Probiotics are microbes that are beneficial for your body and your health. Basically, they are helpful bacteria. Probiotics, or "good bacteria," are needed to protect yourself from the bad bacteria. Most probiotics are likely already in your digestive system, but it can be helpful to take supplements or eat foods high in probiotics to boost the level of probiotics in your body.
The two main systems in the body that probiotics help are the immune system and the digestive system. Probiotics can also be helpful in warding off certain symptoms and conditions, including Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, Pouchitis, and Crohn's Disease. There are about 500 strains of probiotics, each benefiting different areas.
The most obvious way to add probiotics to your diet is supplements. When it comes to supplements, there are 2 types- refrigerated and room-temperature. Refrigerated probiotics will have a longer shelf life than those stored at room-temperature.
If supplements aren't for you, there are food and beverage items you can add to your diet as well. Fermented dairy products, such as kefir and yogurt, are filled with live probiotics. Other products you can buy include sauerkraut, miso and tempeh.
For people suffering from a Clostridium Difficile Infection, probiotics can be quite helpful. The best way to treat this illness is with a fecal transplant. This treatment involves taking a family member's stool and deliver it into the colon of the patient. Doctors are currently working on a synthetic option for this procedure.
If you want to help the probiotics already in your gut, there are certain "Prebiotic" foods you can eat. These foods include asparagus, leeks, shallots, garlic and onions.
It's important to note that probiotics are not FDA regulated. Also, people with a compromised immune system should be cautious about consuming probiotics without first speaking to a medical professional.
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