Digestive health is an important topic for discussion these days, and you would be hard-pressed to have a digestive health discussion without the mention of probiotics. When it comes to women’s health, probiotics are especially important.
Those friendly bacteria living in your gut are the best friends you will ever have, and taking care of them will promote your overall well-being.
By now pretty much everyone understands the role healthy gut bacteria play in digestive health as well as overall health. Your gut microbiome is not only responsible for maintaining efficient digestion and nutrient absorption, but it influences your immune system too.
Poor gut health can lead to chronic inflammation, increased risk for disease, and poor mental health as well as inefficient digestion.
For women, the bacteria in the gut also help to balance hormones and can influence metabolism, detoxification processes, vaginal health, and emotional health. With hormonal changes being a frequent occurrence with women, the importance of gut bacteria increases. High potency probiotic supplements are the best way to reinforce this gut and vaginal microbiomes.
Women benefit from probiotics more than men because of the additional bacterial community that lives within the vagina. Any slight change to the environment in this area can result in vaginal infections and uncomfortable symptoms.
The probiotics women can take supports this bacterial community in the same way as those living in the gut.
Probiotics are also a great way for women to get the essential vitamins their body needs. Many of the organisms living in your gut produce beneficial vitamins as they digest the food you eat. B vitamins and vitamin K are examples of what you can gain from probiotic supplements.
Pre and probiotic supplements also improve digestion, which means you have more access to beneficial nutrients from your food, including
As you get older, your digestive system begins to wear down, which affects its efficiency. As a result, you may experience digestive trouble as well as nutrient deficiency.
Probiotics can help keep things moving and keep you full of the nutrients you need for optimal health.
Over the years, you may have taken antibiotics for various illnesses and these can have a dangerous effect on your gut microbiome and your health. While antibiotics help to kill off invading bacteria, they also kill off the friendly ones you rely upon.
Chances are your natural community is depleted but it is never too late to restore it with a multi strain probiotic.
When it comes to choosing probiotic supplements, women should look for those that contain specific strains that are proven to promote their health.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus: These colonize in the vagina as well as the intestine and have been shown to benefit emotional health and stability, digestive health, and help to support a healthy weight.
Lactobacillus reuteri: These help to maintain gut health and optimal thyroid function, which ensures hormones are regulated. Because of the frequent fluctuations of hormones in women, these bacteria are beneficial for regulating mood swings and stabilizing vaginal health too.
When choosing a probiotic supplement, it is also important to pay attention to diversity. You want products that contain between 12 and 15 different species because there are so many living within you.
You also want products that have high potency—you can evaluate this by looking at the CFU content. Ideally, this should be around 50 billion CFU.
Outside of probiotic supplements, there are food sources you can add to your diet to increase probiotic intake.
Yogurt is one of the best and most popular probiotic foods available. The one thing to remember when choosing a yogurt is that many have added flavors, colors, and sugars. Be sure to choose a natural or organic yogurt or even make your own from scratch. Those additives are dangerous because they feed the bad bacteria and allow them to take over your gut, which will bring down your health.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is full of lactic acid bacteria. These not only improve gut health but work to protect and strengthen your bones. With osteoporosis being a common ailment among women over 55, kefir makes a beneficial addition to any diet.
Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage that may be an acquired taste but is full of probiotic benefits. The lactic acid bacteria along with high vitamin, iron, and manganese content make sauerkraut worth getting to know.
Be sure to buy the unpasteurized versions, though, because the process of pasteurization kills off many of those beneficial bacteria.
Miso is known for being a soup but is actually a Japanese seasoning. Made from fermented soybeans, miso has probiotics and high amounts of fiber and protein. Fiber is essential to the health of your gut bacteria because it feeds them so they can thrive; it’s prebiotic.
| Related: Why Women Are Turning to Probiotics for Weight Loss |
Miso has been found to boost digestive health as well as promote heart health and may even reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Pickles may be more popular during pregnancy, but they are great for women at any time. When cucumbers are allowed to ferment, lactic acid bacteria form and can promote your health.
Just make sure you get pickles that have been fermenting in salt water and not vinegar, as vinegar kills off the live cultures you need.
Beyond just eating right, women need the support of probiotics to ensure their gut health is maintained. A balanced and nutritious diet, free from processed and high-sugar foods, will go a long way in keeping your gut happy, but the addition of probiotics ensures that every system within your body functions at optimal levels.
Bacteria in your gut influence the health of other parts of your body, so when it comes to best friends, women don’t need diamonds, they need probiotics.