There’s a lot of talk about probiotics and their vast health benefits, particularly in relation to gut health. With gut health implicating virtually all other systems of the body, from brain health, digestion and metabolism to the appearance of our skin, it is no wonder that the gut has become such a trending topic.
There are so many different types of probiotics in the form of both supplements and food/drinks. Here we take a look at why probiotics are so important for our gut health and easy ways to increase our intake. Before we delve right in, let’s clarify what exactly probiotics are…
What are probitiocs?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that promote a healthy gut flora. Our gut is made up of a combination of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, so taking probiotic supplements or consuming probiotic-rich food/drinks supports our bodies’ production of good bacteria.
With modern day western lifestyles, our gut flora is frequently out of balance, creating a condition known as dysbiosis. What this means is that the protective (good) bacteria have been largely destroyed, allowing harmful, opportunistic pathogens a chance to become dominant. Our gut flora is impacted by a number of factors, from the way in which we are born, whether or not we are breastfed, surgeries, drugs, (especially antibiotics), stress and diet. It is important to remember that what we eat/drink not only nourishes us but also feeds our gut bacteria and influences diversity and the ratio of microbes.
What can we do to correct gut dysbiosis?
The most immediate measure we can take is to stop feeding the gut microbes processed foods and excess sugar. Secondly, encouraging healthy gut flora by including probiotic and prebiotic foods or a good quality probiotic supplement would, in most cases, be desirable.
It is important to note that when it comes to introducing fermented foods/beverages into your diet, too much, too soon can make symptoms worse for some, especially those sensitive to FODMAPS or tyramines. In these cases, it may be helpful to seek support from a qualified health professional who can prescribe a probiotic specific to your needs.
What are some examples of probiotic rich foods?
Probiotics are often found in the form of dietary supplements, however there are also a number of foods that are rich in probiotics, including:
Can you spot a theme here? They’re all fermented foods.
The fermentation process of kombucha and why it is beneficial for your gut
Looking at the above list of probiotic rich foods/drinks, let’s take kombucha as an example to demonstrate why it is beneficial for gut health.
Kombucha is a fermented probiotic beverage that aids with digestion and detoxification, as well as assisting with weight loss and helping to increase energy and immunity.
Made by fermenting tea and sugar with live cultures (aka a SCOBY - Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts), the fermentation process turns a bowl of sweet tea into a biochemical powerhouse. The fermentation digests the sugar to produce organic acids, vitamins (in particular Vitamin B and Vitamin C), minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Plus, perhaps best of all, it also produces a bunch of happy gut buddies in the form of super powerful probiotic microorganisms.
At Nexba we ferment our Kombucha for 40 days (longer than other Kombuchas on the market). The extended fermentation allows even more time for all the sugar to be eaten, leaving our Kombucha completely sugar, caffeine and alcohol free. Find our more about how our kombucha is made and its benefits here.
In summary, incorporating probiotic rich foods & beverages into our diet is a fantastic way to improve gut flora, in turn, enhancing our overall wellbeing. Check out the recipes on our blog if you’re in need of a little kombucha recipe inspo! We’ve got everything from smoothies and smoothie bowls to ice blocks and nice cream.
For specific gut related conditions that require probiotics we recommend seeking professional help to ensure you take a probiotic supplement that is right for you.