The brain is the most powerful mechanism in the body. It’s in charge of a person’s thoughts, movements, and sensations. It also determines a person’s reactions to different situations in real-time. Aside from all this, the brain also stores a huge amount of information. All the concepts, text, images, and more than a person learns, and experiences get stored in the brain. Finally, the brain is also in charge of regulating every complex function in the body, whether conscious or unconscious. This means that whether a person is asleep or awake, the brain continues to function.
This also means that a person’s brain needs a lot of energy to keep on functioning properly. Even though the brain only makes up for 2% of the whole body’s weight, it needs to consume about 20% of a person’s daily caloric intake. Half of the energy it consumes is used to send neurological signals throughout the entire body. It’s trulyan amazing part of the body!
Everyone knows that whatever a person eats affects the body. But what a lot of people may not know is that whatever a person puts into his mouth also affects the brain greatly. This means that the food a person eats may affect his mood, his ability to solve problems and handle stress, and even his memory.
The brain also happens to be a picky eater. It demands a good supply of glucose to keep it working. Unlike other cells, neurons don’t store sugar from glucose. This is because the brain is constantly functioning and so it’s constantly hungry. A lot of people are also unaware that probiotics are very beneficial for the brain. It’s important for a person to learn about probiotics to know how they help the brain and all its functions, along with the memory.
So, What are Probiotics?
The term probiotic is quite recent. It was coined in the year 1965, and it came from 2 different terms: “pro,” meaning for and “biotic,” meaning life. The former is Latin, and the latter is Greek. Probiotics are live microorganisms which are beneficial to the health of a person when consumed in the right amounts.
A person can get probiotics from specific foods or supplements. The intestines in the body contain trillions of microbes of varying species. These microbes are known as microbiota, microbiome, and intestinal flora. If a person’s gut is healthy, it should contain about 85% of “good bacteria” and only 15% of “bad bacteria.” Having a good supply of probiotics in the body helps keep the ratio balanced, therefore keeping the body healthy.
The gut-brain connection. Some people say that the stomach has a mind of its own. This is true. Your gut or stomach is home to the body’s second brain. It contains the enteric nervous system or ENS. Each person has the important task to let the second brain know that everything is okay with the body. When the ENS knows that everything is alright, it relays the message to the main brain. This is known as the gut-brain connection.
Therefore, gut bacteria have a great impact on a person’s brain and memory. Studies have shown that the presence of good bacteria in the gut enhances the different functions of the brain. These include mood and memory too. Studies have shown that the probiotics or the good bacteria are good for a person’s memory.
In fact, probiotics aid in boosting the memory along with all the other learning processes of the brain. They enhance a person’s mental state too. People who don’t follow a healthy diet will benefit greatly from consuming foods with probiotics. Stress is a big factor which weakens the memory and all the other brain functions. Aside from stress, there are also infections and other brain-related diseases. But when a person regularly consumes probiotics, the body calms down and can defend itself better. This then allows the brain to remember better and operate normally.
Probiotics support neurons’ growth and development. Elements which are produced by probiotics in the gut activate the release of growth factors from the brain. These growth factors are proteins which encourage the formation and the survival of cells in the nervous system. Research suggests that even before a person is born, transmission of good bacteria already happens. It occurs between the mother and the child. This happens through the amniotic fluid as well as the blood in the umbilical cord. The process stimulates the early development of nervous tissue.
After a person is born, he then gets the probiotics and all other nutrients externally. All these components continue to aid in the growth and development of the body and all its systems. The nervous system keeps on developing as a person grows. And when a person has a good supply of probiotics, all the body systems improve, including the brain and the memory.
Probiotics help protect the brain. Probiotics can affect the functions of the nervous system, especially the brain. Consume a lot of these, and it may help protect the brain along with the memory. Good bacteria in the gut are responsible for helping in the digestion of food as well as the productions of essential vitamins like B12. This means that they have something to do with the body’s immune system too.
Research suggests that the good bacteria promote a good connection between the guts and the brain. Aside from this, some bacteria are also able to produce neurotransmitters. These are important as they are the means for which the cells of the brain communicate with each other.
The probiotics Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are capable of producing SCFAs or short-chain fatty acids. These influence behavior and brain functions directly. These fatty acids are also neuroprotective. This means that they protect the brain and slow down memory decline related to age. This is just one example of probiotics which affect the brain directly. There are many others which are proven to protect the brain from deterioration.
Probiotics enhance different brain functions. Because probiotics are beneficial, scientists keep on studying them. In such studies, scientists have found out that supplements and foods which contain probiotics can significantly enhance the different functions of the brain. These include concentration, thinking, comprehension, decision-making, and even memory.
