Probiotics: An Introduction

What makes something a Probiotic, and why are they so good for you!? By definition, a food that is considered a probiotic contains “live bacteria that replace or add to the beneficial bacteria normally present in the gastrointestinal tract.” This is where the popular phrase “you are what you eat” is literally true. Each individual has the ability to nourish, develop, and diversify these healthy gut bacteria by consuming probiotic foods, like sauerkraut. It wouldn’t even be an exaggeration to declare that your GI microbiome defines your identity! In fact, the healthy bacteria living in our intestines contain 150 times more genes than our own human genes. People have one third of their gut bacteria in common, but the other two thirds is completely individualized, allowing each person to have their own unique microbiome. Therefore, a huge part of a healthy individual includes a healthy microbiome. The good news is that we can influence the health of our microbiome via our diet (yay, sauerkraut!) There are even certain conditions that are linked to an imbalance of the gut microbiome (called dysbiosis), such as functional bowel disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, obesity, and diabetes. Probiotics encourage the growth of gut microbiota, negating such imbalances.