Recently, an IBS Life reader went home to visit family and noticed his mother and sister eating Greek yogurt. When asked, both mentioned the benefits of probiotics and the importance of following a healthier lifestyle. His father, however, mentioned that he had no desire to try the yogurt or add probiotics to his diet. In this microscopic view, we see how the gender gap differs when it comes to health.
It’s no secret that men in western societies don’t like to talk about their health. Studies have shown that men are less likely to share details about their gut health. When it comes to their GI issues, only 7% are comfortable discussing them, according to the Gastroenterology Consultant of San Antonio. It’s no surprise then when it comes to eating healthier, men are the weaker sex.
Talk to men about the benefits of adding probiotics to their diet and their eyes will more likely glaze over. That’s why IBS Life editors are appealing to the female readers for help. The following are reasons for why probiotics are beneficial for gut health — men or women. Our goal is by sharing these benefits, our female readers will be able to discuss the information with their counterparts and other male family members about the benefits of probiotics. As always, speak with a doctor or dietitian before adding any probiotics into the meal plan.
What is it and what is the benefit?
Our body is a host for hundreds and thousands of live bacteria. Some of these bacteria can actually treat and prevent certain diseases. Although people think that bacteria are harmful, many are actually helpful. Some can help digest foods, destroy disease-causing cells, and help regulate the gut. They also have metabolic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Probiotics have been proven to help a range of GI diseases such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. The use of probiotics has also been studied for preventing traveler’s diarrhea, infectious diarrhea, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Not everyone has the same amount of bacteria living in their gut. The amount and type of depends on each individual, genetics, the foods they eat, and gender. Because the environment we live in and the foods we eat can throw off the balance of friendly bacteria, most of us will need to ingest foods with probiotics or choose to take supplements containing these beneficial germs.
The different types of probiotics
Probiotics may contain different types of bacteria. The most common — and most researched — are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There are other types of microorganisms in probiotics, but these two are the most commonly found.
Probiotics can also be found in foods. Almost everyone is familiar with Greek yogurt or kefir, which contains high amounts of bacteria beneficial for GI health. In general, fermented foods are loaded with beneficial bacteria. Some include:
Kimchi (a spicy, pickled vegetable with origins from Korea)
Tempeh (Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans)
Miso (fermented Japanese paste used as a seasoning or in soup)
Kombucha (fermented black or green tea)
For probiotics in foods to work its GI magic, it would need to be consumed on a regular basis. Since most people are unlikely to eat or drink large volumes of fermented food daily, the other option is to take them as a supplement.
People ready to try probiotics as supplements, should look for the products that:
Can stay “fresh” in a bottle and on a shelf for at least two years
Are teeming with bacteria (50 billion per serving of probiotics, ideally)
Contain at least 10 forms of probiotic strains, including Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobaterium and Streptococcus thermophikus strains
It’s simple to incorporate probiotics into the diet by starting off with small portion sizes. It’s also simple to just purchase probiotic supplements at the store. Ready to share your probiotic knowledge with male friends? Share this IBS Life article with them!