For lifelong health, it is imperative that your gut health is in good shape. Today's modern diet, full of refined sugar and artificial additives, sure doesn't help the situation. Even if you are an avid exerciser and do everything right, if you're not providing your gut with the appropriate balance of nutrients and bacteria, your entire health can be undermined by disease. So what's the missing piece to the puzzle? It looks like probiotics, also termed “friendly bacteria,” may be the best bet.
The Numerous Ways Probiotics Affect Your Health
You've probably heard a lot about how probiotics help digestion. But probiotics, the bacteria that lives in your gut, affect much more than digestion. In fact, they have far-reaching effects for your health, and there are probably many more benefits to these good bacteria that we have yet to discover. Here's a quick snapshot of 7 ways probiotics affect your health.
1. Soothes IBS
Nothing's worse than enjoying a delicious meal and suffering from painful bloating, gas, and abdominal pain, not to mention the later after effects. Well, it turns out altered gut bacteria, or as scientists like to call them “microbiota,” contributes to several forms of IBS.  Probiotics corrects the balance of gut bacteria you need for proper digestion. A study of 1,793 IBS sufferers found those who regularly consumed probiotics experienced less pain and fewer IBS symptoms than those who didn't supplement with the bacteria.  Bacteria like L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium breve reduce the effects of digestive disorders like IBS, so make sure any probiotic you take contains these.
2. Fights Depression
The food-mood connection is very real, and you've probably experienced this on some occasions. If you're not getting the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and protein, your mood suffers. One study found those who took probiotics responded better to a ‘sad mood' and were able to stay more positive.  Another found those who ate yogurt with live cultures experienced less anxiety, stress, and depression than those who ate conventional yogurts that don't have them.  When buying yogurt, make sure it states it contains live cultures; if it doesn't, don't waste your time.
3. Keeps your Brain Working Right
Your gastrointestinal tract and your brain are directly linked by the vagus nerve. When your gut isn't working right, neither's your brain. You need digestion to provide you essential fatty acids, B vitamins, and other minerals needed to keep your brain working right. Research does show probiotics could support focus, concentration, and even mental health, so be sure to incorporate this crucial supplement if you find you need help in these areas.
Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria convert starches and sugars into usable energy. Studies show this reduces the impact of sugars and starches on your blood glucose levels, liver, and reduces your risk for developing metabolic syndrome. 
5. Contributes to Healthy Skin
Your body has a …read more