Probiotics are known as “friendly bacteria.” They are beneficial to the brain and different systems and processes of the body. They strengthen the immune system, help improve skin problems, and heal gum disease, and allergies, among others. There are thousands of kinds of probiotics, and they have different benefits to the body. Some probiotics are already found in the body’s digestive tract and adding to them can boost one’s health.
Some probiotics may have a good effect on those who suffered brain trauma. When a person has suffered a traumatic brain injury, he will most likely have to spend a lot of time in the hospital. In some cases, food and nutrients would have to be administered through a tube. This is especially true if the person is in a coma.
Studies have shown that adding specific probiotics into the food and nutrition given to such patients can help lower the risk of infections to the brain. They help in the healing process to as they are beneficial to the immune system.
Probiotics stimulate learning as well as memory. Certain types of probiotics produce chemicals which activate sympathetic responses in the different parts of the brain. This effect happens in the areas of the brain which are involved in making decisions, planning, learning, and even memory. This means that bacterial metabolites are essential for initiating different biochemical processes which are involved in learning and memory.
Probiotics can help improve mental health issues. More and more studies show that there is a strong link between gut health and mental health. So, people who take probiotic supplements or foods which contain probiotics can improve mental health issues. Such issues are depression, anxiety, OCD, and memory.
The Best Probiotic Food Sources
To be able to keep the right number of good bacteria in the body, one must consume a lot of foods which are rich in probiotics. And to consume these foods, one must be aware of them. Here are some of the best probiotic food sources:
Cottage Cheese. Although most cottage cheeses contain probiotics, not all of them do. The varieties which contain the good bacteria are packed with muscle-building proteins which are slow to digest. These cottage cheeses can enhance the body’s ability to absorb probiotics. However, people also need to regulate their consumption of cottage cheese. Some varieties contain a lot of sodium too. Overeating may cause bloating and even hypertension.
Dark Chocolate. Dark chocolate is a great source of probiotics and prebiotics. We’ve already discussed that probiotics are highly beneficial to the body, brain, and all its functions. Prebiotics, on the other hand, is a great source of food for the microbes found in the gut. But why does this food contain probiotics? Well, chocolate is a type of fermented food. And usually, the fermented food contains a lot of live microorganisms.
Green Peas. Studies have shown that green peas contain a very powerful probiotic known as Leuconostoc mesenteroides. This type of probiotic is frequently present in foods which are fermented under low-temperature conditions. People who want to consume green peas should go for the fresh kind instead of the processed or canned variety.
Kimchi. Kimchi is a spicy Korean dish that’s fermented. It contains a lot of different ingredients, but the main one is cabbage. It also contains a variety of seasonings which are used to give the distinct flavor. Kimchi also contains probiotics which are beneficial to the health. Aside from that, it also contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy food option.
Miso. Miso is a common seasoning from Japan. It’s usually made from fermented soybeans mixed with salt and koji, which is a type of fungus. Miso contains a lot of protein and fiber. It also contains healthy probiotics. Eating miso is highly beneficial so people should start including it in their diets.
Pickles. Pickles or gherkins are cucumbers which have been fermented in water and salt. They undergo a process which gives them their distinct sour taste. Pickles contain a lot of probiotic bacteria which gives a lot of health benefits to the body. They are also a great source of vitamin K and don’t contain a lot of calories.
Sauerkraut. This is another type of fermented cabbage like Kimchi. With sauerkraut, the cabbage is finely shredded before fermenting. It’s a very traditional type of food which also contains lots of probiotics. Sauerkraut can be eaten as a side dish or as a filling in sandwiches. This food is also rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients. Although a lot of people don’t enjoy the taste, it’s a healthy type of food.
Tempeh. Tempeh is basically a product made from fermenting soybeans. It usually comes in the form of a firm patty and tastes like mushrooms. This food originated from Indonesia but is now being eaten around the world. Tempeh is high in proteins and probiotics too. It also contains vitamin B12, which isn’t usually found in plant-based food sources.
Traditional Buttermilk. This is a byproduct of making butter. Traditional buttermilk is the liquid leftover from the butter-making process, and it contains probiotics. This is usually consumed in some Asian countries and is low in calories and fat. It also contains different vitamins and minerals. However, don’t confuse this with cultured buttermilk as it doesn’t contain any probiotics.
Yogurt. Finally, there’s yogurt. This food is one of the best sources of probiotics out there. It’s made from milk which has been fermented by bifidobacterial and lactic acid, which are both “good bacteria.” Yogurt has a lot of health benefits because of what it contains. It’s beneficial to children and adults as well. It’s also a great alternative for people who have lactose intolerance.