This is Why You Exercise at the Right Time of Day

Best time to work outIf you haven’t already established a healthy exercise routine – then start one! When you begin an exercise routine; it’s most important to set a routine in the beginning and stick to it, regardless of the time of day.

But, for those of us who already make fitness an important part of our lives when we train can be an important consideration: When is the best time of day to exercise to get the results we want, perform best or maximize our weight loss efforts?

Let’s take a look at the advantages, benefits, drawbacks, and science of physical activity earlier or later in the day for health, peak performance, weight loss or building muscle.

The Best Time to Exercise for Weight Loss

time to exercise for weight lossIt goes without saying that the best way to maintain a healthy weight, besides counting calories, to engage in regular physical activity. But, does exercising at a particular time of day help maximize the effects of exercise on burning excess body fat?

If you want the most effect from your weight loss efforts, a groundbreaking research study indicates that you might do best by setting your alarm earlier and doing your exercising before eating breakfast.

Running on Empty

There is substantial evidence that exercising on a completely empty stomach (a fasted state) — prompts your body to burn more fat and even prevent weight gain when compared to exercising at other times of the day.

Researchers in Belgium recruited young, healthy men to subsist for one and a half months on a diet that consisted of thirty-percent more calories and fifty-percent more fat than they had previously been eating.

One group of volunteers remained sedentary while another group started a strenuous, mid-morning training routine after they had eaten breakfast. A third group followed the same workout routine, but before eating.

At the end of the study, the sedentary group gained roughly six pounds each. This group also developed increased insulin resistance and had a higher body mass index (BMI) than before. Meanwhile, the men who trained after breakfast had also gained weight (three pounds each) and developed greater insulin resistance. But, incredibly, the men who had exercised before eating anything in the morning gained almost no weight and maintained healthy insulin levels. Significantly; they were burning more fat throughout the day than were the other men in the study.

Fasting is the Key

The most convenient way to train in a fasted state is after a good night’s sleep, but the results of this study clearly show that the benefits came from training on an empty stomach, not from the exact time that the test subjects exercised.

If you work nights, or on a rotating shift – you can easily get the benefits of training in a fasted state by exercising upon awakening (but before eating), regardless of the hour you get up.

Morning Exercise for Restful Sleep

It turns out that increased weight loss isn’t the only benefit from starting your day with a good sweat – morning exercise has been shown to also improve the quality of your sleep. A better night’s rest will ensure that you’re more likely to start your morning exercise sessions – which will help you burn more body fat!

Mornings Beat Insomnia

Insomnia is also a risk factor for obesity; consistently restful sleep is an enjoyable and easy way to keep a healthy weight- morning exercise will help you get the rest you need when you need it.

How About Building Muscle?

buildingMuscleOf particular interest to men – what’s the best time of day to train for increased muscle size?

Testosterone Peaks Early in the Day

Unsurprisingly, you need to concern yourself with the time of day when your testosterone (male hormone) levels are at their highest – in the middle of the morning; this is when your blood testosterone levels are at their best.

What if you can’t consistently weight train that early? There’s nothing to worry about. Even though your male hormone levels peak earlier, your muscular strength hits a peak in the early evening hours. Since lifting more weight stimulates greater strength and mass gains; hitting the gym right after work can be an effective alternate option.

Good Company Makes it Easier

Another benefit of exercising later in the day is – company. A workout partner can motivate you when you’re feeling lazy and make training a fun time to trade jokes and have discussions (in between sets of course).

You’ll have a better chance of finding a workout partner for late in the day training. Friends, coworkers, roommates; they’ll all be more willing to join you after school or work than they would be before breakfast!

Best Time to Exercise for Long-Term Success

longTermSuccessWhat’s the best time of day to exercise if you want to stick with it long-term? Anytime that’s right for you!

You’re far more likely to establish a consistent routine if you choose the most convenient time of day for you. Of course, there are ideal times when you can do weight training, or cardio, or exercise to lose weight – but it doesn’t matter if you aren’t consistent.

