Here is your best guide to choose best probiotics for women.
It’s the little things, that make a difference. Today, we’ll be talking about how small organisms like bacteria can make a huge impact on your health.
We’ll talk about the benefits first, and then list out best probiotics for women.
So, stick around as we explain these healthy helpers.
Table of Contents
- What Are Probiotics?
- Probiotics and Their Classifications
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Nutrient Absorption
- The Gut-Brain Connection
- Essential Elements of Women’s Health
- Prenatal Care:
- Possible Pregnancy Benefits:
- Improved Fertility
- Vaginal Health
- Prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
- Top Probiotic Foods You Should Eat
- Dark Chocolate
- Miso & Doenjang
- Liquid Probiotics
- Kefir (Kephir)
- Probiotic Tonics
What Are Probiotics?
Understanding how these tiny things work.
First, let’s explain what probiotics are and what they do.
Probiotics are live bacteria cultures that can aid in digestion and overall wellness. Because of this, they are often referred to as ‘good’ bacteria and can be essential in maintaining one’s health.
These helpful little bacteria can be consumed as food and in the form of supplements. A little later, we’ll explore the many probiotic offerings available so that you can decide which is best for you.
First, let’s delve into the different types of probiotics.
Probiotics and Their Classifications
Not all strains are the same.
Many strains of bacteria and yeast are considered to act as probiotics. However, to clarify, we will explain the three main types.
One of the most common probiotics is lactobacillus. You’ll find this in yogurt and many fermented foods like kimchi. This type of probiotic can help with digestive issues and is a staple in many diets.
Strains beneficial to women usually fall under the lactobacillus category.
More on that later…
Another common probiotic, Bifidobacterium is found in some dairy products. Like many probiotics, it is thought to help reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Lastly, is a yeast. It’s common and, like other probiotics, it can help with digestion issues.
If you want to know more about these classifications, we’ve provided a helpful link, here.
But don’t leave yet. We still have more to discuss…
Some Benefits Are Universal
Whether you are a woman or not, probiotics can be great for your health.
We’ve touched on how probiotics are considered to be ‘good’ bacteria, which are helpful to our overall well-being.
These little microorganisms like to reside in our intestines. As accommodations go, it’s probably not what we would choose but it’s where probiotics like to be.
Ever the considerate guests, probiotics work to fight pathogens, harmful bacteria, and even fungal infections. They can defend us from allergies, skin disorders, and urinary infections, just to name a few.
It’s hard to think of a kinder little creature, and yet, we’re hardly aware that they’re there.
Beyond acting as our personal bodyguards, they work well to help us digest our food.
In this way, maintaining healthy levels of probiotics can sooth a range of stomach issues, including:
● Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
● Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Probiotics aren’t just tireless defenders of bodies. They also serve in nutrient absorption. So, not only do they work to repel ‘bad’ bacteria, they also help hang onto essential nutrients like vitamins, fatty acids, and helpful minerals.
They are even needed for the natural production of certain B vitamins, short-chain fatty acids, and folate.
The Gut-Brain Connection
Recent research has focused on what has been termed the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). This is a collection of neurons lodged within the walls of our digestion system. The health of the ENS, or second brain, can affect our mental well-being.
Subscribers to this premise assert that proper maintenance of the digestive tract cannot only improve physical symptoms but also psychological ones, as well.
Meaning probiotics can help improve the well-being of patients with ADHD, depression, autism and many other conditions.
Essential Elements of Women’s Health
With just a few topics we’ve touched on, it’s easy to see how probiotics can be helpful to everyone.
However, we are going to discuss how they are particularly helpful to women.
Starting in utero, mothers want to give their children every chance for a healthy, happy life. Some say probiotics can assist with just that.
Research is being conducted regarding probiotics and their impacts on pregnancy. So, medical opinions on the benefits of probiotics during pregnancy are mixed.
To simplify we’ll break down what some of the perceived benefits might be. For even more information on this subject, please consult with a qualified physician. They will help you determine if probiotics will be helpful in your pregnancy.
Possible Pregnancy Benefits:
As we mentioned earlier, probiotics can help in the absorption of complex B vitamins, sometimes referred to as folate or folic acids. These folates are essential in promoting healthy skin, internal organs, and mental well-being.
Beyond that, they are thought to promote healthy fetal development. Findings from University of Maryland report that pregnant women with higher folate levels have a reduced risk of fetal birth defects and miscarriage.
