Should You Be Taking Probiotics?
The word “bacteria” might sound gross, but bacteria are more normal than you might realize—you have trillions of bacteria inside your body all the time. Many of these live in your gut. Most are harmless, some are helpful, and a small number can cause disease. So, obviously we want more of that good bacteria!
Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that some people take as a supplement in the hopes of colonizing your gut with more good bacteria in order to calm stomach issues and offer health benefits.
According to Healthline, having the right gut bacteria has been linked to health benefits like:
- Improved digestion
- Enhanced immune function
- Healthier skin
- Reduced risk of some diseases
- Weight loss
If you have digestive issues that just won’t go away, or have a condition research suggests probiotics may help treat (like eczema, insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes), it might be worth looking into adding probiotics to your routine—whether through a daily supplement or by eating foods that are high in probiotics (see our list below).
Although the evidence behind probiotics healing the gut and balancing your gut bacteria is promising, more research is needed on the full health benefits of probiotics. Since probiotics are considered dietary supplements, the FDA doesn’t monitor the manufacture of probiotics, so you’ll want to be careful which brands you decide to trust.
Foods high in probiotics:
- Yogurt, especially plain Greek yogurt
- Kefir, a tangy yogurt drink
- Fermented vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut or kimchi.
- Kombucha, a bubbly probiotic drink
- Miso, fermented soybean paste you’ve probably had in soup
Thinking of giving probiotics a try? Please speak with your doctor before beginning any probiotics regimen.