Set aside a block of time in your day and stick to it! Lifelong fitness is a lifelong commitment, and you need to find the schedule that fits your lifestyle, location, and unique body clock. Morning, noon or night; when will working out be most enjoyable and easy to do? Whatever the answer is, it’ll be the right one if you’re consistent.

This is Why Beer Benefits Your Health

8 ways beer is good for youTo quote Homer Simpson: “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

As tongue in cheek as that may sound there’s some truth in those oft repeated words; it turns out that that most famous of adult beverages isn’t all bad. That frosty pint has very genuine, scientifically proven health benefits.

So the next time you’re knocking one (or a few) back – (try to) remember the incredible health benefits of this foamy, delicious, and internationally recognized drink.

Now, without further ado, we’ll look at exactly what’s in that beer, and I’ll show you the eight ways that beer can benefit your health.

What Is Beer?

what is beer?To many people, this may sound like a silly question – but it’s important to have a good understanding of this beautiful beverage.

There are only four ingredients that – with a considerable degree of skill – go into creating a drink so important to human history that it’s called ‘liquid bread’ in that famous homeland of superior brews; Germany.

Beer is essentially water, hops, grain, and yeast.

The grain (typically barley) is called the malt, and this is what the yeast ferments to produce the alcohol content. Hops reduce the sweetness of the malt and give the beer its distinctive taste. Besides barley, the grains that can be used to brew beer include; wheat, rice, corn or even various fruits or herbs.

The alcohol content of beer can range from less than 3% to over 40%, but most ales and lagers are within the 4% – 6% range.

As few as the ingredients that go into making your beer are; so is the list of health benefits long.

Let’s start with my favorite:

1) Beer Boosts Your Creativity

As counterintuitive as it may sound – it’s entirely true and backed by science. Researchers had forty test subjects watch a movie while trying to solve word puzzles, except that some of them had a blood alcohol level that would have gotten them a DUI in almost every US state.

The surprising conclusion? Test subjects with a blood alcohol level of .075 consistently outperformed their sober counterparts.

But, why is this so amazing? A blood alcohol level of .08 is characterized by

  • Definite impairment of muscle coordination
  • Impaired driving skills
  • Increased risk of nausea
  • Slurred speech

And yet, the sober test subjects couldn’t keep up with the drinkers! This goes a long way to explain the large number of (successful) wordsmiths who regularly enjoy a healthy drink.

2) Never Worry About Kidney Stones

beer mugRaise a cold one and celebrate having one less health worry; researchers in Finland have discovered that for every glass of beer you drink, you’ll also reduce your risk of developing (mind numbingly painful) kidney stones by 40%!

The exact reasons why beer has this protective effect aren’t at all understood but, there are two interesting theories:

  • The diuretic effect of alcohol keeps the kidneys working hard recycling that brew every time you go to the restroom
  • Hops may have the effect of slowing the release of calcium from your bones that can settle down and form (what feels like) mountain sized boulders in your urinary tract

3) Who Needs Beer Goggles?

It’s true that alcohol can change the way you perceive things, but this is different.

Research published in the Archives of Ophthalmology has demonstrated that alcohol consumption equivalent to just one daily stout or lager will increase the antioxidant activity that can prevent the formation of cataracts in your eyes.

A caveat: they also found that test subjects who had more than three drinks experienced the opposite effect. Moderation was the key.

So pop open that can and say cheers to clear eyesight!

4) Hops Can Prevent Cancer

beer can prevent cancerTell this one to the next person who disparages your love of beer. A flavonoids compound found in hops called Xanthohumol has proven anti-cancer properties that play a major role in the chemoprevention of prostate and other cancers.

Like wine, beer also contains health enhancing polyphenols (from the fermented grain) that also play a major role in fighting cancer.

