All about Probiotics
Probiotics are microorganisms naturally present in the digestive tract that aid in digestion and reduce inflammation. The normal human digestive tract contains about several types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus is the best known.
A healthy digestive system is vital to good health. The food that you eat is processed and the nutrients you consume are absorbed in the digestive system. Probiotic supplements may help to balance the gut to promote increased digestive health and improved overall health as a result.
Many people use probiotics to prevent diarrhea and cramping caused by antibiotics. Antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria along with the bacteria that cause illness. A decrease in beneficial bacteria may lead to digestive problems. Taking probiotics may help replace the lost beneficial bacteria. This can help prevent diarrhea.
To obtain more probiotics, look to fermented dairy foods including yogurt, kefir products and aged cheeses, which contain live cultures (for example, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli). Be sure include plenty of non-dairy foods which also have beneficial cultures, including kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts.
Journal of Probiotics and Health
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