There’s been a big buzz building around probiotics and health for a few years now, but probiotics aren’t just the latest millennial health food fad. Rather, probiotics have been consumed by people of diverse cultures all over the world for thousand of years. People of diverse cultures have produced food with live cultures (!) for the benefit of their health.
These foods include kimchi, from Korea, a dish of fermented Chinese cabbage; kefir, a drink produced in the Caucasus Mountains, enjoyed by the residents of Russia and Central Asian countries for thousands of years; and sauerkraut, the German fermented cabbage food that’s most commonly known as something that adds a little sweet and spice to a New York Deli sandwich.
Probiotics are great, whether you consume them from food sources, or from a supplement, like this great probiotic amazon.
Here are 6 cool facts about probiotics and health you’d have never expected:
1. Probiotics are (relatively) heavy
The Probiotics in our body weigh more than our brain (but less than our liver). Roughly three and a half pounds of the weight of a human adult is accounted for by probiotics. Well, these bacteria work hard to keep us healthy, and as a result, are one of our body’s largest organs!
2. For every 1 cell, there’s 10 probiotic bacteria
You better hope your bacteria is in good shape, because they outnumber your cells roughly 10 to one. Luckily, the health of your bacteria can be nurtured by consuming the right foodstuffs to ensure good health.
3. Probiotics Aren’t Only Found in the Gut
It’s a common misconception that probiotics are only found in the gut – but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Probiotics are needed for great health in all areas of the body. Probiotics can be found in the gut, but also in our stomach, intestines, vaginas, rectums, in our joints, under our nails… Point at a bit of your body and probiotics will be there – keeping you healthy!
4. The Appendix is Not, In Fact, Useless
For a long time, the opinion was held that the appendix was an organ we had outgrown – that we had kept it but had evolved beyond its function.
However, new research has shown that the appendix does in fact have a very important function – it acts as a sort of incubation chamber for probiotics. When the body is attacked by virus or infection, the appendix releases probiotics which do their bit in fighting the invading bacteria and help return the body to optimum health!
5. Probiotics Help Your Immune System – And Even Fight Cancer
It’s probably no shock that probiotics help reduce constipation, because of how commonly they are associated with great good health. But the powers probiotics have to fight ailments go way beyond their positive affect on bowel problems.
In a study in Japan, probiotics have been shown to play a crucial role in reducing the risk of development of certain cancers. More than that, various studies have show probiotics have a positive affect on fighting a whole host of viruses, including colds, the flu and even herpes. Some have claimed that as much as 80% of our bodies immune response can be attributed to probiotics.
6. We Get Our First Probiotics During Birth
One of the miracles of probiotics, considering just how important they are for our health, is how we receive them. When we’re in the womb, we have minimal probiotics in our body. However, as we are born, and make our entrance to the world through the vagina, our first gulp of earthly air involves a transference of bacteria from the mother to the child.
We receive life-giving bacteria from our mother’s vagina wall, and these bacteria have life-long repercussions for healthy digestive health and immune function. From then on, in the first months of our lives, we receive more probiotics from breast milk that help lay the foundations for lifelong health. Pretty special!