The human digestive system contains up to 100 trillion bacteria.
The good news is some of these bacteria are actually good for you.
The delicate balance between good and bad bacteria in your digestive tract can be easily upset by stress, diarrhea, anti-biotic treatment or disease. Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that are added to foods to restore the good bacteria in your intestine. They can protect us from harmful bacteria, aid digestion, boost our immune system, prevent and treat diarrhea; and some may even relieve constipation.
Probiotics are added to yogurt, some cheese, some milk, kefir (fermented milk) and some drinkable yogurts. Read the ingredient list to see if probiotics are present. Look for three categories of probiotics:
1. Lactobacillus (L.) – L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. bulgaricus
2. Bifidobacterium – bifidum, B. lactis
3. Streptococcus (S.) – S. thermophilous
Yogurt containers may also state “Live and Active Cultures” or “Live Active Bacteria (LAB)”, which indicates probiotics are present.
Since 70% of the body’s immune system cells are found in the digestive tract, it’s a good place to target when trying to boost our immune system. Although there is no recommended amount for probiotics, probiotics act in the intestine but do not stay in the intestine and so to gain their health benefits, they must be eaten daily.
Power Snack Tips: • Choose yogurt as a snack to load up on calcium and protein along with probiotics.
• When using probiotic cheese eat it cold or at room temperature as heating will kill the probiotics.
Article written by: Diane Britton, Registered Dietitian
For more posts like these, visit the Physical Wellness page.