What Are Probiotics And Their Benefits For Our Health








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© 2015 Shanna Lea

Probiotics are the live yeasts and bacteria that are good microorganisms and reside in the digestive tract. The probiotics in dietary supplements and foods are similar to the probiotics that occur naturally in the stomach. Everyone can benefit by adding probiotics to their daily meals, by eating more fermented foods or taking probiotic supplements. These probiotics can improve digestive health by:

  • Reducing the bad bacteria in the stomach that can lead to inflammation or infection
  • Replace good bacteria that has been removed by antibiotic use
  • Balance the bacteria in the digestive tract to ensure the body is functioning properly

The probiotics that naturally occur in the stomach include a yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii and bacteria that include the Bifobacterium and Lactobacillus microorganism families. Yogurt contains the probiotic known as Lactobacillus acidophilus.

Foods That Contain Probiotics

Foods that contain probiotics include:

  • Buttermilk
  • Fermented milk
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kefir
  • Soft cheeses
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Pickles
  • Yogurt

Where You Can Buy Probiotics

You can also buy probiotic supplements in the form of capsules, powders, tablets and liquid forms—each of which contains a specific kind of probiotic. Probiotic supplements can be found online and in health foods stores.

An Overview Of The Probiotic Acidophilus

Acidophilus, also known as lactic acid bacteria or scientifically named L. acidophilus, is a bacterium that is regularly found in normal digestive tract functioning. It is produced primarily in the small intestine.

The germ is included in a variety of dairy products, especially yogurt. Acidophilus and related bacteria are considered probiotic as they maintain the balance of bacteria in the intestine and therefore are promoted for maintaining the health of the bowels.

The Health Advantages Of Acidophilus Use

Acidophilus is recommended for treating or preventing vaginal infections, treating diarrhea and lowering cholesterol. The bacterium also aids in lactose digestion in people who are lactose-sensitive. It prevents the growth of yeast and germs that can cause cancer.

A Reduction In Cholesterol and Cancer

The American Cancer Society states that some supporters of acidophilus believe use of the bacterium may reduce the risk of cancer, particularly cancer of the colon. The bacterium is known to neutralize carcinogens in the diet, thereby killing tumor cells.

Others claim that the probiotic boosts immune system health by manufacturing vitamin K and the B vitamins. The bacterium also reduces bad cholesterol, which some proponents state is needed for tumor cells to grow.

Recommended Dosage

When taking a probiotic like acidophilus, the dosage refers to the amount of live bacteria. Experts recommend that a dose consist of one billion to 15 billion bacteria although some insist that a larger amount is better. The supplement should be taken one to three times per day in capsule, liquid, tablet, or powder form, or through cultured foods that you can make at home.

When the Probiotic Was First Discovered

During the late 19th century, interest in the probiotic acidophilus began and was credited for adding longer life to people living in the Balkans, who regularly drank fermented milk.

Later, it was discovered that the milk was rich in L. acidophilus. Since that discovery, the probiotic has been a topic of interest with respect to digestive health.

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Probiotic Treatments

  • Probiotic supplementation is useful in preventing inflammatory problems, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and ulcers that are caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium
  • Probiotics are also used in treating such digestive maladies as irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, spastic colon, and constipation
  • The bacterium is known to help reduce the recurrence of colorectal and bladder cancer
  • According to some research studies, yogurt is beneficial in preventing diarrhea, which is a common side effect of antibiotic use
  • Vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections can be prevented by use of probiotics too
  • Besides digestive health, skin conditions, such as eczema, can be treated using probiotics
  • They are also indicated for use in helping alleviate respiratory infections, asthma, allergies, joint stiffness, and insomnia

Implementing Probiotics Into Your Daily Diet

Probiotics are clearly the best way to aid in good health, by re-establishing the good bacteria in your digestive system. Eating fermented foods is still the best way to establish probiotics back in your body, and you get the added nutrients from the foods. But if those are unavailable, then supplements that contain several strains of probiotics are readily available online.

Yogurt helps regulate the digestive system and is easy to make. Click here to read my article about yogurt. It is versatile and can be eaten in a variety of ways. Try it for breakfast with berries and a sprinkle of flaxseeds, or a snack and dessert as a smoothie with fruit or frozen like ice cream.

Recommened Products:

Acidophilus

Pro15 Probiotics

Related posts you may find of interest:

How to Improve Digestion with Fermented Foods and Supplements

6 Fermented Myths—Busted

Increase Your Probiotic Intake by Eating Fermented Foods

The Probiotic Benefits of Fermented Foods

Add Yogurt to Your Diet

Cultured Nutrition—The Magic of Fermented Foods

 



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