Home Nutrition What are Probiotics?

What are Probiotics?

You may be surprised to find out that they are bacteria, which are associated with germs and sickness in our culture. So why are probiotics promoted as a healthy addition to our diet and called good bacteria?

There are actually more than 400 types of bacteria living in the human digestive system. Most are beneficial; they help the digestive system to do its job. Two examples, acidophilus and bifidobacterium, also help prevent disease by making an unfavorable environment for less desirable bacteria.

Experts explain that many of the health problems in our modern culture have come from the changes to our diet brought about by modern methods of processing and storing foods. Just 60 years ago we were eating fresh foods that we grew in our own gardens.

The good bacteria in food are now being destroyed by high heat and additives in the commercial manufacturing and packaging process. When we take an antibiotic drugs for a throat infection, the healthy bacteria in our body is destroyed along with the bad bacteria.

When healthy bacteria are missing in our body, we can experience digestive problems like constipation and the associated pain.

Doctors are now convinced that this can result in irritable bowel syndrome and even crone’s disease. Researchers are also finding that the reduction of the healthy bacteria in our body is weakening our immune systems.

The good news is that probiotics can be found in many foods and manufacturers are now protecting the natural “flora” or live bacteria in their food products and making supplements that have good bacteria.

There is a heavily advertised yogurt with probiotics that has become very popular. Yogurt or other fermented foods have lactobacillus, most common probiotic.

This can help with diarrhea and the digestive problems that some people experience with lactose, the sugar in milk. Other dairy products contain the bofidobacterium, which helps the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. These bacteria help move food through your body.

Although probiotics are considered safe, they are not regulated by the FDA because they are considered foods. As a result, the manufacturers do not have to provide safety information to the FDA.

Your doctor can advise you with the correct information about how much you need to restore your body to the proper balance.

These foods are worth checking out. Researchers now believe that adding the proper amounts of probiotic foods to your diet will help with other health conditions such as skin conditions, help prevent cancer and reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses and help maintain a healthy weight.

It turns out that yogurt really IS good for you, just shop for the ones that have probiotics!

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