What are probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the intestine and improve the body’s overall health, bringing benefits such as facilitating digestion and nutrient absorption and strengthening the immune system.
When the intestinal flora is not in balance, often after the use of antibiotics or when you do not have a healthy and balanced diet, the intestine is populated by bad bacteria, which do not help the immune system and leave the body susceptible to diseases.
Benefits of probiotics.
The main benefits of probiotics are:
- Fight and prevent intestinal diseases such as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and intestinal inflammation.
- Fight diseases such as cancer, candidiasis, hemorrhoids, and urinary infection.
- Improve digestion and combat acidity.
- Fight constipation and diarrhea, regulating intestinal transit.
- Increase the absorption of nutrients, such as vitamin B, calcium, and iron.
- Strengthen the immune system by increasing the production of macrophages, the body’s defense cells.
- Prevent the proliferation of bad bacteria in the intestine.
- Help digest lactose, especially in people with intolerance to this component.
- Prevent problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension.
- Prevent allergies and food intolerances.
Help improve mood, as a direct relationship has been found between the balance of intestinal flora with a decrease in diseases such as depression and anxiety.
They could help improve conditions such as autism, as some studies seem to indicate improvements at the gastrointestinal and behavioral levels, improving the ability to concentrate and listen.
A healthy intestinal flora rich in probiotics begins from birth, especially when the baby is born by normal delivery and exclusively breastfed during the beginning of life.
How to take probiotics
There are two ways to ingest probiotics:
On the one hand, we can increase the consumption of foods considered natural probiotics, such as yogurt or kefir.
What are probiotic foods?
Among the probiotic foods, we can find:
– Plain yogurt these are the main and easiest source of probiotics on the market today.
– Kefir is a product fermented with yeast and bacteria, similar to yogurt, but has more probiotics.
– Fermented milk, are special products that generally contain Lactobacillus added by the industry, the most famous being Yakult.
– Kombucha is a fermented drink made mainly from black tea
– Oriental products based on soybeans, legumes, and vegetables such as Miso, Natto, Kimchi, and Tempeh that can be purchased in specialized stores;
– Sauerkraut is a culinary preparation that is made through the fermentation of fresh cabbage or cabbage leaves
– Gherkins, preparation of cucumbers in water and salt, are left to ferment for a while.
– Sourdough, or natural yeast, is a live culture composed of yeasts and bacteria produced through the fermentation of cereals such as wheat and microorganisms found naturally in the environment, used to make various products such as bread, cakes, and cookies.
– Some cheeses, such as Cabrales and Roquefort, may also contain live cultures of microorganisms with vegan probiotics uk properties. It is important to read the nutritional labeling to confirm whether or not this type of cheese contains these bacteria.
There are various presentations of capsules, liquids, or sachets, which must be diluted in water or natural juices to be consumed. They can be found in pharmacies and nutritional stores.
There are several supplements, including anywhere from 1 to 10 different types of probiotics. The most important are:
Bifidobacteria animals: helps strengthen the immune system, facilitating digestion and fighting bacteria transmitted by eating contaminated food.
Bifidobacteria bifidum: they are present in the small and large intestines, aiding in the digestion of dairy products.
Bifidobacteria breve: they are present in the intestine and the vaginal tract, helping to fight bacterial and fungal infections.
Bifidobacteria longum is one of the most common types of probiotics in the intestine and helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
Lactobacillus acidophilus: This is perhaps the most important type of probiotic, as it aids in absorbing various nutrients, fighting infections, and facilitating digestion.
Lactobacillus reuteri: they are present, especially in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, being important against Helicobacter pylori infection.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is present in the intestine and can help quickly combat cases of diarrhea, especially when traveling to other countries. It can also help treat acne, eczema, and candida.
Lactobacillus fermentum: helps neutralize products and toxins released during digestion, improving the environment for the growth of intestinal flora.
Saccharomyces boulardii: Helps treat antibiotic-induced or traveler’s diarrhea.
Foods that we should eliminate from our diet for a strong immune system
Soft drinks, soft drinks.
Processed foods, some frozen, have large amounts of sugar, salt, carbohydrates, and saturated fats, French fries, ready meals, and pizzas.
Refined carbohydrates, white bread causes inflammation and wears out the immune system, even more so if we accompany it with sugary drinks such as soft drinks, fruit juices, or sweetened coffees.
Salt. Although its use is vital for food flavor, its excessive consumption can lower our defenses. Excess salt causes infections and immune deficiencies against some bacteria.
Caffeine. Although we usually drink a cup of coffee in the morning, consuming large amounts of this drink could affect our health.
Foods and drinks are high in sugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, ice cream, and sugary boxed cereals. Sugar weakens the immune system, and the WHO recommends eating 25g of sugar per day to keep the body healthy.
Exercise and the immune system
Moderate physical exercise regularly produces an anti-inflammatory effect on the immune system, reduces the risk of suffering infections, and reinforces it if we compare the data with a sedentary lifestyle.
Physical activity can help remove bacteria from the lungs and airways, reducing the chances of contracting any respiratory disease.
Exercise causes changes in antibodies and leukocytes. Leukocytes are the immune system cells that fight disease through antibodies, proteins that neutralize bacteria, and external agents. Regular exercise makes these antibodies, and white blood cells circulate faster to detect and fight disease more quickly and effectively.
Brief elevation of body temperature during and immediately after exercise can prevent bacterial growth. This temperature rise can help the body better fight an infection, similar to when you have a fever.
Exercise decreases the secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol. Some stress increases the chances of getting an infection. Lowering stress hormones can protect against disease.
The sports practice of between 20 and 30 minutes a day of exercise every day would be fine.