A healthier heartmarekuliasz/Shutterstock
Part of how to have your most heart-healthy day might be to take probiotics, friendly bacteria found in yogurt, fermented foods, aged cheeses, and supplements. In research presented at a recent American Heart Association meeting, LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, levels of people with high cholesterol who took the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri dropped by over 11 percent in nine weeks. One way the bacteria can reduce blood lipids is through an enzyme, bile salt hydrolase, according to Mary Ellen Sanders, PhD, executive science officer of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. “Bile salts are precursors to cholesterol, and gut microbiota can impact bile salt levels,” she says. NYC-based registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, bestselling author and founder of The F-Factor Diet, says bacterial cells also scoop up cholesterol as they grow, leaving less in the blood. “The more bacterial cells that grow and divide, the more cholesterol is required to stabilize their cell membranes, which can contribute to an overall cholesterol-lowering effect,” she says. To get started, make sure you add these probiotic foods to your diet right now.
Less anxietyAndrzej Wilusz/Shutterstock
Good bacteria may be among the most trusted home remedies for natural anxiety relief. People who took supplements containing specific strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium longum supplements for 30 days were less stressed than those who didn’t take them, in a British Journal of Nutrition study. “Many neurotransmitters that regulate mood, like serotonin, are located in the gut,” says Frank Lipman, MD, bestselling author and founder of Be Well and the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. “If your gut is healthy it can help keep anxiety at bay.” The gut is connected directly to the brain via the vagus nerve, Sanders explains, so what goes on in the gut can be directly transmitted to the brain.