2016 Top 5 Health Benefits of Probiotics
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From kombucha to miso, sauerkraut to yogurt, a number of foods we consume contain gut-regulating probiotics, which are live bacteria that help regulate our digestion.
These so-called “good” bacteria not only promote regularity in our systems, studies show that they also promote a number of health benefits that can really make a difference over the course of our lives to our overall well-being.
Far from being just another health fad, probiotics are an essential part of maintaining the body’s delicate internal balance.
Here are five benefits of probiotics backed up by recent research that will encourage you to add bacteria-boosting foods to your diet ASAP.
1. Weight loss
According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, certain probiotics can help you lose weight—and keep it off.
Researchers analyzed probiotic consumption of obese individuals and found that introducing healthy bacteria into women’s diets yielded twice a much weight loss when compared to a placebo group of women who were not consuming probiotics.
(Results were seen only in women, not men, for reasons that are not entirely understood.) Not only did the study show weight loss, but the results suggest that probiotics may protect against type-2 diabetes and glucose intolerance, too.
2. Alleviation of uncomfortable bodily issues
Whether you suffer from stomach issues, like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, or other not-so-fun conditions, like chronic yeast infections or urinary tract infections, probiotics can come to your rescue.
Consuming foods that are rich in gut-healthy bacteria can ease, and even prevent, painful, embarrassing and unwanted problems within the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.
3. Potential protection against breast cancer
While we typically associate healthy bacteria in the body with the stomach, it turns out that there are also live cultures found in the breasts.
New research in Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that healthy women tend to have colonies of two types of probiotics within their breasts, Streptococcus thermophilus (not the same as the strep strain we associate with strep throat) and Lactobacillus, which is also the type of bacteria in yogurt.
While more investigation is needed to show the link between consuming probiotics and breast health, the research suggests that the microbiome within the breasts plays a significant role in whether or not a given woman will develop cancer.
4. A decreased risk of depression
Could a kombucha a day keep the sads away? Potentially. Various studies in humans and in animals have shown a link between mental well-being and probiotic consumption.
Probiotics may have an effect on how our bodies produce cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as reduce the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
5. Glowing, gorgeous skin
Believe it or not, your skin depends on a healthy gut in order to be free and clear of conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
The microbiome within each of us has a very real effect on how we look on the outside—meaning that probiotics can contribute to flawless skin due to the way they stabilize and promote internal health by controlling inflammation and bad bacteria.
Eating probiotic-rich foods, and even using them as topical treatments, can lead to better-looking skin.
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