5) Get Your B Vitamins

A Dutch study has confirmed that regular beer drinkers have B vitamin levels up to 30% higher levels of B6 and B12than non-drinkers. While wine drinkers also had significantly higher levels of B vitamins in their blood, the beer drinkers had B vitamin levels that were twice as high. Don’t just drink to someone’s health – drink for your health; B vitamins are essential for the health of your nerves, brain function, and energy metabolism.

6) Drink Beer to Prevent Stroke

Multiple studies have proven a correlation between beer drinking and a reduced risk of suffering a debilitating stroke.

Ischemic stroke risk is cut by up to 50% in moderate beer drinkers as compared to teetotalers. Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke and happen when a blood clot blocks oxygen to the affected part of the brain.

Incredibly, drinking beer makes your arteries and blood vessels more flexible; improving your blood flow significantly. This increased flexibility and blood flow make it much harder for a clot to form – no clot, no stroke.

7) Beer Keeps Your Mind Sharp As You Age

beer glassesForget the stereotype of the forgetful, absent minded drinker; studies going back to the late 1970’s strongly indicate that regular beer drinkers are up to 24% less likely to suffer from the cognitive impairment that usually comes with old age.

Current science still hasn’t come up with the reason why, although some researchers theorize that this benefit is related to the salubrious effect alcohol has on the cardiovascular system, certain flavonoids or the way booze can raise ‘good’ cholesterol levels.

It’s interesting to note that beer contains relatively high silicon levels compared to other drinks, and silicon is believed to protect your brain from the harmful effects of environmental aluminum.

8) Have a Beer before Bed

Beer consumption has been found to stimulate the production of dopamine in our brains – dopamine is a sedative hormone that has been prescribed by doctors to help insomniacs get the rest they need.

Strangely enough, just tasting beer will increase your dopamine levels! According to researchers all anyone needs is about one tablespoon to enjoy this calming effect – so don’t over do it.

Vitamin D | The Sunshine Vitamin

vitamin D supplementsWhat if you found out one vitamin can do all this:

  • Fight disease
  • Reduce depression
  • Boost weight loss
  • Protect against diabetes
  • Stave off heart disease

And is critical to the maintenance of optimum health?
Now, what if I told you that this vitamin is given away at no cost during part of the year?
I can understand if you’re skeptical; but you’ll understand shortly – read on to discover what this vitamin is, what it can do for your health, the dangers of missing out on this essential substance, and of course, the best ways to get your daily requirement of this, literal, foundation of human health.

The Sunshine Vitamin

The sunshine vitamin DIf you haven’t guessed by now; I’m talking about vitamin D, also called the ‘sunshine vitamin.’
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for facilitating the intestinal absorption of essential minerals such as; calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. Vitamin D also has other (critical) biological effects in humans. It can be acquired through diet or exposure to UV radiation (sunlight).
But this just covers the basics – research has discovered that this nutrient has an extraordinary level of influence over our health. Let’s start by taking a look at the consequences of not getting enough.

Deficiency Dangers

We only need to go back a little ways historically to see that rickets; a skeletal disorder that’s caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate, was once a common health problem in northern Europe and the UK. Vitamin D is vital for the body to metabolize the building blocks of strong, healthy bones. Rickets sufferers will experience symptoms like; weak and soft bones, retarded growth, and, in severe cases, skeletal deformities.

Vitamin D deficiency makes it almost impossible for the body to maintain sufficient levels both calcium and phosphate. When this happens, the body will produce hormones that leach calcium and phosphate from your bones. When bones lack these minerals, they inevitably become weaker and softer.

3 Risk Factors to Look Out For:

  • Geographic location: Your body produces vitamin D when you’re exposed to sunlight, so living in an area with little sunlight will put you at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Also, people who spend much of the day indoors are at risk.
  • Diet: You will have a greater risk of deficiency if you eat a vegetarian diet that doesn’t include fish, eggs, or milk. Having an allergy to milk sugar (lactose intolerance) is another risk factor.
  • Skin Color: darker skin does not react as strongly to sunlight as lighter colored skin; consequently individuals with higher melanin levels need much greater time exposed to the sun to produce the vitamin D they require.

