Much has been said about the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics, but do we really know why they are so important in our lives?
What are probiotics?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), probiotics are living microorganisms that when administered in the proper amounts confer a beneficial effect on the health of the recipient. They inhabit our intestines, especially in the colon, and are also known as intestinal flora or gastrointestinal microbiota.
Approximately every one of us have 1 million of these bacteria living in the intestine, and although there should always be the same amount, as a result of various factors this may vary due to age, lifestyle, stress or an unbalanced diet, for example.
What do they help us with?
Well, mainly in that we have a good intestinal health and that, therefore, we enjoy a good digestion without flatulence, bloating and discomfort. They also collaborate in the production of vitamins and in the correct absorption of minerals.
Probiotics are used for a large number of diseases, mainly gastrointestinal diseases, such as infectious diarrhoea or Helicobacter pylori, in functional disorders such as colic of the infant and constipation. It has also been evaluated what benefits they can have in immunological alterations such as atopic dermatitis and the prevention and treatment of food allergy.
Where can we find probiotics?
There are certain foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics, such as Yogurt, Kefir or fermented cabbage (sauerkraut). It is good that we include this type of food in our diet to keep our intestinal flora healthy and safe. But to treat discomfort that goes beyond just a specific day, if we are taking antibiotics, if we travel, in cases of diarrhoea, constipation or any maladjustment in the digestive system, it is better that we turn to food supplements, and take the necessary amount of these microorganisms that our body needs. On the other hand, if we only get probiotics through our food, we cannot know what exact number we are taking, whether we need more, or whether our body is absorbing it correctly.