When you take probiotics every day, this is what happens to your body

One of the biggest trends in healthy eating over the past few years has been a push to load up on probiotics, meaning foods or supplements containing the type of bacteria that promotes a healthy gut. Probiotics are not without their downside, as they can lead to side effects including stomachaches, headaches, and allergic reactions, yet overall they are pretty beneficial.

Probiotic foods themselves are nothing new, it's just that until recently we didn't really know much about the whole "healthy bacteria" thing. Some of the most probiotic of foods – sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and pickles – have been around for centuries, though probiotic supplements (actually, supplements in general) are a much more recent health trend. So why should you be including probiotic foods in your diet? 

The List spoke with Dr. Gregory Bernstein, gastroenterologist and adviser to newly launched digestive health brand FRISKA, and he shared a number of ways in which probiotics can help your body feel better when you make them a regular part of your daily diet.

Taking probiotics every day benefits your body and mind

Bernstein defines probiotics as "beneficial microorganisms that are ingested in food or supplemental form," and explains that these "good bacteria" can promote good health in several different ways. For one thing, he says they can help to boost the immune system. He adds that "not only [can they] thwart ... inflammation, illness or infection, but [help] prevent them as well." He also recommends probiotics for good digestion, saying that they can treat or prevent a range of conditions including diarrhea, bloating, gas, stomach pain, and constipation. Probiotics may also have the power to regulate and maintain blood sugar levels, helping to prevent spikes in blood sugar that Bernstein warns can lead to weight gain, hypertension, and diabetes.

Not only are probiotics good for the body, but they may also be able to support mental health. Bernstein credits these beneficial bacteria with the power to prevent or control both anxiety and depression. For optimal mind and body wellness, he says many of us could benefit from "taking these on a regular basis, and thus keeping a plentiful supply of 'good bacteria' in our intestinal tracts."