Our culture has been on a war against bacteria for decades. There are definitely bad bacteria out there and things like surgeons washing their hands before an operations have resulted in a much healthier world. However, we have lumped all bacteria together in our hand sanitizer driven war of microbial attrition. This anti-bacteria attitude has swept up even the good bacteria. Yes, I said good bacteria. Deep in your gut, in your mouth, and even on your skin are bacteria that are are helpful. These bacteria have a probiotic benefit to your health. What is that benefit? Let’s take a closer look.
The truth is, even under the cleanest conditions our skin is alive with bacteria and this is a good thing! Probiotic bacteria on your skin helps keep your skin in balance. You may have noticed that when you go overboard with hand sanitizer your skin can start becoming red and brittle. Part of this is the drying effect of the alcohol in the hand sanitizer another is a lack of good skin bacteria. The probiotic bacteria on your skin helps keep you healthy by fighting off bad bacteria and that fungus that can discolor your skin.
Having a good blend of probiotic bacteria in your mouth helps keeps your breath smelling fresh and clean. If you’ve been waking up with dry mouth or a sour taste, it might be an indication that your oral probiotic benefit is lacking. Eating probiotic rich foods will do way more to help this than lugging around that gallon of mouthwash.
Here’s the big one. Our digestive system is a mini ecosystem of bacteria. In fact, the entire thing only functions because of this bacteria. Without it, we couldn’t digest the food we eat every day. If you’re probiotic balance is off, you may experience a wide variety of symptoms from bloating to diarrhea. Making sure your probiotic health is strong is just as important as every other aspect of a healthy diet. Incorporating more fermented foods will help bring you back into balance and get your digestive health back on track!
Recovering from Antibiotics
Here’s a little know fact about probiotics. After you take antibiotic medicine, your probiotic bacteria also get wiped out. Antibiotics are great for making sure we recover from illness, but they take the sledgehammer approach to taking out bacteria. Everything goes. After you complete an antibiotic treatment, make a point to bring probiotic foods back into your diet to get your good bacteria back to full force! This is one of the best ways to feel the full effect of the probitoic benefit.
Probiotic foods like tempeh, miso, soy beverages, and other fermented foods will help keep your probiotic bacteria strong and outnumbering the bad bacteria. The best part about probiotics health is that it doesn’t ask much of you. No complicated workout plans or strict diets here, just switch out that 2% with soy or drop the plastic cheese slices for something fermented and you’re already on the way to a balanced probiotic system.