There are lots of things to consider when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. How active are you during the day? Do you get enough exercise? What type of environment do you live in? And of course, what do you include in your diet? On its own, what you choose to eat is itself a complicated decision that can have a profound impact on other aspects of your life. Having a balanced diet is something most people strive for, but many fall short. By now, most people know to get enough minerals, vitamins, protein, fiber, and more, but what about bacteria?
Indeed, it seems strange to think we need bacteria in our diet, but the idea isn’t so farfetched. While certain types of bacteria can be harmful, even deadly, other types can be quite beneficial and even necessary to live well. These helpful bacteria are often referred to as probiotics. Probiotics can benefit your immune system, digestive tract, and much more. Including them in your diet is important, especially when you think of how beneficial probiotics for women can be.
A Look at the Benefits
Women often have a lot on their minds related to their health, and sadly, women also tend to be more susceptible to certain illnesses and conditions. For example, women tend to be more susceptible to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation compared to men. While some may turn to medication to help with these problems, the answer may be found in probiotic therapy. One study actually shows that after receiving a probiotic strain, 20 IBS patients indicated their abdominal pain went away. The early research into probiotics has shown promising results to help people with IBS and constipation in a more natural way. There are other digestive issues beyond IBS and constipation which probiotics can address. Certain strains of probiotics, like Lactobacillus acidophilus, are especially helpful in preventing diarrhea.
Probiotics could also prove helpful for women as they deal with certain feminine health problems. Those problems include bacterial vaginosis (vaginitis) and urinary tract infections (UTIs). These conditions often arise due to a general lack of beneficial bacteria found in the stomach. Imbalanced pH levels are also major factors. Probiotics help in this effort by raising pH levels, creating a more acidic environment which works to fight the growth of more harmful bacteria. If women make sure their diets include alkalines, which will help them consume more probiotics, thus minimizing harmful bacteria growth.
While most people understand that you need vitamins to live a healthy life, many people may not understand is that your body can actually produce some of these vitamins, or, to be more specific, the bacteria in your body can. Probiotic bacteria can produce vitamins such as vitamin K, folate, biotin, and vitamin B12. If you’re not eating enough foods rich in vitamins, you may be able to offset some of that loss by making sure you’re consuming foods rich in probiotics.
Probiotics can have a positive effect on nutrients in other ways. Nutrients have to be digested and processed for them to be effective. Probiotics can help in this, helping certain nutrients (like iron, calcium, magnesium, fats, proteins, cholesterol, copper, and carbohydrates) get digested more easily. In a sense, probiotics can help boost other nutrients.
Probiotics for women also help in other ways related to hormones. Maintaining good hormonal balance is important but also difficult to do. Beneficial flora in the form of probiotics can’t be ignored in this case. Probiotics essentially help to metabolize and recycle the hormones in the female body. Some of these hormones include phytoestrogens, estrogen, and hormones produced in the thyroid. As a result, some of the symptoms experienced from PMS, menopause, and perimenopause can be reduced in severity or even eliminated in certain circumstances.
Women who are (or expect to become) pregnant or shouldn’t overlook the possible boost to fertility that probiotics can provide. Including probiotics in the diet may be a route to explore for those women who may experience infertility. The evidence collected so far suggests the vaginal microbiome plays a vital role in fertility, and probiotics are a large component of determining the composition of that microbiome.
You don’t always have to consume probiotics to see the benefits. Probiotics for women may help with skin problems you may have. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, by applying probiotics to the skin daily, women may be able to clear up the skin. This is a relatively new but exciting new use for probiotics that could have many applications in the future.
Best Supplements to Take
The benefits that probiotics provide for women are clear, but including them in a diet isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are many supplements out there that can pick up the slack and give women an added dose of probiotics to help out their health. And you don’t have to worry about taking too much as overdoses aren’t really a thing when it comes to probiotics. Supplements come in many forms such as capsules, powders, and even liquid shots, so picking a method you’re comfortable with is just as important as what to include in the supplements. Make sure you pay attention to the instructions included with the supplement to ensure maximum effectiveness as some supplements require refrigeration.
As for which probiotics supplements to take, some strains are more popular than others. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are probably the two most well known. Some products contain multiple strains and are usually called mega probiotics. Make sure you check to see how many live organism are within a dose. While there’s no consensus on the amount, the generally accepted count is around 20 billion live organisms or more for every dose. Nutritionists also recommend switching up strains every couple of months.
There are many probiotic products to choose from. Thrive Market offers special probiotics for women that you can make part of your daily routine. You can go with Garden of Life Once Daily Women’s Probiotic supplement, which contains 16 probiotic strains. Or choose Women’s Vitality Probiotic which focuses on digestive and immune health. You could also select Flora Women’s Care Probiotic with 75 billion organisms at the time it’s made. There are many options to choose from. You’re bound to find one that is the best fit for you.