To Stay Heart Healthy

Vitamin D is heart healthyNumerous studies have discovered a direct correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a significantly higher risk of heart disease and hypertension in adults. One reason for this has to do with vitamin D’s role in calcium absorption; contrary to popular belief an atherosclerotic blockage is mostly composed of calcium and not fat. Vitamin D deficiency may create a situation where excess calcium in the blood comes to rest in the cardiac arteries rather than being used for bone metabolism.

Low vitamin D levels have also been shown to be a risk factor for hypertension. Increasing serum vitamin D levels has consistently lowered blood pressure in individuals suffering from a diagnosed deficiency.

What about Diabetes?

Current research has linked low vitamin D levels with the development of insulin resistance which can result in diabetes. Preventing insulin resistance is important to head off this, frequently debilitating metabolic disorder. Studies have shown that test subjects given a daily dose of vitamin D equivalent to ten times the amount found in the average multivitamin increased their insulin sensitivity by almost 40%. This is a remarkable improvement according to researchers.

Stay Lean with Vitamin D

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered that a calorie restricted diet for weight loss is far more efficient for individuals who maintain healthy blood levels of vitamin D. All the women in the study who took supplemental vitamin D (2000 IU) and reached ‘replete’ levels of vitamin D (they had optimum levels) lost close to 30% more weight over a one year period than those who didn’t raise their blood levels to this point.
To maximize your weight loss efforts; you need to do more than increase your intake of D, you need to take enough to achieve a healthy blood level of this ‘super’ vitamin.

What Else can it Do?

The list of vitamin D benefits is incredibly long, and more benefits are being found every year – but here is a short list of what research has shown that this nutrient can do for you:

  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Reduces depression
  • Increased sense of well-being
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Fewer asthma attacks

What Foods Are Vitamin D Rich?

What foods are vitamin D richBesides getting sufficient exposure to sunlight or taking a daily supplement – there are many foods you can include in your diet to ensure that you’re getting enough:

  • Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other fatty fish are rich in vitamin D
  • Beef liver is an easily found, and incredibly rich, source of D
  • Stop throwing away those egg yolks! Egg yolk is an great source of dietary vitamin D
  • If you love cheese – enjoy it in the knowledge that it provides your body with this essential nutrient
  • Cod liver oil is how many people have traditionally maintained healthy vitamin D levels
  • Shiitake mushrooms will bring a little more sunlight (vitamin) into your life
  • Milk and yogurt provide significant amounts as well

How About Supplements?

There are several types of vitamin D, but only two are important to humans: D2 and D3.
Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is created by plants, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is synthesized by the body when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays in sunlight. The biologically active form of this vitamin is calcitriol, which is synthesized in the kidneys from either D2 or D3.
Of the two types of vitamin D, D3 is the most efficient form that you can consume to maintain healthy levels of this nutrient in your body – so read the labels of that pill bottle and make sure that you’re taking the most active form of D to maintain your health during the winter months when you can’t get enough UV exposure on your skin to make your own.

Boost Your Immune System for School | Office | Home

Boost Your Immune System for School | Office | Home

You may be sweating through the dog days of summer – but fall and winter are just around the corner, and that means cold and flu season is quickly approaching. It’s time to think about boosting your immune system to prevent the misery of fever, headache, and chills.
Falling ill isn’t just a matter of bad luck, there are easy, effective, and natural ways to strengthen your body’s immune response to avoid infection and stay healthy from Halloween to Easter.

 

Why Does Cold Weather Make Us Sick?

This is an old myth that refuses to die; cold weather does not make us sick.

The problem is that we’re confusing cause and effect, it isn’t the cold that is making us ill – rather it’s the conditions that come with cold weather that make it easier for us to catch an illness. Here are the two most important reasons why you need a turbocharged immune system once the leaves start falling.

