Nature’s Secret Agents: Probiotics are Good Bacteria
October 08, 2019
You didn’t hear much about them 10 years ago, but today probiotics crowd the pharmacy and grocery store shelves. They’re live bacteria that are good for you.
“Probiotics replenish the good bacteria in your gut, which may aid in digestion,” said Carleigh Golden, MD. They also can help normalize the bacterial balance in your body to fend off bad bacteria or other disease-causing organisms.
“But probiotics are not for everyone,” Dr. Golden said. “They may be beneficial in infectious diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome or in the prevention of vaginal infections such as yeast infections.”
When you’re confronted with the wide selection available at the store, Dr. Golden suggests looking for probiotics that contain Lactobacillus GG and S. boulardii.
Gut Check: Fermented Foods and You
Your digestive tract contains trillions of microorganisms known as gut microbiota. Each person’s microbiota is unique. These bacteria benefit our health by:
- Aiding digestion/nutrient absorption
- Synthesizing vitamins/anti-inflammatory molecules
- Supporting the immune system
- Preventing harmful microbe growth
Fermentation is a food preservation technique dating back to the beginning of civilization. Fermented foods provide health-promoting bacteria similar to those living in our gut.
Common fermented foods include:
- Sour cream
- Fermented vegetables
- Raw apple cider vinegar
Look for the words “live active cultures” on food labels because high heat and pasteurization destroy beneficial bacteria.