What Are Probiotics? A Stronger Defence: How Probiotics Can Help Support Your Immune System? Your immune system is your body’s first defence against pathogens, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms. A robust immune system helps protect you from illnesses and infections, while a weakened one can leave you vulnerable to various health problems.
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to help support your immune defense, including adding probiotics to your diet.
How Probiotics Can Help Support Your Immune System?
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms beneficial to your health when consumed in adequate amounts. These microorganisms are typically found in foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi and in dietary supplements.
Probiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which can help improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and enhance the absorption of nutrients. They also help to regulate the immune system by promoting the growth of immune cells and improving the function of the gut barrier, which plays a crucial role in preventing the entry of harmful pathogens.
The Role Of Probiotics In Immune Health
Research has shown that probiotics promote immune defence by modulating the gut microbiota and enhancing the function of the gut barrier.
Studies have found that probiotics can help to stimulate the production of antibodies, which are proteins that help to identify and neutralise harmful pathogens. They can also help to enhance the activity of natural killer cells, which are white blood cells that help to defend against infections and tumours.
Probiotic have also effectively reduced the risk of certain infections in infants and children, including ear infections and diarrhoea caused by rotavirus.
Choosing The Right Probiotic
When choosing a supplement, it’s essential to consider the strain and dosage. Different strains of probiotic’s have different effects on the body, and some strains may be more effective in supporting immune health than others.
One strain that is particularly effective in supporting immune health is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. This strain has been shown to help reduce the risk of respiratory and ear infections in children and reduce the duration and severity of diarrhoea caused by rotavirus.
Likewise, Streptococcus salivarius K12 is a bacteria naturally found in the mouth and throat. This particular strain has been studied for its potential to support oral and respiratory health, particularly in children. There are several potential benefits of taking dietary supplements containing Streptococcus salivarius K12. Taking a supplement containing K12 can help to reduce the risk of infections in the mouth, throat, and respiratory tract.
This strain can help to colonise the throat and tonsils, which can help to reduce the frequency and severity of infections such as strep throat and tonsillitis. However, choosing a high-quality supplement and following the recommended dosage instructions is essential.
Incorporating Probiotics Into Your Diet
In addition to taking supplements, you can incorporate probiotics into your diet by consuming foods naturally rich in probiotics. Some of the best sources of probiotics include:
- Yoghurt: Look for yoghurt containing live and active cultures, and avoid varieties high in added sugars.
- Kefir: This fermented milk drink is similar to yoghurt but has a thinner consistency and a tangier taste. It’s a good source of probiotics as well as calcium and protein.
- Sauerkraut: This fermented cabbage dish is a good source of probiotics, fibre, and vitamin C.
- Kimchi: This spicy Korean side dish is made from fermented vegetables and is a good source of probiotics and vitamins A and C.
Other Ways To Support Immune Health
While probiotics are for immune defence, they are just one piece of the puzzle. There are many other steps you can take to help support your immune system, including:
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet: Consuming a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, can help your body to function correctly.
- Getting enough sleep: Sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Managing stress: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, so it’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
- Exercising regularly: Regular exercise can help enhance the immune system’s function and reduce inflammation.
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infections and other health problems.
Your immune system plays a crucial role in protecting your health, and adding probiotics to your diet can effectively support your immune health. Probiotic encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help regulate the immune system and reduce the risk of infections and other health problems.