Personal health has never been more important than it is at this very moment, meaning there’s never been a better time to unlock the benefits of probiotics. As research continues to discover correlations between digestive health and overall health, probiotic foods and supplements can be a key to your health journey. All the while, you might be wondering: what the heck are probiotics anyway and what are the benefits of taking them? We have you covered.
Before we dive into lists and definitions, allow us to provide a proverbial shortcut for all the experienced health freaks out there. That shortcut goes by the name of Renew Life, which provides immune support and other benefits through their widely used probiotic supplements. Bolstered by the core philosophy that a healthy gut is a happy gut, the brand has been improving people’s quality of life for nearly two decades.
Renew Life’s flagship range goes by the name of Ultimate Flora Probiotics. While primarily gender-neutral, the range does include specialty products such as Ultimate Flora Women’s Care 25 Billion Probiotic, which consists of 25 billion live cultures from 10 different probiotic strains and promotes vaginal health. It’s the top-selling probiotic for women* and it will perform wonders on the lady in your life.
In addition to premium science-backed probiotics, Renew Life offers fiber supplements, digestive aids, enzymes, and internal cleanses. Everything is made with quality ingredients and designed to maintain potency through the end of shelf life. Click here to pick up what these wellness legends are throwing down.
For those who prefer the long road, here’s everything you need to know about probiotics. That includes definitions, types, and benefits, along with specific probiotic foods and sources. Let’s get into it!
What are Probiotics?
As you may or may not be aware, the human body contains trillions of live bacteria, most of which reside in the gut. These gut bacteria are part of your “microbiome”, and each person’s gut community is unique to the individual and subject to change based on things like diet and lifestyle choices. Some early evidence suggests that the condition of a person’s microbiome is more predictive of their health than their own genes
By definition, probiotics are live microorganisms like bacteria and yeasts that can be introduced into the host body for beneficial purposes. By filling your gut with “good” bacteria, some probiotics can balance the state of your microbiome. You can find them in food and supplements alike, and they can deliver a host of benefits.
Types of Probiotics
The word “probiotics” is somewhat broad in scope and used to denote various types of microbes. To make things even more confusing, a number of probiotics mix two or more individual strains of yeast or bacteria. On top of that, some probiotics also contain “prebiotics” to act a feeding agent for good microbes. When both probiotics and prebiotics are present in a targeted synergistic way, the formula is known as a “symbiotic.”
For the sake of convenience, we’ll highlight the three most widely-known types of probiotic organisms. They are as follows:
- Lactobacillus – Considered the most common probiotic, this particular type is often found in yogurt and other cultured milk products and fermented foods. Some strains have been reported to help occasional diarrhea and possibly aid with lactose digestion.
- Bifidobacterium – This type of probiotic is added to certain dairy products and reportedly used to help with digestive issues.
- Saccharomyces boulardii – This is a type of yeast sometimes used to support the digestive health of travelers.
3 Health Benefits of Probiotics
Scientists and researchers are still studying the benefits of taking probiotics. Some research suggests that probiotics work by supporting balanced “good” bacteria in your body. In turn, you can potentially experience the following benefits.
1. Gut Health
This one’s kind of a no-brainer and it’s also one of the biggest benefits of probiotics. Because probiotics contain “good” bacteria, they support/maintain natural balance within the microbiome, promoting overall gut health.
You might wonder: what disrupts the microbiome in the first place? As it turns out, imbalances in bacteria can result from a number of sources, including poor diet, harmful lifestyle choices, certain medications, and more.
Imbalanced gut bacteria has been linked to digestive issues and allergies. By restoring balance within the microbiome, you could help support the health of many-body systems.
2. Immune Health Support
By countering imbalances in gut bacteria, probiotics may help support the overall health of your immune system. After all, 70% of your immune system is in your gut!
While on the subject, check out Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic 50 Billion from Renew Life. Made with 50 billion live cultures from 12 different strains, it helps restore digestive balance and promotes immune health, among other things.
3. Occasional Constipation Relief
According to research, consuming probiotics (Bifidobacterium lactis in particular) can reduce the amount of time it takes for food to pass through the digestive system (aka gut transit time), which may help with occasional constipation relief.
Best Probiotic Foods & Sources
Now that you’ve read about all the benefits of taking probiotics, it’s only natural that you should kick off a daily regimen. Here are the best probiotics you can take.
1. Renew Life Probiotic Supplements
Superior in quality and performance alike, Renew Life probiotics were voted #1 in customer satisfaction in 2018 (based on results of the 2018 ConsumerLab.com survey). The brand’s Ultimate Flora range is formulated with quality ingredients.
By incorporating multiple probiotic strains, these supplements provide diversity to your gut. Take daily to help relieve yourself of occasional discomfort as you help restore balance, promote gut health, and support immune and respiratory health.**
Renew Life is diversified in terms of strains and products alike. Peruse their wide-reaching inventory to discover a host of effective probiotic capsules (or gummies for the kids). The brand also offers enzymes, fish oil, fiber, and cleanses. It doesn’t get any easier or any better than this.
2. Probiotic Foods
You can find probiotics in a number of fermented and dairy-based foods. However, industrial food production and preservation can destroy living bacteria, so look for terms such as “live cultures” or “active cultures” or both (i.e. “live and active cultures”) on the label. Another watch out is that just because food contains live microbes does not mean that those strains have been studied and proven to benefit your health, or that they provide enough. One way to be sure that the health benefits of the product you are buying are backed by science is to stick with Renew Life! That being said, here are some of the best-known foods that sometimes contain probiotics (as per Healthline).
- Yogurt – When milk is fermented by friendly lactic acid bacteria, it can become a rich source of live microbes.
- Kefir – Kefir is a specific type of drink made from either fermented cow or goat milk to produce a beverage. Drink up.
- Sauerkraut – This fermented shredded cabbage can be rich in live microbes, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. It also goes great on hot dogs.
- Tempeh – A fermented soybean product, tempeh delivers an earthy and nutty flavor.
- Kimchi – This Korean staple continues to gain popularity across the world and with good reason (it’s delicious). Consisting primarily of fermented cabbage, it can contain a species known as Lactobacillus kimchi, along with other lactic acid bacteria.
- Miso – This popular Japanese seasoning is most often made by fermenting soybeans with salt and Koji (the latter of which is a type of fungus).
- Kombucha – A fermented tea drink, Kombucha may be good for the gut and quite tasty.
- Pickles – Who doesn’t love pickled cucumbers or just pickles for short?
- Traditional buttermilk – The keyword here is “traditional,” as buttermilk has become something of a broad term. Look for the version that’s made from leftover butter manufacturing liquid.
- Natto – Widely used in Japan, Natto is a fermented soybean product with a distinctive smell, texture, and taste.
- Certain cheeses – Healthy bacteria only survive the aging process on certain cheeses such as Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese (according to studies like this one and this one). Look for terms like “live cultures” and “active cultures” on the label.
*You should check with your healthcare provider if you’re pregnant, nursing, taking any medication or have a medical condition.
**This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. +Based on 2018 IQVIA Provoice* Survey of Primary Care Physicians who preferred HOWARU* probiotic strain B. lacits BI-04* for Respiratory Health after review of select clinical studies.