At least 50% of Australian adults experience unpleasant gut symptoms such as bloating, gas and constipation, with 1 in 7 experiencing distressing symptoms (7). This fact underlines the importance of preserving gut health.
We often hear that probiotics are good for our digestive tracts, but what exactly are probiotics and what good can they do for our bodies? Read on to learn how to improve your gut health with probiotics.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are various microorganisms that are naturally found living in your body (1,2,3). While these bacteria can be found in multiple places in the body, they are usually found in your gut, or digestive tract.
When people think of bacteria, often there are negative connotations associated with the word, and people assume that they will make them sick. However probiotics are “good bacteria” that do wonders for our health.
What are the different kinds of probiotics to improve gut health
While there are various kinds of probiotics, the two most common bacteria that can benefit your gut health are from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families (1,2,3). Besides bacteria, you can also find certain kinds of yeast that can be beneficial to the body, Saccharomyces being the most common kind.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to support optimal gut function as well as prevent degenerative diseases. Bifidobacterium can help inhibit bad bacteria, as well as suppress inflammation and improve gastrointestinal function (6).
Saccharomyces boulardii, on the other hand, helps alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and has been shown to improve the quality of life of individuals who suffer from IBS (6).
How to improve gut health with probiotics
Gut health refers to the overall status of our entire gastro-intestinal system. This includes the stomach, small intestine, and colon (4). It is important that we have a healthy gut because our guts are responsible for breaking down the food that we eat and absorbing it into nutrients and energy that our bodies can use (4).
Within our gut, you can find both good and bad bacteria. A healthy balance between the two is important to make sure that our gut is functioning properly. This is where probiotics come in.
Following bad eating habits, infections, or the use of antibiotics, the balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut may be negatively altered. This is a problem because there should always be a balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. Having more bad bacteria might lead to complications such as worse infections and diseases. Taking in probiotics can help restore digestive balance, maintain intestinal health, and replenish digestive flora (4).
In addition, probiotics are great in preventing and reducing gastro-intestinal illnesses. They do this by keeping in check the bad bacteria that seek to do our bodies harm.
Besides this, they also help our bodies digest the food that we eat to help keep our overall health.
Where can I get probiotics for gut health?
Considering the importance of probiotics in gut health, here are some good sources of probiotics that you can opt for to support gut health (5):
Yogurt is considered to be one of the best sources of probiotics. Made by fermenting milk, yogurt has tonnes of good bacteria that can support your gut health (5).
Much like yogurt, kefir is made from fermented milk. Kefir carries a combination of yeast and bacteria. It contains a more diverse selection of yeast and bacteria compared to yogurt (5).
Sauerkraut is pickled cabbage. It is common in Europe where it is the traditional dish of many countries. Often used as a side dish, sauerkraut is a great choice since it contains other nutrients and minerals besides probiotics (5).
Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans. It has gained popularity because it is commonly used as a substitute to meat in vegetarian diets.
Kimchi is a popular traditional side dish from South Korea. Much like sauerkraut, kimchi is made from fermented cabbages. However, you can also make kimchi from other vegetables, not just cabbages. Kimchi contains good amounts of lactic acid bacteria as well as minerals and nutrients from the cabbages (5).
Kombucha is a black or green tea drink that is fermented by a colony of bacteria and yeast. While more research is needed to confirm other potential benefits of kombucha, it’s production process at least means that it is a source of probiotics (5).
Pickles are usually cucumbers that are made to ferment by their own juices. Pickled cucumbers are great sources of probiotics for gut health.
Sometimes we are not able to get all the probiotics we need from diet alone. In this case, it might be worth considering taking supplements so that we can still receive a sufficient amount of probiotics for gut health.
Supplements for gut health
Vitable’s Probiotic contains a blend of L. Rhamnosus, B. Lactis and Saccharomyces Boulardii. This combination of good microorganisms are great for supporting a healthy digestive system while also assisting the management of digestive disturbances.
Particularly, Saccharomyces Boulardii helps restore intestinal friendly flora. This yeast probiotic has been shown to support good bacteria after antibiotic use.
Consult with your doctor so you have a better idea of what will work best for you and your current health.
A healthy gut is essential to a healthy life. But in a fast-paced world, taking the time to make sure we’re getting all the vitamins and minerals we need might be time-consuming and costly. Good thing Vitable Australia’s vitamin subscription and vitamin delivery service makes all of this hassle-free. Sign up now to receive your custom supplements to support gut health and beyond.
Find out more about other supplements that can support digestion:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
- Probiotics: What You Need to Know (n.d.) Researched December 9, 2021 from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know
- Probiotics (n.d.) Researched December 9, 2021 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics
- Probiotics (n.d.) Researched December 9, 2021 from https://www.dairysafe.vic.gov.au/licensees/dairy-science-business/probiotics
- How to Improve Your Gut Health (2021) Researched December 9, 2021 from https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/be-healthy/how-to-improve-your-gut-health
- How to Get More Probiotics (2020) Researched December 9, 2021 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-get-more-probiotics
- Probiotics (n.d.) Researched December 23, 2021 from https://research.vitable.com.au/probiotics
- Belobrajdic, D., Brownlee, I., Hendrie, G., Rebuli, M., Bird, T. (2018). Gut health and weight loss: An overview of the scientific evidence of the benefits of dietary fibre during weight loss. CSIRO, Australia.