Probiotics are beneficial micro-organisms found in certain foods such as yogurt. These good bacteria strains promote optimal gut health by countering the effects of bad bacteria in the digestive tract. But a new study suggests that not do probiotics contribute to healthy digestion, these good bacteria also play a role in making us feel better!
A team of researchers examined the Lactobacillus strain of probiotic bacteria found in yogurt in a 2017 study and how it affected mice exhibiting symptoms of depression. They supplemented the mice’s diets with live L. reuteri cultures, which is one of the many good bacteria strains found in yogurt. Depression symptoms in mice given L. reuteri were reversed. Based on this observation, the researchers uncovered the relationship between good bacteria and overall mood.
The team analyzed the intestinal bacteria in mice before and after they were subjected to stress. Mice subjected to stress had little to no Lactobacillus strains in their gut – which contributed to them experiencing depressive symptoms. Feeding stressed mice with probiotics-rich food alleviated their depression symptoms and restored their good bacteria levels to normal. “A single strain … is able to influence mood,” researcher and study author Alban Gaultier observed.
The research paper by Gaultier’s team said Lactobacillus levels in the gut inversely affect the levels of a depression-causing compound called kynurenine. Higher amounts of good bacteria lower the amount of kynurenine in the blood, while chronic stress increases it.
Many of the foods we eat contain these beneficial probiotic strains
Probiotics change the game with depression treatments as it eliminates the need for complex drugs and side effects, Gaultier said. He continued: “It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take and fix your health and your mood.”
But you need not have depression to enjoy the health benefits of probiotics in the food you eat! While yogurt contains many beneficial micro-organisms, other foods also contain these bacteria that are important for gut and brain health.
Probiotic bacteria strains are commonly used in the production of milk products such as cheese and yogurt. They can also be found in certain kinds of fermented vegetables, beverages and sourdough bread. Lactobacillus bacteria utilize sugars such as glucose and fructose for their food sources, producing lactic acid as a result. The lactic acid produced by these probiotics allows the synthesis of other important nutrients such as B vitamins.
Fermented vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi owe their acidic taste to lactic acid-producing organisms. Good bacteria are also responsible for fermenting soybeans into different foods like miso and tempeh. You can also have your daily intake of probiotics from beverages such as the milk-based kefir and the tea-based kombucha.
While supplements containing probiotics exist on the market, these are used for treating specific ailments. You should not consume these supplements without guidance from a medical professional.
Greek yogurt with berries, walnuts and honey recipe
Here’s a quick yogurt recipe you can whip up to brighten your mood at any time of the day. The probiotics in yogurt and antioxidants in berries do wonders for your brain by lowering kynurenine and fighting inflammation. Meanwhile, walnuts contain important nutrients to protect your brain from long-term damage.
Ingredients for 1 serving:
- 6 ounces non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup fresh berries
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
- Granola (optional)
- Place yogurt in a dish or bowl.
- Put the berries and chopped nuts on top of the yogurt. You can also include granola as a topping if you have it.
- Drizzle honey afterward.
Whatever way you wish to take it, including probiotics in your diet gives you a happy gut and a happy mind!
Visit Yogurt.news to learn about the benefits of taking probiotics every day.