Eating food filled with dense nutrition is a practical approach to wellness. However, absorbing the vitamins and minerals from the foods we consume is paramount and a top priority at Konscious Keto.
Sure, it's vital to maintain hormonal health and make wise dietary decisions to thwart inflammation and promote a healthy gut. But when is it appropriate to start a probiotic?
What is a Probiotic?
Probiotics are living microorganisms that naturally exist in our body. Probiotics also promote the growth of healthy bacteria that aid in intestinal and digestive health.
In addition to helping with digestive and intestinal health, probiotics help to prevent disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even skin-related issues like atopic dermatitis.
Common Species of Probiotics
The most commonly consumed probiotics derive from one of two strains, bifidobacteria, and lactobacillus. Fortunately, these strains of bacteria are also the most well-studied to give us a pretty clear picture of how they benefit the body.
Bifidobacteria is commonly used in supplements and said to aid in immune support, reducing the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestine, and facilitating the breakdown of lactose, distilling it down to nutrients for use in the body.
Lactobacillus is a family of bacteria that produce an enzyme called lactase which breaks down the milk-based sugar, lactose. This species of bacteria play a vital role in reducing bad bacteria due to their lactic acid content.
This form of bacteria is also very beneficial to the body because it helps with the body's absorption of minerals by optimizing the fueling of our muscles.
Ways to Add Probiotics to Your Diet
One approach to getting enough probiotics in your diet is through exogenous supplements.
Not surprisingly, many foods have a rich probiotic profile that helps to populate your gut microbiome and ward off illness and disease.
The following are some food-based sources of probiotics to consider adding to your dietary regimen, in addition to using human-made supplements:
Cabbage, Kimchi, and Sauerkraut:
Cabbage offers some inherent probiotic benefits in its raw state, but the benefits are magnified when pickled—for instance, converting it into kraut or kimchi.
Fermented vegetables of this kind are incredibly beneficial in promoting the proliferation of healthy gut bacteria and help improve digestion.
Fermented dairy items life kefir and yogurt are an excellent source of healthy bacteria and a helpful part of any gut-health protocol.
Be sure to keep a keen eye on which variety of yogurt you choose, and especially focus on the sugar macros. You'd be shocked because some options are as full of sugar as ice cream!
Apple Cider Vinegar:
This tart and pungent liquid aids in many areas of health and this are true with promoting gut health. Splash some ACV over a salad or take it as a shot, followed by a sweet chaser to cut the bite of it a bit.
Fermented cheeses: A finely-aged gouda may be the last thing you think of when considering ways to boost gut health, but it appears that some hard cheeses like cheddar, gouda, and Swiss, are made with lactic acid bacteria which is a probiotic.
Look at that; you now have a tasty tip to help use your melted burger toppings as a method to battle the bulge. And even more good news, probiotics also can help to reduce abdominal bloat.
Health Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics May Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat:
In addition to aiding in healthy digestion, probiotics are said to prevent the absorption of fat, instead, discarding it within the body's fecal matter as opposed to storing it as body fat.
Probiotics Benefit the Immune System:
Probiotics suppress the growth of harmful bacteria in the body and as a result, reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Probiotics Support Digestive Health:
Probably the best-known attribute, probiotics are an excellent aid in gut microbiome and digestive health and are often marketed to that end in the form of supplements.
Probiotics Lower Cholesterol:
Good bacteria and a healthy gut ecosystem contribute to lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol and blood pressure, which may lead to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Probiotics Can Help Prevent and Treat Diarrhea:
As is the case with its track record associated with improving digestive health, good bacteria also regulate elimination and help to prevent those pesky bouts of 'the runs.'
Probiotics and Weight Loss
We touched on the benefit of probiotics with weight loss above, especially belly fat, but the impact of probiotics on weight loss is multi-faceted and deserves a bit of dedicated unpacking.
In addition to helping to reduce to absorption of fat, probiotics are also known to help you feel fuller, longer. Furthermore, these good bacteria are said to help you burn more calories and store less fat—not too shabby.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics function in a symbiotic manner, with prebiotics being a unique fiber that acts as a fertilizer to prime the gut for the enhanced population of good bacteria that should proceed in the form of probiotics.
Prebiotics are essentially a non-digestible fiber found in certain foods like garlic, onions, and Jerusalem artichoke. Since it's insoluble, prebiotic fiber passes through the small intestine intact and is then fermented once it arrives in the large intestine.
Fermentation is fabulous for more than making your favorite wine: the fermentation of prebiotic fiber that occurs when it’s ingested helps to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in our digestive systems.
Probiotics are good bacteria and live cultures found in foods like yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, and miso soup. You can also supplement probiotics, as we've mentioned, but all of the food-based sources we've noted help you get in your fill of probiotic goodness every day.
There are an endless amount of probiotic supplements on the market, but we advise exhausting food-based sources primarily, to keep your gut in good shape as the first line of defense.
Taking a Probiotic
If you're on a ketogenic, low-carb, high-fat diet you will likely find this next bit as a touch of good news: probiotics are best taken either 30 minutes before eating or at the time of feeding, preferably with a high-fat meal to maximize absorption.
There are many health benefits related to increasing probiotic intake. Luckily, getting an adequate fill of gut-healthy probiotics is easy because it's available via many budget-friendly food sources.
Incorporate some of the fermented foods we mentioned above into your diet to boost digestive and overall health, providing trillions of good bacteria that often also add a zingy flair to foods.
A little light research in the reviews section on Amazon will help you identify a quality exogenous probiotic supplement if that's something you're interested in doing.
Whether through food sources or quality supplements, be sure to consume an adequate portion of probiotics to maximize your health on multiple levels while giving your weight loss efforts a little extra boost.