Get to Know Your Gut: What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics help balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut, boost immunity, and improve digestion. Find out what probiotics are best for you here.
Happy Holidays, everyone! No matter what you celebrate, I hope you had a fantastic weekend filled with love, laughter, and, of course, good food.
Mattie and I head to Europe tomorrow and it’s hard to believe that when we return, it will be 2017. Honestly, 2016 was a pretty hellacious year (who’s with me?!), so I couldn’t be more excited for a fresh start.
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet? I hope you’ll join me in mine–a 7-Day Superfood Green Smoothie Challenge. It starts on January 2, 2017 and you can sign up here.
Expect delicious, easy and seasonal recipes, along with my best tips and tricks for making healthy smoothies a part of your routine…all delivered right to your inbox! It’s the perfect way to kickstart any healthy eating goals you have for the new year.
Truly, green smoothies are one of the best things I ever did for my health. That, and taking a probiotic every day.
Are Probiotics Good For You?
Seriously, what probiotics have done for my digestion is beyond amazing–remember that chronic constipation that plagued me for years? Yeah, almost as soon as I started taking probiotics and eating an anti-inflammatory diet, it was GONE! I’m talking within days. The transformation was amazing.
And that’s not all probiotics have done for me–taking a daily probiotic has improved my immunity, boosted my mood and energy levels, cleared up my skin and helped me lose weight, among other things.
And with January on the horizon (read: cold & flu season upon us), there’s never been a better time to start taking probiotics.
*Note: story continues after handy infographic*
How probiotics boost your immune system + help digestion
Did you know 70 percent of your immune system is located in your gut? So when your gut is out of whack, your immunity will be, too.
In fact, the “gut” is considered the core of your body’s overall health and well-being and can affect your entire body, including immunity, digestion and more.
Remember when we talked about how your microbiome is made up of hundreds of microbial species (a.k.a. bacteria) and how it’s so important for our bodies to have a balanced microbiome, full of healthy bacteria?
If we don’t have enough diversity, or if we have too much of the “bad bacteria” and not enough of the “good bacteria”, we are more at risk for obesity, chronic disease and infection.
Research has even shown that the healthier your microbiome, the better your metabolic health (which is why addressing digestion and gut issues is so important for people, like me, who struggle with insulin resistance, an important marker for metabolic health, or unexplained weight gain).
In addition to the insulin resistance I deal with as part of PCOS, I also struggled with constipation, bloating, acne and fatigue, all of which are related to gut health. So no surprise, when I started taking probiotics and nurturing my gut with healthy foods, everything changed.
Do Probiotics Work?
How did this happen? Simply put: probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health. Consume more of them, have a healthier gut.
While you can certainly find probiotics in foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, miso and yogurt, almost every single human could benefit from taking a daily probiotic supplement, as well.
*Note: story continues after handy infographic*
Best Probiotics for Women
I know I’m not alone in my digestion issues. According to a recent survey**, 72 percent of women have experienced a digestive/gut issue in the past 12 months (more than half of which had to do with gas/bloating) and nearly two-thirds aren’t willing to talk about it with their friends.
Come on, ladies! Sharing is caring–there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Clearly, we’re all dealing with it.
It makes sense–there are more than 100 trillion live cultures of many diverse strains inside your digestive tract that can be easily disrupted by stress, diet, aging, certain medications (hint: this is why antibiotics can be so dangerous–they kill off ALL bacteria, good and bad, completely disrupting our microbiome) and the environment.
Do you have any of these symptoms: bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, skin issues (acne/rosacea/eczema), hormone imbalances and irregular periods, or weight gain? Then your gut equilibrium may be out of balance.
What Probiotics Should I Take + Where to Buy Probiotics
So what’s a girl to do? Nutrition experts (including me!) agree that one of the most efficient and impactful ways to bring balance to the digestive tract is to add good bacteria with a probiotic, like Seed’s Daily Synbiotic that’s actually backed by science (a synbiotic is a combination of probiotics and prebiotics–prebiotics are a special form of dietary fiber that act as a fertilizer for the good bacteria in your gut).
Their probiotic combines 24 DNA verified, human-based, naturally-occurring probiotic bacterial strains with a prebiotic and a strong capsule. Seed’s probiotic strains have collectively been studied in 23 human clinical studies including double-blind, placebo-controlled trials conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Japan.
The result? Statistically significant improvements in multiple markers of gastrointestinal health (like relieving intestinal discomfort, hard stools, bloating, and pain), cardiovascular health, and dermatological health. What does this mean in real life? Better digestive and immune health, meaning less bloating, more regular bowel movements, clearer skin, more balanced hormones, improved mood, more energy, weight loss and more.
There’s even preliminary research in mice that probiotics can help with PCOS symptoms to improve testosterone levels, normalized cycles, and ovulation (source), and a clinical trial in humans showing improved markers for anxiety, stress, and reduced testosterone and other inflammation biomarkers in women with PCOS. (source)
I also love that there’s no refrigeration required, meaning it’s easy to travel with and remember to take every day. (It’s totally a myth that probiotics have to be refrigerated.)
For what it’s worth, here are some other fun facts about Seed that makes them stand out from the crowd, IMO:
- The female formulation of Seed’s Daily Probiotic is the first to include probiotic strains that increase the production of folate (GREAT for pregnancy!).
- It’s vegan, gluten-free, preservative-free, allergen-free.
- They created a sustainable refill system that starts with a beautiful, reusable green glass jar and continues with monthly refills–no single-use plastic in sight. The packaging is biodegradable and it decomposes in soil within 30 days.
Have you found better health by taking probiotics? I’d love to hear your story, so please share in the comments below!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
**This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics from November 9-11, 2016 among 1,127 U.S. women ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Katie Young at [email protected]
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
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