While these results are encouraging, as always, consult your doctor before taking on a new regimen.
A little later, we’ll discuss probiotic effects on vaginal health in more detail. For now, we’ll just say that their ability to fight off bad bacteria and yeast, can prepare the womb for conception.
There are many probiotic products on the market that claim to promote fertility. It’s difficult to know which is right for you.
Look for probiotics known to reduce vaginal inflammation and harmful yeast colonies. Your doctor or midwife may be able to help select the proper probiotic regimen for you.
It’s a delicate topic to be discussing. However, it is of primary importance in a woman’s health and well-being.
There are two common afflictions that many women will experience in life:
● Yeast Infection
● Bacterial Vaginosis
These are not only common but can infect a woman simultaneously. Now, that’s double the pain and discomfort.
This is where probiotics come to the rescue. The right probiotics cannot only fight these conditions but help to prevent them.
This is where strains of lactobacillus can be a woman’s best friends. Lactobacilli probiotics help maintain pH balance and encourage healthy microorganisms. Which can help fight-off bad bacteria and infections.
Variety in lactobacilli strains seems to be the key. So, drinking acidophilus might not be enough to promote vaginal health.
We’ll go through different probiotic foods and supplements later.
So, stick with us…
Prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
With all this talk of vaginal health, it should be no surprise that urinary tract infections should be a consideration. Yeast and bacterial infections can lead to infections in the urinary tract.
Promoting helpful bacterial flora in your body can provide a barrier to these harmful infections.
They can also help your body fight infection, naturally.
However, if you are experiencing a Urinary Tract Infection, discuss with your doctor before eschewing antibiotic treatments altogether.
In any case, your physician may recommend incorporating probiotics into your treatment of such an infection.
Top Probiotic Foods You Should Eat
Eat your way towards a healthier body, with probiotic foods.
So, we’ve discussed some of the many benefits of probiotics for women’s health. These helpful little cultures can help our digestion, immune systems, and even our reproductive health.
Now, it’s time to talk probiotic sources…
There are several types of foods known to contain helpful probiotics. Fortunately, many of them are delicious and easy to incorporate into our diets.
As if we didn’t have enough reasons to love chocolate!
That’s right. This decadent treat can help to promote good gut health.
Dark chocolate, with a cacao content of 70% or higher, contains both probiotics and prebiotics. Prebiotics act as food to the healthy microorganisms living in your digestive system.
By incorporating small amounts of dark chocolate into your diet, you can reap some of the benefits of probiotics.
If this wasn’t enough, dark chocolate is also thought to improve mood. That happy feeling you get when you eat it isn’t just in your head. So, enjoy this decadent but healthy treat.
This is one of the most popular and prolific probiotics out there. Yogurt couldn’t be made without probiotic bacteria.
The lactic acid produced by these bacterial strains is what makes yogurt so thick and creamy.
However, not all yogurts are created equal. So, when perusing the dairy section, look for yogurt with ‘live’ or ‘active’ bacterial cultures. Most yogurts containing these will have it listed on the label.
Also, avoid yogurts with a lot of added sugar. These can promote harmful bacteria growth and end up doing more harm than good.
Kimchee or Kimchi, has long been a popular source of probiotics in Korea. This spicy side dish accompanies almost every Korean meal, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Varieties of kimchi sometimes seem infinite but the most common type consists of cabbage. Flavored and fermented with an array of ingredients including hot pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, and scallions, it can make a wonderful accompaniment to a meal.
Lactobacilli are the common probiotic bacteria found in kimchi. This in addition to other present vitamins and minerals makes it a great option for those with spicier tastes.
Miso & Doenjang
Miso is a ferment soybean paste, which is common in Japanese cuisine. Deonjang is its Korean counterpart and is made by a similar process.
These helpful pastes can be purchased in just about any Asian grocery store. You may also be able to find them at your local health foods store, or online.
They are easily incorporated into soups and stews. Packed full of probiotics, protein, vitamins, and minerals these types of soybean paste can make a great addition to your diet.
Cucumbers which have been ‘pickled’ in a solution of salt and water can contain natural lactobacillus probiotics. It’s actually this fermenting process in the cucumber’s natural lactic acid which lends pickles that slight, sour taste.
Keep in mind that pickles made with vinegar may lose their natural lactic acids. So, read those ingredients lists with care.
