Health Benefits of Probiotics
Did you know that in our viscera live billions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, hundreds of species and scores of varieties, some of them harmful, others not so much? Due to their striving for “supremacy” we fall victims to upsetting symptoms. Is there a solution to this situation? The recourse to probiotics.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria or fungi) similar to those we normally find in our digestive system. Scientists call them natural antibiotics because they help fight against the harmful bacteria. What we need to know is that probiotics are compounds with protective functions which stop the process of toxic bacteria spreading by producing substances like lactic acid or hydrogen peroxide. All over the world, more than one million people die annually because of food poisoning and this medical condition particularly affects those with a weakened immune system. In order to protect ourselves from getting digestive tract related illnesses, we should include in our diet food that is rich in probiotics.
What categories of food contain probiotics?
Because they are not all the same, scientists have classified probiotics in several categories, the most widely spread being Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each category is divided into species, and each species has its varieties.
For example, Bifidobacterium Bifidus, one of the best-known probiotics, is a bacteria, while Saccharomyces Boulardii is less known and is, in fact, a fungus. Usually, they are found in yogurt, cow cheese; vegetables pickled without vinegar, grape wine, milk, soy products and are also available in the form of food supplements.
When do we need probiotics?
The doctors recommend probiotics be part of our daily diet but also in special cases such as indigestion, flatulence, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Moreover, they should also be administered during and after antibiotic treatment as they help restore balance to our digestive system and recreate a healthy intestinal flora.
People with lactose intolerance may also benefit from the advantages of these little creatures. Another medical affliction which can be treated with probiotics is the Helicobacter Pylori infection, a bacteria that may cause the ulcer and chronical inflammation of the stomach’s membrane. All these situations can find their solutions in a diet full of probiotics.
Experts say there are several other afflictions unrelated to the digestive system such as vaginal and urinary tract infections, periodontitis and some skin infections which respond well to probiotic treatment.
Probiotics Side Effects
Consumed in large quantities, probiotics can produce side effects such as boating, flatulence and rarely they can cause infections which require antibiotic treatment, they can overburden the immune system or interpose the metabolism. Do not take probiotics in large quantities without seeking medical advice!