1) Humidity

Cold weather is dry weather.

Gone are the steamy days of late summer, this means your respiratory passages will have a tougher time maintaining a healthy layer of pathogen blocking mucus. This is why your nose can become runny when you go out in the cold; your nasal passages will work overtime trying to keep warm and hydrated.

This post nasal drip can carry pathogens directly to your lungs and stomach – making you sick.

2) Staying Inside

It’s not bad enough that the dry air outside is putting you at risk, but staying inside is also a way that the cold weather season makes getting ill almost inevitable.

Rhinoviruses peak in spring and fall, and influenza viruses peak in the winter primarily due to locking pathogens behind closed doors and windows as people gather for indoor activities like entertaining guests at home.

According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), dry air makes it easier for the flu virus to both survive and transmit itself. All that still, uncirculated, and dry air is a perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to jump from person to person with a sneeze or a touch.

A study conducted at Tianjin University in China discovered that students in dorm rooms with poor ventilation fell ill more often. Unfortunately, the average classroom in the US exposes students to the same unhealthy conditions.

Furthermore, researchers at Virginia Tech found that good air circulation, as well as higher indoor humidity, makes the influenza A virus inactive.

While there isn’t any connection between being cold and getting sick; stuffy, dry air does create the conditions that can lead to illness.

Here are some of the best ways to boost your immunity to fight off infections at home or work, and keep your kids from missing too many school days.

Get Enough Exercise

Exercise can decrease your chances of suffering heart disease and keeps your bones healthy and strong – but it also revs up your body’s immune response!

Science hasn’t discovered the reason why yet, but here are three good theories:

  1. The increase in body temperature is similar to a fever, with possibly the same effect; an inhospitable environment for any pathogens you may be exposed to.
  2. Physical exertion stimulates changes in the antibodies and white blood cells. When these infection fighters circulate more rapidly, it’s possible that they detect infections sooner.
  3. Exercise reduces your levels of stress hormones. Since stress can depress the immune response; lower stress hormones might protect against illness.

Don’t spend the winter on your couch playing video games with your kids, get up and move on a regular basis to keep your immune system in top shape.

These Herbs Can Boost Immune Function

There is evidence that many herbs used in traditional medicine provide benefits to our immune system and help us fight off infection.

Here are five of the best ones.
Echinacea

Echinacea is a purple flower originally used by Native Americans and renowned for its healing properties. The most often noted benefit of echinacea is its ability to make our immune cells more efficient at attacking bacteria, viruses and even abnormal cells so it’s harder to fall ill and shortening the duration of colds and flu when we do.

Elderberry

The anthocyanins in elderberries have a strong effect on immune function by boosting the production of cytokines (proteins that act as immune system messengers) to help improve your immune response.

There is also evidence that elderberry contains potent antiviral compounds and high levels of infection fighting bioflavonoids and that can help fight the flu. Elderberry extract is usually taken in a syrup and can be used as efficient protection against colds and flu.

Calendula

Also called the pot marigold; calendula oil has proven antimicrobial and fever reducing properties that make it a valuable addition to your immune boosting regime. Studies have demonstrated that calendula can also be used topically to speed wound healing and fight ear infections.

Garlic
cloves of garlicThis has to be the most delicious immune boosting herb you can use! Garlic is rich in allicin a form of sulfur with powerful antimicrobial and immune boosting effects.

Garlic will also boost your immune system by increasing the production of pathogen killing T-cells and has been found to be effective against cancer cells. Including garlic in your diet magnifies your natural infection fighting ability.

Astragalus Root

Astragalus has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s sometimes used on the skin for to speed healing of small wounds. Additionally, studies show that astragalus has potent antiviral properties and stimulates your immune system, meaning that it could help to prevent colds and flu.

You Need These Vitamins

Getting your minimum daily requirement of vitamins is an essential part of any health maintenance routine – but when it comes to boosting immune function; some vitamins are especially important.

