Probiotics Can Help Your Digestive System


Chances are you’ve gone to the grocery store to buy yogurt and noticed a label proclaiming that the yogurt is “probiotic” – but what does this really mean? Most people assume probiotics are good for them, which is generally true, but most are still not sure what “probiotic” means. To clear up any misconceptions you may have about probiotics and how they help our digestive systems, San Francisco Gastroenterology has provided the following overview of probiotics, their benefits and which foods contain them.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are a kind of bacteria, the “good kind.” Our bodies harbor good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria can provide us with numerous health benefits. The important thing to remember is that we need a balance between the two types of bacteria in order for the digestive system to function normally. People often incorporate probiotics into their diets to fix/prevent common digestive issues such as cramping, gas and diarrhea. Use of medications such as antibiotics can cause stomach issues in that they can affect the balance between good and bad bacteria – this is why doctors will often direct patients, especially women, to eat more probiotic foods while taking antibiotics.

What are the benefits of probiotics?

Environmental and lifestyle factors play a role in the balance between good and bad bacteria in a person’s digestive system. Diet, medications (the aforementioned antibiotics), stress and a lack of sleep are just a few factors that can affect the balance of flora in your gut. Probiotics help to keep the digestive tract healthy by filtering out some of the bad bacteria, chemicals and toxins that can make a person ill. Probiotics are also a great tool for strengthening your immune system and improving urinary tract health.

Which foods are rich in probiotics? ID-100248051

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Soft cheeses
  • Sourdough bread
  • Probiotic milk
  • Miso soup
  • Kombucha (a fermented tea)
  • Green pickles

If you believe that you could benefit from a diet rich in probiotic foods, contact your doctor in order to discuss your digestive issues and find out if probiotics are a good choice for strengthening your digestive health.

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