Years of antibacterical overuse, in everything from soup to toothpaste, have left our “good” gut bacteria severely compromised. The thriving population of these bacteria helps not only our digestion, but overall immunity as well. By reinforcing these strong gut soldiers, called probiotics, we strengthen from the inside our defenses against bad bugs, yeast, and other intestinal infections.
Many delicious foods have high levels of these beneficial bacteria, including yogurt, miso, and fermented and unfermented milk. Unfortunately, many of these foods are an acquired taste, and if you don’t appreciate the sour tang, you might not get their health benefits.
A recent meta-analysis of 31 randomized, placebo-controlled studies, published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, found the probiotic S. boulardii could be “strongly recommended for the prevention of antibiotic-assoicated diarrhea and traveler’s diarrhea. Plenty of promising research suggests that probiotics can:
- keep harmful pathogens from implanting in the intestinal wall
- improve the function of the mucous lining of the intestinal tract
- help manage symptoms of IBS
- help recover from intestinal, vaginal, urinary tract infections
- help prevent and reduce severity of colds and flu
With the various benefits of probiotics, one should definitely try to incorporate more foods that are high in beneficial bacteria into the diet, or simply spend 5 minutes and picking out a bottle at the store. High-quality probiotics supplements are generally available in the refrigerated sections of your health food store.