Increasingly, scientific research is showing that mental and physical fitness is heavily influenced by gut flora. Gut flora is the collection of microorganisms that live inside the digestive tract. In the past, the only role of gut flora was thought to be aiding in the digestion process. However, scientists are now developing a deeper understanding of how the health of gut flora impacts the brain and body function. The evidence is so over-whelming that some researchers are calling gut flora the “second brain.”

Probiotics protect the delicate balance of gut flora.

This balance occurs by encouraging a diverse colony that optimizes health and fitness. In turn, healthy gut flora helps improve fitness levels. Probiotics can make significant changes, including reducing high blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart disease. Probiotics and healthy gut flora can improve a vast array of conditions, including anxiety, depression,  and even some pre-disposed genetic conditions.

There are several sources for probiotics on the market, but not all probiotics are equal.

Some products, including certain yogurt brands, contain additional ingredients, such as sugar, that have been linked to lowered fitness levels. If your goal is to consume more probiotics, it’s best to avoid extra ingredients that can backtrack fitness goals.

The best source of probiotics is from whole, unprocessed and natural foods and supplements. Ideas include fermented foods like sauerkraut, and kimchi. Cultured drinks and beverages like homemade yogurt, kefer and natto are also rich, healthy sources of probiotics.

You can also find unadulterated probiotics supplements in the refrigerated section of natural food stores. They go by names like acidophilus and lactobacillus.

Before taking probiotics, it’s best to check in with a homeopathic doctor or a physician who understands your efforts to gain health and fitness through natural means. Taking probiotics can greatly enhance your health, but altering the gut flora is a serious undertaking that shouldn’t be undertaken without the guidelines of a qualified doctor.