"Probiotics" comes from the Greek "for life". These are microorganisms composed of beneficial or "good" bacteria that replenish the microflora in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract for digestion and immune enhancement. Antibiotics "kill" everything, both good and bad bacteria. That is why it is imperative to replenish with probiotics anytime you've been on antibiotics.
Because of strict food safety regulations, less bacteria (including the good ones) survive the manufacturing process. Many products undergo pasteurization or sterilization, destroying bacteria. Plus: poor diet, stress, age, hidden toxins in food and water, elimination, and of course, the overuse of antibiotics (in prescriptions and food sources), most of us do not have nearly enough of these "good" bacteria to protect ourselves.
Eighty percent (80%) of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. Over 500 different species of bacteria live inside you, consisting of about one trillion bacteria. The ideal balance between these various "good" and other bacteria should be 85% good, 15% "other". So where do we get these friendly bacteria?
The Yogurt Factor
Yogurt is a fermented milk product thought to have originated thousands of years ago by nomadic tribes of Eastern Europe and western Asia, as a means of preserving milk. It is believed that the earliest yogurts were probably spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria living on the goat skin bags carried by nomads. Bulgaria is known to have introduced yogurt to the Greeks. The word "yogurt" is Turkish in origin.
Bacterial fermentation of the milk sugar (lactose) produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and tangy taste. The Russian born biologist and Nobel laureate Dr. Elie Metchnikoff, in the early 1900s, attributed the long lifespan of certain rural populations in Bulgaria and the Russian Steppes with the consumption of lactic acid producing bacteria in yogurt. These mountain peasants not only lived over a hundred years, but, were almost disease free until the day they died.
Benefits of Probiotics
Natural probiotic cultures help strenghthen the immune system, kill harmful bacteria by adjusting the pH or acid content of the digestive tract, and enhance the digestive system by improving digestion and absorption of nutrients from food, as well as, vitamin and mineral supplements.
Not to get too technical but, there are many of these cultures that include the family (genus) and/or the species. For example, lactobacillus is the genus whereas acidophilus is the species. Not all strains provide health benefits. To be effective the yogurt or supplement must contain "live active cultures", usually in the billions. By definition, yogurt must include the starter cultures Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Other additional cultures may include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium bifodum, among others.The yogurt, especially, shoud NOT be pasteurized AFTER the addition of the live cultures. And the yogurt, or supplement, containing the live cultures should be refrigerated.
The only yogurts you should buy are the plain organic kind. Why organic? Organic products are produced without the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones (the milk already has natural growth hormones), or dangerous pesticides. The integrity of the food is maintained during processing without using preservatives or irradation. Why plain? There are no added sugars or flavor enhancers that my interfere with the natural cultures. You can always add fruit or honey to your yogurt if the taste is too tangy. Once you get used to the tang you may enjoy the yogurt as is - plain. Just two heaping tablespoons a day, everyday, is enough to develop a healthy intestinal tract. Whether you go the yogurt or the supplement route, or, combination of both, probiotics can be the ultimate "army" in keeping and protecting your body in good health. Here is to your good health.
Source: http://EzineArticles.com and https://unsplash.com for the awesome photo :)
Annoying but necessary - I'm not a Healthcare Professional so please check with your Healthcare Professional before changing anything concerning your well being.