There is no doubt that you have heard the term “probiotics.” It is probably the most written about subject at the moment, and for good reason.

We are learning that the health of the gut, the home of 70percent of your body’s immune system, affects the health of your whole system and basically, probiotics are the key players in supporting gut health.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria. The good bacteria actually lives side by side with the bad stuff like salmonella and E. Coli, and it is the probiotics that keep these bad guys in check. Maintaining a healthy balance between good and bad is obviously vitally important to our overall health. Unfortunately it can be fairly easy to upset this fine balance, for instance taking antibiotics, having too much stress, smoking, hormonal shifts, aging, poor diet or illness in general can have a huge impact of the gut.

It is believed that consuming probiotics in the form of food or supplements can ultimately maintain this fine balance and keep us in optimum health.

Many short term trails have been conducted in the benefits of the regular consumption of probiotics. The benefits include the improvement in digestion and immunity, the relief of diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotics as well as fighting infections and relieving gas, bloating and constipation.

Food or supplements?

Getting your daily dose of probiotics should primarily come from the food you eat. Whole foods will often be able to multitask in ways the supplements can’t and obviously the foods you eat will also provide other nutrients.

Probiotic rich foods include fermented dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and aged cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, pickles and beverages such as kombucha.

That doesn’t mean you need to shy away from supplements. Unfortunately there is no magic formula on how much probiotic rich foods you need to consume on a daily basis to maintain that healthy balance between the good and the bad. Therefore, adding a supplement is not a bad thing as far as probiotics are concerned.

Risk Factors

Research have found little harm in taking probiotic supplements, however, experts do recommend sticking to major brands. If in doubt speak to your health care provider or nutritionist and they will discuss what will be the best option for you.