As 2020 nears, thoughts often turn to getting healthier for the New Year. If you’re setting fitness goals, something you might not have considered is how probiotics can make a difference – A positive difference. Here’s Trevor McDonald with the details.
Once upon a time, people believed that if you just avoided sugar, ate five servings of fruit and veggies a day, and went for a jog every now and then, you’d stay in shape. And, for some people, that worked.
But more and more often, people have to go further to reach their fitness goals.
With the New Year right around the corner, a lot of people are planning their fitness-related resolutions. And since you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re among them. You might even have a gym picked out or a new, healthier grocery list waiting for you on the other side of December 31st.
But, before you dive into your fitness objectives, you might want to consider adding probiotics to your list. Yes, probiotics.
Whether you get them from delicious fermented foods or from supplements, these microorganisms will help boost all of the other hard work you’re putting in!
How can probiotics help with your fitness goals?
Probiotics are strains of living bacteria. Specifically, they’re the kind that are good for your gut health.
Studies show that if you get the right strain of probiotic, your gut will thank you!
And by “thank you,” I mean function better and hold onto less unwanted material. This could mean that your body sheds fat faster… or it might mean that your body won’t get bloated the way it did without probiotics.
It all depends on the strain and how your body reacts to it.
You might not think adding some probiotics to your health routine will have a huge impact. After all, people a few generations ago didn’t actively seek out probiotics and they were, overall, healthier than we are today. Right?
As it turns out, they might have already had the proper bacteria in their gut. Some studies have found that our current, younger generations have worse genetics than older generations.
It’s why “eat fruits and veg, then take a run” doesn’t seem to work as well for them. And some scientists think that gut health is to blame.
So, while your parents or grandparents might have been able to achieve fitness goals with minor adjustments to their diet and exercise, you might need to go a step further. Probiotics can help rebalance the bacteria in your stomach so it works better than it might otherwise.
This means it processes food better, so you’re less hungry and less bloated. Talk about a win-win for fitness!
Special benefits for certain conditions
If you have certain underlying conditions that affect your fitness goals—like PCOS or IBS—probiotics might pack an extra punch for you. Both of these conditions affect how your body processes food, among other things.
IBS can cause uncomfortable gas and bloating, as well as digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea. And PCOS forces the body to store carbs almost directly as fat because of the way carbs affect insulin levels.
Neither of these reactions makes it easy to lose weight or reach a fitness goal. But the exact things that cause problems may be the reason that probiotics are so helpful.
One study found that people with PCOS who added probiotics to their diet had an easier time losing weight. Another study found that probiotics help your body process food in a way that alleviates many of IBS’s more aggressive symptoms.
Probiotics won’t cure either condition, despite what some people might claim. But when you have a chronic condition, even small changes can have large, overarching impacts.
Beware the hype
Probiotics can be a huge help to your 2020 fitness goals… But that doesn’t mean they’re miracle workers. Unfortunately, not everyone is so willing to admit that.
As you look into probiotics, you’ll find a lot of products that make big promises, or you may come across some common probiotic myths in your research. They’ll say that your unwanted weight will simply melt off, or they’ll tell you that they can cure IBS, diabetes, or even PCOS—just by balancing your gut health.
These would all be fantastic things to achieve, but probiotics just aren’t there yet.
Probiotics can help you lose weight, but the exact reasons why are complicated. And even when probiotics are doing everything they can, they’re still just a tool to use with the other tactics in your arsenal.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting the right probiotics. This could mean eating a variety of fermented foods on a regular basis.
Or, it could mean checking the labels on your supplements to ensure you’re getting a strain with the power to do what you want it to do.
Without a variety of probiotic sources or a careful eye on your supplement labels, you’ll have no idea whether you’re getting a useful strain. And while normal doses of probiotics can’t hurt you, they can cost a pretty penny without doing what you want them to.
At their core, these unverified strains may be little more than modern snake oil, so be careful!
Read about the relationship between probiotics and autism here.
The takeaway on your fitness goals and probiotics
2020 is coming up fast. You’ve still got plenty of time to set your fitness goals—and the means to achieve them—in order.
Exercise and eating right are great first steps, but there are many things you can do to support your goals more fully than before. Adding probiotics to your eating plan is one such thing.
Whether you get your probiotics from whole, fermented foods or supplements doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re getting the right strains, you should see less bloating and more consistent weight loss. This statement is especially true if you suffer from a condition that affects your digestive system, such as IBS or PCOS.
Just remember that, like most things, probiotics are not a miracle cure. They will only be part of a far-reaching fitness plan if you truly want to reach your goals.
But they are a tool that can take you further, faster!
About today’s writer
Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing. He’s written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles for many different companies. In his free time, you can find him running with his dog, playing his guitar or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.