Probiotics: what they are, health benefits and when to take them

Although it is possible to confuse them, and there are even many people who tend to think they are the same, the truth is that it is necessary to know what are the differences between prebiotics and probiotics to discover that, in reality, its benefits, properties and main functions are very different. And is that not only we must take into account that each of them, come from different food sources, but their functions in the body tend not to be the same.

In the particular case of those known as prebiotics, consist of substances that act as food for the beneficial bacteria that we find especially in the colon, so that they help in a very positive way when maintaining a good health of the intestinal flora. But, in the case of probiotics, What are they and what do they consist of?

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are characterized by being living microorganisms(especially bacteria or yeast), that help to increase, maintain and improve intestinal flora. This is composed of microorganisms that feed on the fiber we consume from our diet.

They are essential bacteria, since an imbalance can cause alterations in our health. If you want to know more, discover how take care of the intestinal flora with some natural tips and tricks.

They emphasize in this sense thelactobacillus casei, thelactobacillus acidofillus and thelactobacillus rhamnosus, which according to the different scientific studies that have been carried out to analyze its benefits, have turned out to be the most interesting.

These microorganisms are able to cross the gastric barrier, and settle in the colon, where they multiply and colonize the intestinal mucus, where they perform their important functions for our health.

Probiotics and health: benefits and virtues

The probiotics they are live microorganisms that, ingested in sufficient quantity, are extremely beneficial for the organism, helping to regulate intestinal transit.

In this regard, and to give just one example, the bifidobacteria They are a type of probiotic that we find mainly in fermented dairy products.

With regard to their effects on health, the probiotics They are suitable to improve the function of the intestinal transit and its own regulation itself, helping in heavy digestions, preventing the constipation and treating abdominal swelling.

Most important functions of probiotics

Probiotics are essential for our health, and fundamental within a healthy, varied and balanced diet, since they carry out the following basic functions, providing us with the benefits that we indicate below:

  • They stimulate the production of antibodies: there is no doubt that probiotics are very beneficial for our defenses, as they help to strengthen the immune system. In this sense, they act to reduce the infections caused by the ingestion of pathogenic elements.
  • Good for the intestine: help reduce inflammatory disorders affecting the intestine. They are also useful in case of diarrhea, used in treatments against diarrhea.
  • Ideal against abdominal swelling:Being beneficial to the body to help regulate intestinal transit, the consumption of both fermented milk and probiotic products itself may be ideal to improve the feeling of abdominal bloating, and with it the quality of life itself of people who take them
  • Improve digestive function: helping, for example, when assimilating essential nutrients as important as amino acids.
  • Essential for the synthesis of vitamins: especially in the synthesis of vitamins of group B.
  • Beneficial against intolerances and allergies: some scientific studies have shown that probiotics are useful in reducing both food allergies and lactose intolerance.
  • Producers of antimicrobial acids: these acids prevent pathogens from proliferating.

What are the foods richest in probiotics

If you want to include probiotic foods In your daily diet, the most interesting are: yogurt, kefir, brewer's yeast, miso and tempeh.

While both yogurt and kefir can be found in the supermarket, brewer's yeast, tempeh and miso can be found in specialized health food stores and stores (although in some cases it is also possible to buy them in supermarkets).

If you want to know more about probiotic foods, we encourage you to read the following articles:

  • Benefits and properties of kefir, unique natural probiotic
  • Benefits and properties of yogurt
  • Why it's good to drink brewer's yeast every morning
  • Tempeh: what it is, properties, uses and recipes
  • How to make a wonderful miso soup: traditional Japanese soup

You can find them in herbalists and hypermarkets, and their cost can be affordable depending on the brand chosen.

When to take probiotic foods

Fundamentally, the consumption of probiotic foods is recommended when there is an imbalance in the intestinal flora, which usually becomes easily unbalanced after the consumption of antibiotics. Although the advisable thing is to begin with the consumption of probiotics after having finished with the treatment, in case of having to take the antibiotics for more than 2 weeks it is interesting to take them at the same time.

However, as a general rule, probiotic foods are advised in the following conditions or conditions:

  • Inflammatory bowel diseases (non-ulcerative): irritable bowel syndrome (also popularly known as irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn's disease ...
  • Low immune system, with a greater susceptibility to infections.
  • Constipation.
  • Gases.
  • High cholesterol levels.
  • Skin disorders: acne, psoriasis and eczema.
  • Vaginal candidiasis.
  • Allergies.
  • Urinary infections.

In any case, although probiotic foods are healthy, prolonged consumption of these foods is not recommended, more than a month, especially in children under 14 years of age without the supervision of a professional. This article is published for informational purposes only. You can not and should not replace the consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.

The difference between prebiotics and probiotics (November 2022)