Vitamin A

Commonly considered a vital nutrient for eye health, vitamin A (retinoic acid) powerfully influences our ability to fight off infection and stave off communicable diseases. Studies consistently show that maintaining healthy levels of vitamin A will help keep the immune system at its best.

B6
Also called pyridoxine; vitamin B6 is critical for healthy immune function and is an effective way to defend yourself against all kinds of pathogens by powerfully amplifying your body’s defense systems.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the superstar of the vitamin world – with countless studies finding that it’s useful in fighting a plethora of flu viruses as well as the (all too) common cold.

Research has shown vitamin C to be especially effective in fighting lung infections – and even killing bacteria (like antibiotic resistant tuberculosis) that pharmaceutical drugs can’t!

As cold and flu season approach make sure that your diet includes lots of vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and bell peppers.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a critical component of the immune system. A reduction in UV exposure due to short, cloudy winter days and increasing time spent indoors means that you’ll be getting much less vitamin D than you need to stay in peak, disease fighting condition.

According to researchers; people who have lower vitamin D levels have a significantly increased risk of developing the flu.

Keep your vitamin D levels high until the long days of summer return by eating oily fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver, and egg yolks.

Frequent Hand Washing!

washing hands frequently will boost immune systemThe easiest way to help your immune system to fight off colds and flu is to keep those nasty bugs from getting inside you, to begin with!

Establish a hand cleaning routine for everyone in your home; as soon as anyone comes in from being outside, they should wash their hands with soap and water. When outside you should either wash your hands or use an antibacterial gel every time you’ve touched objects that see a lot of traffic – like door knobs, keyboards, tools, devices, etc.

Humidify

humidify to boost immune systemAs stated earlier; higher indoor humidity and good air circulation will render influenza A virus inactive. Use a humidifier to maintain healthy moisture levels at work (if possible) and at home. Although the weather can be too cold for comfort – it’s in your best interest to also try to keep a steady stream of fresh air flowing into any room where you work, study or play.

Use these immune system boosting herbs and vitamins while you:

  • Keep your hands clean
  • Humidify the air
  • And keep your body moving

To stay cold and flu free until spring!

The Real Deal on ProBiotics

a few raspberries in yogurtThe first time you heard about the necessity of probiotics for your health was probably during a round of antibiotics. Your healthcare provider likely explained that the drug you were taking to fight an infection was going to wreak havoc with the bacteria in your gut that keep your digestion running smoothly.

Is this the only benefit that probiotics have for your health?

Emerging research shows that these live bacteria and enzymes – found in foods like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha (a fermented tea drink), are vital to more than gut health; they provide an incredible array of health benefits.

Other natural sources of probiotics are:

  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

Unfortunately, most of us don’t consume enough probiotics for optimum health through our diets – meaning lots of people are missing out on the health benefits of these little bacterial and enzyme powerhouses.

What can probiotics do for you?

While far from exhaustive, we’ll go over some of the most important and scientifically verified benefits of probiotics.

Keep reading to discover the real deal on probiotics.

What are Probiotics?

what are probioticsAs you read earlier; probiotics are the bacteria and enzymes necessary for proper digestion and gut health in general. But, what exactly are they and what do they do in our guts?

Probiotic bacteria fall into one of two kinds.

1) Bifidobacteria

Bifidobacterium bifidum: living inside the mucus lining of your large intestine or vaginal tract, bifidum prevents infectious bacteria and yeasts from invading. Bifidum makes positive changes in pH levels through the production of lactic and acetic acids. Additionally, this bifidum increase the absorption rate of essential minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

B. infantis: stimulates the production of cytokines affecting the immune system, and will kill off such infectious agents as salmonella, clostrida, and shigella.

B. longum: thrives in the large intestine. Longum prevents pathogenic bacteria and yeast from invading. This could mitigate the severity of gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, and nausea while on antibiotics.

2) Lactobacteria

Lactobacillus acidophilus: is a commonly known probiotic and is also one of the most critical for small intestine health.

