Probiotics are the good bacteria (or bugs) in your body. More than 100 trillion bacteria call your digestive system home! One billion of them are in your mouth, and the rest live in your small intestine and colon.
Probiotics are the most well-researched supplements for digestive health, and they are especially known to be helpful for constipation. A proper balance of good versus bad bacteria is crucial for healthy skin, digestion, your immune system, vitamin and mineral absorption, fertility, and much more. But besides supplements, there are also many food sources of probiotics and lifestyle habits that will improve your healthy bacteria balance as well.
The type of digestive bacteria or gut flora present in the body will vary drastically based on the person and their diet. Generally, those who eat high fibre foods including lots of fruits and vegetables, and less meat (no fibre), have a better ratio of good to bad bacteria than people who eat the standard American diet full of refined carbohydrates, sugar, meat, and food additives. Also; antibiotics, birth control pills and corticosteroid drugs can further alter the balance of good and bad bacteria.
When bad bacteria get out of hand, the most common result is an overgrowth of yeast which can present in the body as Candida, acne, itchy skin, yeast infections, thrush on the tongue, etc.
But the good news is, you can easily boost your number of good bacteria by simply eating them!
Some good food sources of probiotics include:
Also try to avoid foods that are known to decrease good bacteria such as processed foods and chlorinated water. You can also opt to take a probiotic supplement. There are many on the market but keep in mind it's best to buy ones that are refrigerated.