Hannah Ebelthite is a freelance health, fitness and wellbeing writer. With nearly two decades experience in journalism, she has held staff posts on Cosmopolitan, Zest and Healthy magazines, and writes for a wide range of...

Rebalancing your gut with probiotics – or good bacteria – will benefit your digestive health

There are around 10 times as many bacteria in the large intestine as there are cells in our bodies – that’s a lot of bugs when you consider our bodies are made up of more than 10 trillion cells. The role and benefits of probiotics, or good bacteria, are still not entirely understood, but what we do know is that having the right balance of good and bad bacteria is important for your gut.


What probiotics do

They ferment or break down fibre in the bowel to produce nutrients for the cells that line the bowel. This helps keep the bowel lining healthy.
They help keep the correct pH balance (the balance of acidity to alkalinity) in the large intestine, creating an environment that’s beneficial for intestinal cells and maintaining the balance of good and bad bacteria.
They contribute to stool weight, which helps to make them bulkier and easier to pass.
They crowd out any nasty bacteria that enter the digestive tract, preventing them multiplying and making us unwell.

How to get more

Eat more fibre A diet high in dietary fibre promotes the growth of probiotics.
Include foods that are enriched with probiotics, such as yogurt and milk drinks.
Take a probiotic supplement, such as OptiBac. A daily supplement or probiotic yogurt or drink can be especially useful if you’ve recently had a bout of diarrhoea or are taking antibiotics, which can kill off good as well as bad bugs.