Benefits Of Probiotics

Written by Emily Ledbetter
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Antibiotics have been used to treat infections for decades by killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria. However, the role of probiotics in general health and well-being has garnered much attention in recent years. Probiotics is a Greek word meaning "for life" and the term is generally used to describe the live bacterial cultures that contain lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There is a wide range of health benefits associated with probiotics, which can be taken as oral supplements or added to food.

Good vs. Bad Bacteria

Today's society is accustomed to regarding bacteria as the "enemy" and people often find it difficult to accept that bacteria can be beneficial and improve health. However, not all bacteria are harmful. "Good" bacteria is the body's primary defender against undesirable, disease-causing bacteria. Research shows that eating foods containing live lactic acid bacteria contributes to an improvement in overall health and may also increase longevity.

Probiotics are often used in the treatment of digestive problems associated with stress, infection and antibiotic treatment and are also vital in the support of vaginal and urinary tract health. They may also help to prevent liver damage caused by excessive alcohol intake and reduce hypersensitivity reactions caused by food allergies.

Many experts suggest introducing probiotics into the diet to enhance health and improve the body's microbial balance at any time, not just as a response to illness. Probiotics are available as oral supplements and are also found in common foods including yogurt, cottage cheese, breakfast cereals and milk drinks.

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