This probiotic bacteria inhabits the lining of the intestine, but it can also take up residence in the vagina, cervix or urethra. Acidophilus inhibits infection, and produces natural antibiotics like lactocidin and acidophilin, enhancing our immunity. Acidophilus is an anti-microbial against pathogens such as; staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, E. coli and candida albicans.

Lactobacillus brevis: also called L. brevis, is a lactic acid producing probiotic that helps your body to synthesize Vitamins D and K.

L. bulgaricus: Is used to ferment yogurt and plays a protective role by generating lactic acid, creating a friendly environment for other probiotic bacteria species.

L. plantarum: creates lactolin, one more natural antibiotic. Plantarum will also produce L-lysine, a potent anti-viral amino acid. This bacterium eliminates nitrate while increasing nitric oxide levels and eliminating pathogens.

L. rhamnosus: exhibits a high bile salt tolerance and survives in less hospitable environments. This bacterium has demonstrated benefit for both the elderly and infants. Rhamnosus mitigates lactose intolerance, protects your small intestine, and produces lactic acid in your large intestine. There are many strains of lactobacilli that include; L. fermentum, L. caucasicus, and L helveticusi.

These are the most basic facts about the different kinds of probiotics we rely on for digestive health – but in what other ways do probiotics optimize our health?

Weight Loss

strawberry smoothieAccording to a study published in the journal Obesity; taking probiotics can protect against weight gain and aid in your weight loss efforts.

Past research has demonstrated that imbalances in our microbiome (the trillions of bacteria living in the gut) can increase the chances of suffering metabolic disease like diabetes, weight gain, and poor nutrition due to impaired digestion.

This time test subjects were placed on a high fat and high calorie diet to determine what effect if any consuming probiotic supplements would have on weight gain. The subjects who consumed a probiotic shake as part of their daily food intake had lower total body mass gain and fat accumulation than the subjects who didn’t.
Immune Health

Research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition details the effects that probiotics have on strengthening our immune response for greater resilience against infection.

This research published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found out that athletes in New Zealand had almost 40% fewer colds and intestinal infections when they took a probiotic compared to when they were given a placebo.

Maintaining healthy intestinal flora by eating probiotic rich foods or taking supplements will also help your immune ability by increasing production from your lymphocytes; a strong marker of a robust immune response.

If you’re sick of being sick, consuming more probiotics is a proven way to turbocharge your infection fighting ability.

Skin Problems

Salmon over some noodles with chop sticks on the edge of plateProbiotics have been studied for their power to minimize and even prevent the symptoms of psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea.

Studies have proven that probiotics are instrumental in mitigating the effects of eczema, psoriasis, and other bothersome (and sometimes painful) skin conditions.

The health of our gastrointestinal tract affects an incredible range of organs and systems throughout the body.

Improve Your Mood

Research shows that individuals suffering from depression and other mood disorders respond positively to supplemental probiotics added to the diet. Researchers conclude that probiotics have strong potential in alleviating distress and anxiety in psychiatric patients suffering from mood disorders.

There is a proven link between gut health and our mental health; if you’re feeling down, try including probiotics in your diet for a pick me up.

Women’s Health

Similar to the digestive tract; the vagina relies on a delicate balance of bacteria for health. An imbalance can result in extremely uncomfortable conditions:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Yeast infection

L. acidophilus has been found useful in both preventing infection and managing an already active case of vaginosis or yeast infection.

Probiotics may be of particular benefit to pregnant women since bacterial vaginosis is a risk factor for pre-term labor. If you’re expecting a baby – take probiotics for your health, and your baby’s.

Probiotics are Tasty!

probioticsIt’s easy to start enjoying the health enhancing benefits of probiotics. Try some of the probiotic rich foods mentioned in this article and see which ones are enjoyable and easy to add to your diet.

From pickles and sauerkraut to yogurt and kefir – there are many delicious ways to maintain your gut health!