Probiotics are live, active bacteria that you can take in either through food or as a supplement. They are the “good” bacteria that live in the gut and help you digest your food. Taking probiotics can improve your digestion, boost your immunity, and improve your overall health. Are you interested in taking probiotics, but aren’t sure how to start? Read on for more information about this healthy addition to your diet.

Your body naturally has many different types of bacteria living in your digestive system. They help digest the food you eat and keep your immune system strong. But sometimes the balance of bacteria in the body is thrown off. This can happen if you’ve been sick or if the lining of your intestines has been damaged. The balance can also be disturbed if you’ve been taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria to fight infections in the body. But they can also kill the good bacteria that your body needs. Probiotics work by changing the balance of bacteria in your gut so there are greater numbers of good bacteria.

Taking probiotics can improve overall health and help treat several health conditions. They can treat irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and lactose intolerance by improving digestion. Probiotics can also prevent and treat diarrhea and the common cold and flu by increasing good bacteria and decreasing harmful bacteria.

Probiotics can also help prevent and resolve allergies, eczema, and possibly autoimmune diseases by keeping your immune system healthy. It’s believed that since we live in a country with many sanitary practices, we aren’t exposed to as many bacteria and other pathogens as we were in the past. Although this is a good thing – we don’t get infectious diseases as often – it also means that our immune systems aren’t exposed to as much bacteria and don’t become as strong. Taking probiotics can challenge your immune system in a safe way so it will be better able to fight off infections.

There are many ways you can add probiotics to your diet. Yogurt, kefir, soy drinks, and aged cheeses all contain probiotics. Look at the label and check to make sure that they contain live, active cultures. Fermented foods like tempeh, kimchi, miso, and sauerkraut are also good sources of probiotics. You can also take probiotics in supplement form, through capsules, tablets, and powders. Probiotics are safe for adults and children to take. They have few side effects and are a natural part of food that people have eaten for many centuries. If you have a serious illness or a weakened immune system, check with your doctor first to make sure probiotics are right for you.

If you’re taking probiotics, you may also want to consider taking prebiotics. Prebiotics are food for probiotics, and will ensure that probiotics can keep functioning in your body. Prebiotics can also be taken as supplements or eaten as food. Food like bananas, honey, leeks, and asparagus all contain prebiotics.  Together, prebiotics and probiotics are a great combination for keeping you healthy.