What exactly are probiotics? What health benefits do they offer?
from Michael Picco, M.D.
Your body contains billions of bacteria and other microorganisms. The term "probiotics" refers to dietary supplements or foods that contain beneficial, or "good," bacteria that are similar to those normally found in your body. Although you don't need probiotics to be healthy, these microorganisms may provide some of the same health benefits that the bacteria already existing in your body do — such as assisting with digestion and helping protect against harmful bacteria.
In addition to supplements, probiotics can be found in such foods as yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, and some juices and soy drinks. Dannon's Activia yogurt, for instance, is an example of a probiotic food.
There is a growing public and scientific interest in probiotics. Researchers are studying whether probiotics taken as foods or supplements can help treat or prevent illness. There is encouraging evidence that probiotics may help:
- Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
- Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
- Treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
- Shorten the duration of intestinal infections
- Prevent and treat inflammation following colon surgery (pouchitis)
- Prevent eczema in children ~courtesy of Mayo Clinic~
If you are trying to get probiotics from yogurt be careful of the sugar content. Yogurt even organic ones, contains close to 25-35grams per cup. Your best bet is to go with a capsule for adults and a powder for children. I give my kids theirs in smoothies or their cereal (they have no idea!!) Also if you or your child has to take antibiotics for any reason, you want to supplement probiotics in your diets after the course of antibiotics are finished. Antibiotics kill bad and also good bacteria so be sure to replenish the body with good bacteria. Better yet, take probiotics all the time and reduce you and your children's chances of having to take antibiotics in the first place!!
Can be purchased at any health food store, make sure you purchase ones that are refrigerated and keep refrigerated at home. They are living organisms (sounds gross) so they need to be kept cold. I have greatly benefited from taking these, it helps sooo much with digestive health and many other things.Have a healthy day!