In a healthy gut, there is a balance of beneficial (good bacteria) and bad bacteria. Food, stress, alcohol, infection, exposure to toxic things, excess dietary fat, processed foods, gastro infections, climate, illness, medications (in particular antibiotics) can all upset this balance, which can lead to an excess of the ‘bad’ bacteria. If you have too much of the bad stuff, it can lead to bloating, wind/gas and constipation.
Probiotics are the friendly type (the good type) of bacteria that we need for a good digestive system, good health and vitality. When you take probiotics the good bacteria will improve the balance of flora in your digestive system.
Did you know that our digestive system contains over 400 different species of micro-organisms and on average, an adult carries about 3-4kgs of bacterial gut flora – that is a massive amount!
We need all this good bacteria to maintain a healthy digestive system. If you have a healthy digestive system, you will have more energy and vitality, be less bloated, suffer less tummy pains and many other things.
To ensure we have a healthy digestive system, we need to make sure it has LOTS of good bacteria in it. The good bacteria helps to:
- Improve your digestion
- Relieve symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Produce the right nutrients to repair the gut lining
- Increase resistance to infections and regulating the immune function
- Prevent too much growth of the bad bacteria
What do you need to look for in a probiotic?
You need to look for the correct strain of probiotics to ensure that it will survive the passage through your stomach to your intestines where it is needed most. The most recommended and you will find in most known brands – Inner Health Plus, Bioceuticals, Swiss etc, is Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is acid and bile resistant, which is why it can survive digestion. Ideally you want the one with the highest amount of the good bacteria – standard is usually about 25,000.
I would recommend that you buy a brand that is in the fridge and keep it there, to ensure it remains live. You can buy it at most chemists, health food stores etc.
You can even give it to your children – there are baby and children versions as well.
What about probiotics in my yoghurt or in the probiotic drinks?
Many of you will know that I recommend that you take dairy out of your lifestyle, which also includes yoghurt (just try it for 2 weeks and see how you go and how much better you feel!).
Many yoghurts these days contain a lot of sugar, which defeats the purpose of friendly bacteria! A lot of the time infections in your gut (candida for example), is there because of too much sugar! Those sorts of infections and yeast, fungi in your gut etc feed on sugar – the more you give it, the more it wants (hence sugar cravings!). If you are having yoghurt and probiotic drinks that have sugar in them (to make them taste good), you are defeating the purpose of having the good bacteria!
Yes, there are 100% natural organic yoghurts out there, which do have probiotics in them, which is great, but try taking yoghurt out of your diet for 2 weeks, re-introduce it in small amounts and see how you feel. If you feel OK, great! If you feel yuk, bloated, diarrhoea, etc after having it, it’s not great for you and I would try and stay clear of it!
So get some probiotic (acidophilus) into your body and your digestive tract and see if you feel a difference! Oh and if you are taking it, doesn’t mean you can increase all the bad stuff!
You can usually find the well known brands such as Inner Health Plus, Swiss, Bioceuticals in Health food stores and chemists.