There was a time not so long ago when gut health was something that almost nobody thought of. These days, however, we know that gut health is instrumental to our overall health, and as a result, have seen a massive increase in products that market their probiotic benefits. Probiotics can restore the microbiota in your gut, which allows your digestive system to function at a higher level and even improves your sleep while preventing serious issues.
While there are many different forms of probiotics, there are seven core probiotics that we should be looking for in our foods and supplements. Let’s take a look at each of those core probiotics, what they can do for you, and how you can find them.
The first probiotic is Bacillus, which can be found in many different environments including soil and water, but not all Bacillus are made the same. While a good portion of them are beneficial for the human body, some can be harmful. Either way, Bacillus is one of the building blocks of gut health. This probiotic was named by Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg in the 19th century due to its function.
Benefits: Improvement of the immune system and treatment of diarrhea and/or constipation.
Foods With Bacillus: Fermented soybean-based foods, kimchi, kishk, miso, yogurt, kefir
This anaerobic bacteria is one of the more common ones that you’ll see in the digestive system as it helps to break down foods in your body. Without a healthy amount of bifidobacterium in your gut, your body won’t be able to break down carbs and fats as well, leading to potential weight gain and several digestive health issues.
Benefits: Improvement of the immune system and treatment of diarrhea and/or constipation as well as skin conditions like eczema.
Foods With Bifidobacterium: Fermented vegetables including sauerkraut and kimchi, sourdough bread, kefir, milk, yogurt
Enterococcus is another one of those probiotics that can be great for your system, but not all of them are beneficial. Certain strains of Enterococcus can cause infections, which is dangerous for those who deal with auto-immune diseases. These probiotics are also the strongest fighters against antibiotics, which can make them problematic at times.
Benefits: Improvement of the immune system while regulating cell proliferation and increasing your body’s fat-burning capabilities.
Foods With Enterococcus: Fermented sausages and cheese, and a high number of vegetables and fruits.
While Escherichia might not be a familiar name, you’ve certainly heard of it. That’s because this is the official name of E. coli, a bacteria that has been associated with digestive tract infections which can cause discomfort in minor cases and death in its most severe and rare cases. However, your body does need an amount of Escherichia as certain strains are actually incredibly beneficial for gut health.
Benefits: Aids digestion while helping your body to absorb iron, thus preventing fatigue from deficiency while promoting growth in developing children.
Foods With Escherichia: Most ways of obtaining escherichia can be harmful, including undercooked meats and raw milk, so it’s best to obtain escherichia via supplements.
Not to be confused with standard Bacillus, Lactobacillus is instrumental in creating lactic acid for the body due to its fermentative abilities. Lactic acid is converted from sugars, and having the right amount is paramount for overall health, especially in women, as it plays a major role in reproductive health. As a result, Lactobacillus can help prevent infections away from the stomach, showing its versatility.
Benefits: Has a wide range of benefits which includes improved digestion and immune system to go along with a lowering of cholesterol and infections while boosting fat-burning capabilities.
Foods With Lactobacillus: Yogurt, Sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, sourdough bread, tempeh
Also known more commonly as baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces is a fungus (whereas the rest of the probiotics listed are bacteria) that’s single-celled and primarily used in baking but is also a pillar of probiotics in the digestive system. The benefits of Saccharomyces are relatively new knowledge, which is why you see this fungus in supplements more frequently these days.
Benefits: Improvement of the immune system and treatment of diarrhea and/or constipation. Has been found to help with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis while also treating high cholesterol and infection.
Foods With Saccharomyces: Fermented drinks including wine, beer, cider, rum, vodka, etc.
Streptococcus is another probiotic that has helpful strains while also carrying some pathogenic ones that can be harmful. It wasn’t until the 1980s that scientists realized that not all Streptococcus was harmful, which is why you see these beneficial strains in supplements more often thanks to the amazing benefits.
Benefits: Improvement of the immune system and treatment of diarrhea and/or constipation. Also has anti-inflammatory effects that can help in the prevention of certain forms of cancer.
Foods With Streptococcus: Milk, dairy products, lobster, ham, eggs, custard