Sunday, August 9, 2009

Probiotics: "For Life"


Your key defense against viruses like colds and flu is your immune system -- and 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system. This means that if your gut is overrun with bad bacteria, there’s a good chance your immune system will not be functioning at its best.

"Introducing friendly bacteria into the digestive system improves how we absorb vitamins, nutrients and co-factors, so overall, immunity is boosted," Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, medical director of the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine, told ABC News.

Probiotics have also been found to:
  • Prevent infections after surgery
  • Treat acute and chronic diarrhea
  • Relieve inflammatory bowel disease
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Protect against cancer development and progression
  • Prevent eczema in children
  • Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Help reduce weight gain and maintain ideal body weight
  • Help reduce systemic allergic responses

Many cultures embrace probiotic-rich foods in their daily diets. These include fermented, raw foods that have not been pasteurized, such as:
  • Kefir
  • Kvass
  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Natto (fermented soy)
Unfortunately, in the United States many people exist largely on diets of processed and pasteurized foods, which are virtually devoid of the friendly bacteria we need to flourish.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Great article on gut health and how it impacts your immune system. I have a blog post along this same topic here: You can also get your daily probiotics in a supplement. I'm a big fan of a dairy-free multi-strain probiotic formula like Flora Source. The more we learn about the but immune connection, the better equipped we are to manage our health!
- Anna M