Do you take care of your health and nutrition, eat well, drink plenty of water but still have poor skin and hair quality? Do you bloat up easily without eating fatty foods? Do you go through indigestion, flatulence and stomach cramps? It could be the health of your gut that’s causing these problems.
The human body is made up of billions of bacteria, without many of which we would not survive. The term "probiotics" relates to foods and nutritional supplements that contain these same "good" bacteria found in the body.
What Is Good Bacteria All About?
Probiotics are live bacteria that, when consumed through foods or supplements, are beneficial to our digestive system. They are also called good, healthy or friendly bacteria. Our digestive or gastrointestinal tract usually has trillions of gut bacteria and yeast, collectively known as ‘gut flora’. For the gastrointestinal system to function properly, the gut flora must be in balance. This helps counteract the negative effects of certain dietary choices, illnesses or medications.
When a person contracts a bacterial infection, antibiotics are often turned to as the immediate solution. But antibiotics kill bacteria arbitrarily, wiping out both good and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract. By eliminating the beneficial bacteria, the body is vulnerable to various digestive issues. Rapid replacement of these beneficial bacteria is very important, and introducing probiotics to a health regimen is an increasingly popular method to do just that.
Are Probiotics A Diet Prerequisite?
Over the years, the one thing that I have noticed is that most diseases begin from the gut. So, it is essential to keep your gut strong and healthy. We naturally have these good bacteria in our gut but unfortunately, there are a variety of factors that can cause an imbalance in our gut flora. A diet high in processed foods, stress and taking multiple rounds of antibiotics or other medications can all decrease the amount of the natural probiotics found in our gut. That is why it’s important that, along with a healthy diet, we consume foods high in probiotics.
The most common natural probiotic-containing foods are those that have been fermented. These are some of the foods that make the nutrition food list.
Kefir (a drinkable yogurt)
Kombucha (a fermented tea)
Sauerkraut or kimchi (fermented cabbage and other vegetables)
Miso or tempeh (fermented soybean products)
I often come across people who find it difficult to consume foods rich in probiotics and this is where I recommend my audience and friends to take probiotic supplements. They too are rich in probiotics and at the same time are more convenient to consume as they are small capsules that can be popped on the go.
For the supplements to be more effective, the capsule material should be made of a proper composition such as organic vegetable cellulose. It is also important that the capsules are recently manufactured. This ensures that the complete bacterial population is still alive. Stocks that have been sitting on the shelf for a long time have a much lesser percentage of live bacteria than what the capsule contents may indicate. It takes time to rebuild bacterial population in the gut. So sometimes you may have to take these supplements or eat these foods for six months to a year depending on how low your level of good bacteria is.
Ways Probiotics Support Men's Health
Men and women have similar problems to a large extent; however, there are certain conditions that affect men in particular. Fortunately, probiotics for men can help with many of these issues, including:
1. Heart Health
Cardiovascular health is a major concern for men. While some of the main challenges to maintaining a healthy heart (like excessive drinking and smoking) aren’t nearly as widespread as they once were, unwanted changes in heart function are still one of the most common reasons for men to need emergency medical care. But taking probiotics can help you keep your heart firing on all cylinders, even as you age.
2. Lung Health
Though rates of serious lung issues have been dropping among men worldwide, they're still a major concern, with over three million men affected by ongoing respiratory conditions. Probiotics act as saviours that help to keep the lungs healthy and strong.
3. Blood Sugar Levels
Uncontrolled changes in blood sugar levels or a decreased ability to regulate insulin can have serious effects on your overall health and since far more men than women are at risk for these changes, these issues are well worth paying attention to. Regularly taking probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can help your body manage blood sugar levels appropriately.
4. Bone Health
Changes in bone density are common in older men and they can actually be much more serious than similar changes in older women. This is because men typically have a harder time bouncing back from these types of problems.
But before you start reaching for the calcium supplements, there may be a more effective way to support your bone health. Like many other parts of the body, the health of your bones is closely tied to the health of your gut, especially your intestines. Keeping your gut healthy will automatically keep your bones strong.
Probiotics have endless benefits. These benefits range from keeping the gut healthy to keeping your bones strong. Give your body the much-needed boost it requires with bioactive probiotics!
About The Author: Luke Coutinho is a holistic nutritionist and an integrative medicine and lifestyle practitioner. He is the founder of Pure Nutrition.