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Unlocking Gut Health: The Power Of Probiotic Supplements According To A Medical Expert

Trusting your gut feeling is encouraged if the situation is certain. However, when your gut health is anything but healthy, we recommend scrolling down to read more on how to remedy the situation. Here’s how to find the perfect probiotic to combat gut deficiencies. 

Meet The Expert: Sam Swaine is a vitamin and supplements counsellor and founder of The Rebalance Lab. The lab provides a holistic approach to ageing and longevity.

What Is Gut Health?

Gut health is the health of your entire digestive system, including the microorganisms living in your digestive tract. When your gut is healthy, it can break down food, provide essential nutrients and support body systems with ease. If you have come across terms such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux disorder, gluten intolerance and more of this sort, this alludes to an unhealthy gut. To fight these off, look to probiotics and find the next addition for your supplement drawer. 

READ MORE: What To Eat To Keep Your Gut Healthy And Your Skin Glowing

What Are Probiotics?

According to Sam Swaine, probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that are good for our digestive system. Probiotics carry bacteria which many may think are harmful but on the contrary, the “germs” or bacteria are ‘good’ bacteria which, as Swaine illustrates, “…add to our existing supply of friendly microbes which also helps us fight infections and boosts our immunity.”

For improved gut health, probiotics have been known to “…improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, help manage diarrhoea, boost the immune system and help maintain your microbiome or get it back in balance after it’s been disturbed.”

“When choosing a probiotic, it’s important to look at Colony Forming Units (CFUs). This measures the number of active microorganisms found in a serving of probiotics. It is recommended that a probiotic taken for general gut health should have at least 10-20 billion CFUs according to research” says Swaine.

Bifidobacteria

It helps support the immune system and limit the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestine. They also help digest fibre and assist in producing important vitamins that the body needs.

Lactobacillus

It is a variety of bacteria that produces lactase – the enzyme that breaks down lactose, or milk sugar. These bacteria also produce lactic acid. Lactic acid helps control the population of bad bacteria and increases the body’s absorption of minerals. 

Helpful tip by Swaine: always read the ingredients on the bottle of your probiotic, choose a brand that is transparent about the probiotic strains in their supplement and all the additional ingredients you’ll find in their product.

Who Should Not Take Probiotic Supplements?

“Probiotics are generally safe, but you should always consult a healthcare specialist before taking any supplement,” says Swaine. Although probiotics are recommended here is a list of people Swaine advises to hold off the probiotics.

  • People with weakened immune systems taking immunosuppressant drugs.
  • People with critical and chronic illnesses. 
  • People who have just had surgery as their immune system is compromised. 
  • People with severe food allergies
  • People with preexisting gastrointestinal disorders.

READ MORE: “I Drank Kombucha Every Day For 10 Days — It Was Amazing”

Healthy Habits You Should Consider To Accommodate The Probiotics

Recommendations by our expert, Sam, on how to help you “maintain a happy and balanced gut.”

  • Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar as these foods decrease the amount of “good” bacteria and diversity in your gut.
  • Eat a diet that is rich in fermented foods, these contain a natural source of probiotics.
    • Examples include yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, and tempeh. 
    • Drinks like kombucha are also a great source of probiotics, and speaking of drinks, keeping hydrated with water is crucial for a healthy gut.
  • Eat high-fibre foods. 
  • Look to collagen-rich foods like bone broth.
  • Find foods that are rich in polyphenols (plant compounds supporting beneficial gut bacteria) such as blueberries, plums, cherries, apples, strawberries, black currants, black olives, dark chocolate, black tea, coffee, hazelnuts, and pecan nuts.
  • Good quality sleep.
  • Regular exercise.
  • Manage stress levels. 


Source: https://www.womenshealthsa.co.za/food-and-nutrition/feed/


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