Pickles can also be high in salt content. So, keep this in mind if your doctor has prescribed a low sodium diet.
Like kimchi, sauerkraut is made primarily with cabbage and is fermented naturally. Both the cabbage and natural probiotics help make sauerkraut a powerhouse food.
Some believer that home fermented sauerkraut has more benefits than a bottle of supplements. We’ve linked to some recipes and guides, so you can make your own sauerkraut at home.
Maybe you can’t guarantee that you’ll incorporate these helpful foods into your everyday diet. If that’s the case, a liquid probiotic may be a great way to pick up the slack.
Many companies such as Yakult, Tropicana, and others produce easily purchased liquid probiotics. Gluten-free offerings are available as well, which is great if that is apart of your dietary requirements.
The main thing to look for, as with yogurt, are probiotics without a bunch of added sugar. Liquid probiotics with active cultures will probably be your best bet.
Still, there are some common, liquid probiotics worth mentioning.
While this has been widely consumed, in parts of Europe and Asia, for centuries, it’s somewhat less known in North America.
That being said, it has been gaining popularity in recent years.
Kefir can contain as much as 30 strains of helpful probiotic bacteria. It’s made in a way not dissimilar to yogurt. Despite its creamy similarities, it is still a liquid.
The fermentation involves a combination of yeast, helpful bacteria, and milk. Despite containing dairy some lactose intolerant people are able to consume kefir.
It can be made from the following types of milk:
● Cow’s Milk
● Goat’s Milk
● Rice Milk
● Coconut Milk
● Almond Milk
It’s usually fermented at room temperature and can have a sour taste. Keep in mind, it’s thin consistency doesn’t change that its fat content tends to be higher than yogurt.
Kombucha is another probiotic with a long history. This is technically considered to be a tea. Like some of the others listed it can have a sour, even pungent taste.
You can probably find bottled Kombucha tea in your local grocery store. If not, there are many places where you can order it online.
If you want to get DIY with it, you can also make it at home. The possibilities are almost endless.
This has long been a staple in American southern cuisine. Most fried chicken recipes will require the meat to brined in buttermilk before you even get to the breading phase.
However, despite its wonderful versatility, it will lose some of its health benefits in the cooking process.
Many people wonder what buttermilk is. Some consider it sour milk or milk in which butter has been added.
Neither assumption is correct.
Buttermilk is the leftover liquid from butter production. Please note, this is the only type that contains helpful probiotics.
Unfortunately, the most commonly found buttermilk in the U.S. is cultured buttermilk, which will not provide the same benefits.
So, keep this in mind if you are trying to incorporate buttermilk in your probiotic regimen.
Similar in taste to beer, Kvass has its origins in Russian cuisine. Like other probiotic liquids, it is a fermented beverage.
Since most Kvass is made from a wheat foundation it is not a great gluten-free option. However, Kvass can be produced from fermented beets.
Some companies make flavored varieties. Regardless of flavoring, Kvass can still be an acquired taste.
These are liquid probiotics which are made through natural methods, using traditional foundations. Companies like KeVita make flavored products, using a fermentation of apple-cider vinegar, and kefir or kvass cultures.
These will still have a sour taste but may present an excellent alternative to some of the already mentioned liquid probiotics.
Again, you’ll want to avoid products with a bunch of added sugar.
Maybe you’re uncertain whether you’re getting enough probiotics in your regular diet. Perhaps, you just want more reliable consistency.
In this case, consider a probiotic supplement. These can be found in a variety of pill forms and can be a great way to get a daily dose of helpful bacteria.
Many of these are available with strains of lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. We’ve already discussed these two strengths earlier in this post.
Efficacy of the products will vary based on strains used and dosage. Your doctor should be able to help you find the right one for your needs.
Keep in mind, some may advice to regularly switch between supplements. In the same way that regular exposure to different bacteria can strengthen your immune system. Switching probiotic sources can maintain the nimbleness of your digestive bacteria.
As you can see, little things can make a big difference. Helpful bacteria and yeast can provide many health benefits. And you can easily incorporate these into your regular diet.
Keeping a food diary can be a great place to start. Logging what you eat isn’t just good for calorie counting. Be sure to note how the food makes you feel.
Ask yourself if your digestion has improved? Is your skin clearer? Do you just feel better? This could all be the probiotics at work. Still, tracking the results will help you better hone in on what is working.