Probiotics: The Friendly Bacteria

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Probiotics in Yogurt

Probiotics have been dubbed as the “friendly bacteria.”

They boost your immune system and help aid with digestion.

But what exactly are probiotics?

Amy C. Brown, PhD, RD, associate professor in the department of complementary and alternative medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu cites that  “Probiotics are foods that contain live bacteria or other organisms that may promote your health, and they are naturally found in fermented dairy products and other fermented foods or beverages.” Probiotics are also available in a supplement form.

You may be surprised at the number of things that probiotics can be used to help with:

  1. Diarrhea from infection, food poisoning, or antibiotics
  2. Treat urinary tract infections
  3. Prevent or treat yeast infections
  4. Irritable bowel syndrome
  5. Inflammatory bowel disease
  6. Eczema
  7. Reduce the risk of bladder cancer returning
  8. Protect against colon cancer
  9. Improve the immune system

The research on probiotics is relatively new and it is not yet clear if there is a risk in having too much. In addition, many people are not aware of the proper storing of probiotics and that they must be kept refrigerated.

Brown emphasizes that while probiotics are available in a supplement, it is better to get them from your diet.

Here are few of the recommended foods that contain probiotics:

  1. Dairy products with live cultures, such as yogurt or buttermilk
  2. Miso soup, which is made from fermented soybean paste
  3. Poi, fermented taro root paste
  4. Natto, fermented soy beans
  5. Tempeh, caked fermented soybeans
  6. Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage
  7. Kombucha tea, fermented sweet tea brew

TIP:  Although, there is some buzz surrounding possible weight loss and probiotics, the real benefit of taking it should be geared more toward your well-being rather than losing weight.

Source:  “Probiotics and Weight Loss”,

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