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Probiotics: The Secret To Getting a Gorgeous Gut

Five ways probiotics keep your digestive system in tip-top shape.

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Probiotics: The Secret To Getting a Gorgeous Gut

It's not often you find the words "gorgeous" and "gut" in the same sentence—after all, the picture that pops into an individual's mind when "gut" is said is typically a round belly. But I'm talking about your actual gut—the backbone of your digestive system.

MORE: Eat to Beat Abdominal Distress

Keep it in tip-top shape and you can look and feel your best. On the other hand, if your gut is not working right, it can be pretty ugly. A gorgeous gut has a lot to do with your diet. For example, getting enough fiber and water ensures that bulk can move through and eventually out of your system. Too little fiber can cause waste to hang out in the large intestine too long, which can lead to cramping, bloating and a general feeling of discomfort. If you have celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, eliminating products with wheat, rye and barley are essential to keep your gut healthy as well. And there is something else—something that has been around for ages but only now is being recognized as the gut healer that it is: probiotics. 

Probiotics aid in the growth of  “good” bacteria that live and grow in our guts. What exactly does that mean? Imagine probiotics as a superhero (complete with a "P" on the chest and a cape) that enters your body through your mouth and dives down into your gut. While there, he attacks harmful bacteria that live deep in your body. This, in turn, contributes to a healthier and more balanced and beautiful digestive system. But that's just the beginning of what probiotics can do for you.

Here are four more reasons why adding probiotics to your diet can get you the gorgeous gut you're looking for:

MORE: Could Probiotics Cure Acne?

Probiotics may help reduce the effects of stress on your body
A March 2013 study found that probiotics actually reversed the negative effects that stress can cause in individuals with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Inflammasome is a compound needed to maintain normal gut activity. When patients with IBS were stressed, this compound was suppressed, which consequently increased the risk of aggravating IBS symptoms. When probiotics were added to the diet, however, the effects on inflammasome were reversed.

Probiotics may also help in the fight against obesity
A 2009 study found that when pregnant women took probiotics during pregnancy, they had lower levels of body fat and lower levels of central obesity one year after childbirth. The "gut" you were envisioning earlier in this column? That is central obesity.

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