How Do Probiotics Affect Your Immune System

January 3, 2022

After the last few years of the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in interest in personal health. As we all saw unprecedented levels of illness around the globe, we responded with improved sanitation and disinfection practices and even cut down on the transmission of the virus with masks and social distancing. All of these health practices were effective, and despite the difficulties of the ongoing pandemic, we’ve continued to march through the days.

However, this whole pandemic has gotten people wondering what they can do to prevent illness from happening in the first place. There are many ways to improve your preventative health care, including your exercise habits and vitamin intake. However, for some of the best preventive results, you should look to your diet.

Though many people don’t realize it, our gut health influences the rest of our health, from our immune system to our emotions and even our nervous system! What we eat is essential for getting nutrients and vitamins to power our body, but it goes much much deeper than that. Gut health is a complex topic to think about, but to make things easier, we’ll focus on one of the best ways you can help your gut thrive: probiotics!

If you’re an existing fan of Cleveland Kitchen, you likely know a little something about probiotics already, but for the uninitiated, consider this the beginning of your probiotic education. Sure, you might have seen the word “probiotics” around your grocery store or on the shelves of vitamins at your local pharmacy, but how much do you know about them?  

We’ll take a look at some of the benefits of probiotics, particularly when it comes to our immune systems. This article will include some of the most common types of probiotics you’ll encounter, as well as how they interact with your body, and where you can find all the best probiotics for gut health (spoiler alert, probiotics are in all of Cleveland Kitchen’s favorite foods!)

Probiotics 101

We won’t spend too much time here, but we want to make sure everyone understands the basics of probiotics because, without that knowledge, the rest of this article won’t be too helpful!

In the simplest terms, probiotics are types of beneficial bacteria that can affect the existing bacteria in your digestive system. In every person’s digestive tract, there’s an entire ecosystem of bacteria that is commonly called our “gut flora.”  Countless types of bacteria live within us, but by adding probiotics into our diet, we can ensure that our gut flora is working for us rather than against us.

You can get probiotics from two primary sources; foods and supplements. In terms of food, look no further than what Cleveland Kitchen has to offer! Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt are chock full of probiotic goodness, making them some of the best food to eat when considering your gut flora. Alternatively, you can get dietary supplements that contain probiotics so that you can add a daily probiotic boost without changing your physical diet.

As we mentioned previously, probiotics contribute to your overall health, but they are arguably most effective in coordination with your immune system.

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Immunity and Bacteria

Bacteria isn’t necessarily the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of immunity, but research has shown that probiotic bacterial strains can potentially do some good for your immune system.

Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

As far as the science goes, what we truly understand about probiotics is still pretty limited, though new research is constantly surfacing! A part of the problem is simply the sheer number of probiotic bacteria that exist, though there are a few species that we’ve singled out that tend to provide the most consistent health benefits.

These species, scientifically known as Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus, and bifidobacterium, are the most commonly used and researched types of probiotic bacteria. Researchers have learned a good amount of information about how they interact with our bodies from studying these strains.

For starters, probiotics help to replenish and balance our levels of internal bacteria.

When we are sick with a particular type of illness, we will take antibiotics to get rid of the harmful bacteria. While antibiotics help destroy bacteria, they don’t choose which bacteria to kill, meaning they can often reduce the number of helpful bacteria in our bodies by accident. Studies have shown that probiotics can be beneficial when trying to restore these levels of bacteria.

Probiotics also help boost our innate immunity, which is our body’s original “defense system” that everyone was born with. By adding probiotic supplementation to our bodies, we see increases in this innate immune system, as measured by the presence of certain bacteria or disease molecules. This suggests that probiotics can enhance our own body’s ability to fight disease!

Beyond these interactions, scientists are still studying probiotics to uncover their secrets, but recently they’ve made another exciting discovery. In a review of many different probiotic-focused studies, researchers found that the effect of the probiotics depends more on the person than the bacteria itself. Simply put, probiotics will function differently for every unique person!

For this reason, it’s tough to say with complete accuracy what the health benefits of probiotics are! On the one hand, we have positive evidence of probiotics’ effect on the immune system, yet on the other hand, we’re learning that the results are different for every person.

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Cleveland Kitchen’s Fermented Foods!

Thankfully, probiotics are still super beneficial for you, even if we don’t have all the details. There is no evidence to suggest that they are hazardous to your health, and when you consider the benefits, they vastly outweigh the potential cons.

We can also speak to our own experience with probiotics, thanks to all of our fermented food products that contain them! From tasty, crunchy sauerkraut to tangy and unique kimchi, try our collection of foods today to see just how good probiotics can taste. Check out our collections, or learn more on our blog today!

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