Where to find them
Probiotics occur in a number of foods, including kefir, yoghurt, sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha, natto, kvass, apple cider vinegar, miso and tempeh.
If these foods don't appeal, or you don't consume them daily, a probiotic supplement may be suitable for you.
Talk to your healthcare professional about what is best for you.