What are probiotics?

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The new health miracle is called probiotics. They help with health problems and prevent colds or fight them once you have them. They can be found in foods, beverages and supplements. But what exactly are they and do they work? Are they safe for us to be consuming?

 

What are probiotics?

“Pro” meaning promoting and “biotic” meaning life. Probiotics are live microorganisms, yes, they are actually alive, and most of these microorganisms are bacteria. Our digestive system normally has what we would call "good" bacteria and "bad" bacteria. Maintaining the correct balance between these two is necessary for optimal health.

Things like medications, diet, diseases, and your environment can upset that balance. Is your body able to handle this on its own or do you need to start including probiotics in your diet?

Health benefits:

During a delivery through the birth canal, a newborn picks up bacteria from their mother. These good bacteria are not transmitted when a Cesarean section is performed.

Our digestive tract needs a health balance between the good and the bad bacteria, but poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria. If the digestive tract is healthy, it eliminates things that can damage it such as harmful bacteria, toxins and chemicals. It takes thing in that our bodies need like nutrients from water and food and absorbs and helps deliver them to the cells where they are needed.

When you have more bad bacteria than good, the imbalance can be associated with diarrhea, muscle pain and fatigue.

Our immune system protects us against germs, when it does not function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, diseases and infections. Probiotics can help prevent yeast infection, urinary tract infection, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, treating lactose intolerance, skin disorders and prevention of other infections.

Foods that contain probiotics:

Probiotics are found in fermented dairy products, cereal, juice, frozen yoghurt, granola, some candy bars and cookies.

You need to include more fermented dairy products into your diet to get some of the health benefits of probiotics, so a yoghurt a day will keep the doctor away.

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