The idea of tossing down a few billion bacteria a day for your health might seem—literally and figuratively—hard to swallow. But a May issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch reports that a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and prevent some illnesses with supplements containing certain kinds of health-promoting bacteria, called probiotics (meaning “for life”).
What Are Probiotics?
Repeatedly demonstrated to aid gastrointestinal health in the human body, acidophilus and other probiotics are key elements of our overall health and well being. This is particularly true when we consider that many of our common-day chronic ailments begin in the digestive system. It is also true when we consider the sheer number of people that suffer from poor gastrointestinal health, a condition which lowers the overall level of good bacteria in the body.
Probiotics are a type of living bacteria that actually benefit your health when taken in the appropriate amounts. This friendly bacteria, located in the gastrointestinal tract, comes in a variety of forms. With more than 400 different bacteria living in the human gastrointestinal tract, the most common forms of intestinal probiotics are L. acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidum.
These bacteria act as balancing agents for non-friendly, pathogenic, gut-bacteria such as Candida or E. coli. When the “good-guys” are not present enough, a number of bacteria-related health problems such as digestive upset, headaches, sluggishness, irritability, cadidiasis (an overgrowth of the bacteria Candida albicans), and even anxiety can ensue.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is, quite possibly, the strongest of our probiotic fighters. Studies show that L. acidophilus actually creates a natural form of antibiotics in the body. This natural antibiotic increases our ability to produce antimicrobial action against the pathogens in the food we eat, the air we breath, and the things we come in contact with. Stress, unhealthy lifestyles, and most importantly, unhealthy acidic diets, destroy our natural amounts of probiotics. In this sense, it is a great idea to add a probiotic supplement to your diet.
The Health Benefits of Probiotics
The following health benefits are associated with the intake of daily doses of probiotics.
- Enhanced immune system response
- Reduces negative affects of taking many types of antibiotics
- Aids in preventing and treating colon inflammation following surgery
- Helps to prevent eczema in youth
- Increased ability to digest food
- Therapeutic for viral respiratory tract infections by enhancing the overall immune system
- Reduces lactose intolerance
- Increases ability to assimilate the nutrients from food
- Alleviates many common digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea and IBS
- Acts as a remedy for bad breath (halitosis)
- Increases ability to synthesize vitamin B
- Increases ability to absorb calcium
- Promotes anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity in the body
Where do I get Probiotics?
Probiotics are natural supplements... they don't require a prescription. You can order them online or find them at natural/health food or grocery stores.
Be sure to avoid probiotic supplements that have sugar or glucose in the ingredient list. Both sugar and glucose actually slow the growth of healthy lactobacilli. We can also get moderate levels of probiotics from a healthy diet rich in cultured organic products like yogurt, goat’s cheese, kefir and buttermilk.
Many common leafy greens are also excellent sources of probiotics. The best greens for increasing probiotics include chlorella, wheat grass, and spirulina. The advantage of getting these disease-fighting bacteria from green sources is that these foods are also extremely high in immune system-stimulating vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They also aid in detoxing the body.
Go out today and pick up some Probiotics, your stomach will thank you! Our family loves Kefir and Good Belly products that can be found at your local grocery store