Bacteria are usually viewed as disease agents, but the truth is that among the billions of microorganisms that live in our bodies, many of them are actually essential for our health.
When the good outweighs the bad, you’re in good shape. Read on to learn how.
Beware of Antibiotics
Good bacteria, such as the lactobacillus and bifida cultures in yogurt, inhibit growth of yeast and other disease-causing organisms. It’s no wonder that women are the primary consumers of yogurt, whether they realize the true health benefits or not. These types of bacteria even help to lower cholesterol levels.
When bacterial infections occur, the first thing we do is go to the doctor who then prescribes an antibiotic to get rid of it. The problem here is that whenever you take an antibiotic, you kill the good and bad bacteria at the same time.
Consequently, your risk for developing diarrhea, yeast infections and food sensitivity increases. You also open yourself up to other illnesses when your defenses are down. In addition to antibiotics, bacteria are also killed by cortisone, prednisone, birth control pills, antacids and even stress.
Few people realize how much stress or the way they respond to stress can affect their health. When you are battling illness or trying not to get sick, stay as calm and relaxed as possible. The same holds true with bacterial infections. This is why rest is often doctor-prescribed when illness sets in.
Retaining Good Bacteria
Besides avoiding some of the things mentioned above, there is a family of supplements available called probiotics that can help you retain or restore the bacteria you need to recover and stay healthy. These blends of bacteria and rice or milk powder repopulate the bowels with friendly bacteria.
Again, you often see probiotics as an ingredient in certain yogurts. Yogurt alone is already an excellent food for your health, but adding probiotics to it makes it gold, especially for women. Look for yogurts with the word “probiotics” boldly displayed on the outside or in the ingredients list.
In a study at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, women who ate a daily cup of yogurt had fewer vaginal infections than women who didn’t eat yogurt at all. With probiotics added, the effect may have been even more significant. So it is recommended that you eat yogurt regularly in order to keep your intestines disease free and healthy.
Probiotics are especially helpful if you have high cholesterol, are prone to yeast infections, travel often, or are already taking steroids, antibiotics, birth-control pills or antacids. In addition to yogurt, you can get more probiotics at your local health food store. You should go for a brand that contains at least a billion live organisms per gram (don’t get frightened by that number). They’re good for you. Just be sure to check the package’s expiration date to be on the safe side.