If you haven't heard it by now there are little creatures known as good bacteria that can keep you healthy!
Pro-biotics are in the news and the sales of yogurt in 2012 bolstered one companies profits a whopping 35%! Yogurt is a delicious way to add pro-biotics to your diet, however, unless you are eating plain yogurt, you are also getting a lot of sugar in those flavored yogurts. A lot of sugar decreases much of the health benefit you may be getting, and though yogurt may be a good source of good bacteria to help you gut, a variety of these friendly little critters is going to give you optimum health benefits.
So what are the benefits you ask?
The roots of the word come from the Greek Pro-or to promote and biotic-meaning life. That says a lot right there.
In our society of over used antibiotics,over the counter drugs and highly processed food, these life promoting bacteria have been diminished causing digestive difficulties , decreased immunities and many more of our modern ailments. Since our gut is the place that absorbs nutrients and also clears out toxins ,keeping the balance of good and bad bacteria is crucial to maintaining good health. Studies have shown some benefits linked to Lactobacillus and treating and/or preventing yeast infections, urinary tract infection, irritable bowel syndrome, antibiotic-related diarrhea, traveler's diarrhea, diarrhea resulting from Clostridium difficile, treating lactose intolerance, skin disorders (fever blisters, eczema, acne, and canker sores), and prevention of respiratory infections. More specifically, results from some of the studies are as follows:
Lactobacillis strain GG was given to children between the ages of 5 and 14 with irritable bowel syndrome over an 8 week period. They had a decrease in frequency and severity of abdominal pain and frequency of stools,In a study of 245 people Lactobacillis decreased the risk of travelers diarrhea by 47%,pro-biotics given twice daily while people were on antibiotic treatment decreased the risk of associated diarrhea.
Milk fortified with Lactobacillis GG was give to children in day care ages 1 to 6, they were shown to get fewer and less sever respiratory infections. These studies from The British Journal of Nutrition [1998, 80(4):S203-7] were specific to Lactobacillis GG which is only one of may strains.
One way to get your pro-biotics is in pill form but there are many delicious foods that offer a variety of good bacteria. The first food that probably comes to most peoples minds is yogurt, but there is also miso, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut and of course a New Yorker's beloved dill pickle. Most societies around the world fermented foods as a way of to preserve foods. Then of course there are beverages like the increasingly popular kombucha, hard ciders, kifers, and meads.
Pro-biotic rich foods have been missing in our modern diet but are beginning to be recognized as a an important addition for our good health.
Click here for information on my up coming class on fermentation
A great source of prepared fermented foods is Beyond Organics