Probiotics in your diet

It is in the dairy or freezer sections, Jamie Lee Curtis talks about them on television; probiotics.  What is all the hype, do they really benefit us?

What are probiotics?

According to the World Health Organization, they are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Simply put, they are food supplements that contain “good” bacteria.   They can come in many forms, like yogurt, pills or powders.   According to studies, the various foods and supplements contain one or more of dozens of different probiotic organisms. Each is thought to have its own benefits.

Benefits of probiotics in your diet

  • Help prevent or treat some digestive problems
  • Regulate the immune system
  • May even protect against common respiratory infections

Studies show probiotics

  • Are a proven treatment of childhood and adult infectious diarrhea
  •  That taken before a course of antibiotics may help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea
  • Can be effective for preventing or treating atopic eczema related to cow’s milk allergy
  • Found that the combination of eight probiotic organisms called VSL#3 significantly reduced symptoms of IBS
  • Were more effective than placebos in warding off flare-ups of ulcerative colitis
  • May help ward off childhood illnesses such as ear infections, colds, and infectious diarrhea

Bottom line: Studies have shown that a diet with probiotics does benefit those with digestion issues or other health ailments.  When purchasing foods with probiotics, look for the label to contain a statement that the product contains “live and active cultures.”

Sources: WebMD, MayoClinic