Belly Up to Probiotics and Their Many Health Benefits!

Probiotics found in probiotic supplements, yogurt, and other fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut, are microscopic helpers that impact us in a big way when it comes to our health.

A recent Yahoo article, “Probiotics: More Than Your Tummy’s BFF..,” called out some of the important advantages to maintaining a healthy balance of digestive bacteria—supported by probiotics. Your gut is filled with trillions of bacterial cells, and probiotics help boost the amount of healthy bacterial cells there. These healthy bacteria promote healthy gut balance as well as produce vitamins, help digest your food, promote your immune health, and help keep your bowel and digestive tract ticking along nicely.

Dysbiosis and Your Gut
An imbalance of healthy bacteria in the gut is known as dysbiosis, a condition you may not know you have until its uncomfortable signs crop up. The signs of dysbiosis include:

  • Gas, bloating, and flatulence, especially around meal time
  • Occasional and unexplained constipation or digestive upsets
  • Skin issues such as itchy, dry skin or breakouts
  • Poor nutrient absorption and irregular digestion
  • Yeast imbalance

Boosting your levels of healthy bacteria through probiotic intake supports an optimal balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Did you know?
The lining of your gut (GALT) is often called your “second brain,” and the bacteria in it are as important as brain cells in keeping you healthy. The gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) is your primary line of defense in the digestive tract; it also produces 90 percent of the body’s feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin.

The GALT is also heavily reliant on the beneficial gut bacteria to do its job. These beneficial bacteria, which include probiotics, promote important immune cell function and help create a healthy gut barrier. So, keep your probiotic intake high, avoid unnecessary antibiotic use, and eat a whole-foods rich diet to feed your gut, and whole body, healthy!

Source: “Probiotics, More Than Your Tummy’s BFF…” Yahoo Shine, July 2013.

Is There a Natural Way to Prevent Yeast Overgrowth?

Ah, the dreaded vaginal yeast infection. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 75 percent of all women will have one at some point during their lives, and nearly half of those women will have two or more. But what causes this most uncomfortable of conditions? The answer may surprise you.

The majority of all vaginal yeast infections are caused by a microscopic yeast organism called Candida albicans. Although naturally present in a healthy vagina, Candida albicans can cause problems when certain factors—such as stress, antibiotic use, a high-sugar diet, illness and hormonal changes—upset the healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina and allow the opportunistic yeast to grow out of control. When that happens, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as itching and irritation, vaginal discharge, painful urination, and more.

Because Candida albicans thrives on sugary, processed foods, preventing vaginal yeast overgrowth begins with following a healthy, low-sugar diet. Increasing your fiber intake through foods and natural fiber supplements is also recommended, as fiber helps to nourish the beneficial vaginal bacteria (called probiotics) that work to crowd out harmful yeast organisms. Finally, taking a daily probiotic supplement with a high Lactobacilli count can help maintain a balanced internal environment, since Lactobacilli are the most prevalent good bacteria in a healthy vagina and urinary tract.

Want to learn more about controlling yeast overgrowth naturally? Get advice from natural health expert Brenda Watson!