Contrary to popular belief, not all bacteria are bad. In fact, some forms of bacteria are actually needed by the body, particularly by the intestinal track to maintain proper microbial balance in the digestive system, and thereby contribute to overall good health.
Probiotics are what you call the good bacteria. These are live microorganisms that are naturally occurring in a person's digestive track. It maintains the correct level of microbes in the intestines to prevent bad bacteria from getting in. The only problem is that modern living washes away these good bacteria, leaving more room for bad bacteria to occupy the intestines and cause diseases.
Drinking chlorinated water and taking in some forms of medications are just two ways on how modern lifestyle can take a toll on the good bacteria in your system. When you eat vegetables raised with pesticides and chemicals, this also works against the beneficial microbes in your intestines.
On top of these, most diets don't provide the recommended dosage for probiotics that is needed by the body to maintain proper digestive health. Some nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus improve the bioavailability of probiotics but most people's diet are higher in fats and cholesterol than in these nutrients.
To encourage yourself to take in probiotics to promote good health, here are the specific benefits of good bacteria for your body.
Enhances Digestive Function
Probiotics improve digestive function. It also prevents a host of digestive ailments including irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. It regulates the intestinal transit time to prevent such diseases. In addition, probiotics can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer by reducing the conversion of bile into carcinogens, which are cancer-causing substances.
Benefits People with Lactose Intolerance
Those suffering from lactose intolerance can also benefit from probiotics. The bacterial strain found in yogurt produces lactase enzymes. Because of this, people with lactose intolerance, and even those with intestinal infection, can tolerate yogurt and use this as their source of calcium, since they cannot get this important mineral from milk and other dairy products.
Boosts Immune Function
That's not all, it has also been found that good bacteria work to enhance the immune defense of the body. They do so by regulating lymphocytes and promoting the production of antibodies. Probiotics enhance the cytotoxic T suppressor cells and T helper cells in the immune system. That is why, people who eat yogurt and other food items rich in active culture have stronger immune defense against various diseases.
If you are fond of eating yogurt, you're lucky. You can get most of the probiotics you need from this tasty snack. If not, you can also derive probiotics from food supplements. Just make sure that before you do, you consult your doctor first to determine the correct dosage of intake. Look for a natural supplement that does not contain chemical additives and preservatives. If you have allergies, choose a supplement that is free of soy, wheat, gluten, nuts and lactose.