News reports and mainstream media reports about pathogens and harmful bacteria almost on a daily basis. It is easy to think that all bacterias are bad for your health. The truth is, there are certain classes of bacteria that are good for you, they are also called probiotic or “for life”. In recent years, the United States have seen the rise of probiotic food products and these have become widely available in supermarkets.
The United States, however, is lagging behind Europe where such food products are so popular that they are sold almost everywhere. Examples of these food products include heart-healthy beverages, soy-based drinks, yogurt, kefir (fermented milk based beverages that contain probiotics), cultured dairy products, juices, salted gherkins, fermented cabbage, and brined olives. Of course there are probiotic food products of popular brand names which you can check online.
Manufacturers of these products claim that it prevents diarrhea. What is more, these food products are often advised to be eaten when a person is prescribed antibiotics which can kill both beneficial bacteria as well as pathogens. With the absence of beneficial bacteria, new pathogens would get a better chance at infecting the person and therefore causing diarrhea and other intestinal problems. These products have especially been beneficial for infant diarrhea that may also give rise to dehydration.
They are also touted to be effective against lactose intolerance, when your body cannot break down the sugar present in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance is present in some degree in almost three quarters of all American adults. Probiotics have been found to aid in the easy break down of milk and other dairies.
Additionally, makers of these food products have said that probiotics can prevent colorectal and other types of cancer, as well as enhancing the immune system. A 1984 study showed that probiotics reduced the presence of carcinogens and enzymes that cause cancer in the intestinal tract.
Improving the body’s digestive tract also means an overall improvement to the human immune system. This is because the human immune system relies on the digestive tract. Such products have also been found to stimulate some parts of the immune system like its antibody functions and cell regeneration, increasing the body’s ability to protect itself when it is under attack.
These products are good for asthmatics and people who suffer from allergies. Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that babies with an asthmatic parent given probiotics during the first six months of life were less prone to develop asthma.
They have also been considered as a way of alleviating the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. This is because probiotics act on the intestinal microflora.
Other claims made by makers of these products include reducing cholesterol levels, preventing infections.
These products may help in some conditions. But, most people still do not know what good bacteria and bad bacteria are present in their bodies. And not all of these food products are created equal. Depending on the probiotics present in the product, they have different effects on your body and your intestinal track. Also be aware that not all products contain the same level of probiotics. These differences in the type of probiotics used and concentration of bacteria makes these products different from each other. So, make sure you are eating the food that’s right for you.