8 reasons why probiotics could make you feel THIS good for summer
Probiotics are the so-called friendly bacteria that balance out the bad bugs in your gut. These days you can take them as a supplement, in special drinks, yoghurts and even as powders for babies to be added to infant formula. But did you know they can help with much more than simply recovering from a bout of food poisoning?
1 They could change your mood
Probiotics don’t just make your tummy happy – they make you happy too. ‘Research shows maintaining a healthy gut flora can help reduce anxiety by lowering levels of brain activity linked to emotion and pain,’ says nutritional therapist Natalie Lamb.
2 They could boost your zzzz
Not sleeping well? Probiotics may play a role in easing insomnia. Taking a multi-strain probiotic could boost the production of the hormones that help you sleep soundly, says Lamb: ‘The gut is largely responsible for the production of happy hormone serotonin, as well as the relaxation hormone, melatonin.’
Read now: How to sleep better
3 They can give an energy boost
With too many of us running on empty, feeling tired all the time is the bane of the modern world. But probiotics could help.
‘A lack of energy often arises when you aren’t getting the vital vitamins and nutrients from your food needed to keep you running,’ says Lamb. ‘A multi-strain probiotic sustains healthy levels of good bacteria, to help you absorb the goodness from the food you’re eating. A healthy gut flora also aids in the production of extra B vitamins, essential for energy production in the body.’
4 They could help you lose weight
Ever wondered why some people stay thin, whatever they eat? A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition has found that certain probiotics helped women lose weight – and keep it off. Other research suggests the gut flora in thin people is different to that of overweight people, explaining why this might be the case.
5 They’re potentially good for teeth
You might not make an instant connection with oral health and probiotics. But says Lamb, ‘Clinical studies have shown that probiotics and the maintenance of healthy gut flora could be useful in preventing and treating oral infections, including dental caries, periodontal disease and halitosis.’
6 They can help beat IBS
Is there a woman around who doesn’t experience digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome at some point? IBS is becoming incredibly common partly due to our modern stressful lifestyle, and could be caused by an imbalance of the normal friendly bacteria in the intestine. Lamb says, ‘Anyone with IBS should add a good probiotic with a large range of bacteria to their diets, to top up levels of the bacteria which can help maintain a healthy digestive function.’
7 They soothe screaming babies
Yes, really. Giving babies probiotics could help ease common problems like colic – and you can now buy smart formulas that you can easily add to milk as a powder. Lowri Turner, nutritional therapist, says: ‘If you don’t know why your baby is crying, unbalanced gut bacteria could be a reason.’
8 They now come in chocolate!
We have big news. Teeny, treat-size Ohso bars deliver the same probiotic goodness, in chocolate. The chocolate acts as a barrier between the live bacteria in the bars and the destructive stomach acid, meaning more of the good ones make it into your system in one piece. And it does this far more effectively (and deliciously) than yoghurt drinks.
Our new favourite 4pm treat comes in loads of flavours (our pick is raspberry, pictured), some of which are even sugar free. Our best bit? They’re only 72 calories each and come individually wrapped, so it’s much easier to stop at just one, even if you’re seriously craving.
Get your pack of seven for £3.99 at Holland & Barrett, and indulge with impunity!
Natalie Lamb is a nutritional therapist at at Protexin Probiotics.