Recently, probiotics have been recognized for their ability to promote a healthy digestive system by reducing the growth of bad bacteria. They have also been linked to weight loss and immunity boosts. The use of probiotics can aid weight management by balancing the bacteria in the gut, aiding in proper digestion and immunity.
What are probiotics?
Believe it or not, probiotics are actually bacteria that live in the digestive tract. They are “good” bacteria because they keep the stomach and intestinal tract in a balanced state, protecting the body against an upset. Stress, poor diet, antibiotics and other factors can kill the healthy bacteria that help the body to digest properly and absorb nutrients. Studies have shown that it is possible to treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria.
How do probiotics assist in weight loss on the Paleo diet?
Recent research has shown that overweight people have different amounts and types of bacteria in their guts. There is also evidence that chemicals for brain and mood functions are produced in the gut lining and gastrointestinal tract. This means that if there are problems in the gut, there will be mood problems and other issues present as well. This could result in overeating, poor digestion, and ultimately weight gain.
When the body is stressed due to an imbalance in gut bacteria, it releases cortisol. Cortisol is directly connected to weight gain, particularly in the form of belly fat. When proper flora is maintained, there is a dramatically reduced risk of fat disposition and energy harvest. This means higher metabolism as well as better mood disposition. This also means that more energy will be used and a higher number of calories will be used.
How are probiotics acquired?
Probiotics are acquired through foods and supplements. One of the most popular probiotic foods is plain, unsweetened yogurt which contains acidophilus and other cultures. Fermented foods such as kefir, pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi are also plentiful in probiotics. Kombucha tea is fermented and contains antioxidants that boost immunity. It also aids in digestion and raises energy levels. Miso soup is made from fermented soybean paste and contains strains of good bacteria.
A probiotic supplement may also be a good idea for some people to take if they are having an upset in stomach flora. Some supplements have a higher amount of probiotics than others, so be sure to read labels. If there are symptoms of a yeast infection or thrush present, probiotic supplements are a good way to treat them quickly and effectively.
Probiotics may also aid in the treatment of many conditions, including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Intestinal infections
- Colds and flu
- Eczema in children
While the health claims for probiotics are not approved by the FDA as of yet, the key is making sure each strain in a specific product is active and has been clinically proven to work at a certain dosage.