The benefits of probiotics are excellent, but only if you really are taking the best probiotics.
Unfortunately, there's also a lot of hype around the promotion of probiotics, and if I may say so, deceptive advertising.
If you don't know what probiotics are, let me explain. "Probiotics" is a word that comes from the Greek language and literally means "for life."
As weird as it may sound, probiotics are bacteria. That might make you think "yuck," but you need to realize there are both good bacteria and bad bacteria. Probiotics are the good bacteria, and are often called "friendly bacteria."
It's these friendly bacteria that fight off the unfriendly bacteria (the bad guys) and help keep us from getting sick.
It's possible to get some good bacteria through your diet, but with our current modern diet, it's definitely getting harder and harder to do so.
You've probably seen big business promoting yogurt probiotics through TV commercials these days. Technically they're right, but technically they're wrong!
Yes, there are live good bacteria in yogurt when it is fresh and natural.
HOWEVER, most yogurt that you buy in the supermarket has very little live bacteria left in it by the time it reaches your mouth.
Yogurt probiotics are ruined by heat, added sugar, and shelf life. I'm not saying that you shouldn't bother with yogurt for probiotics, I'm just saying choose wisely.
If you want to get the benefits of probiotics, you want to pick organic yogurt, as fresh as possible, and ideally with no sugar added. Keep in mind that sugar feeds bad bacteria, not good bacteria!
Here are some other foods that contain probiotics if you are interested in trying to boost your probiotic diet.
When you need the benefits of probiotics (especially after you've taken
antibiotics!), your best option is to take supplements. I take
probiotic supplements regularly myself and I have learned over the years
that all probiotic supplements are not created equally.
The best probiotics will be a blend of more than one strain of good bacteria and will also include a guarantee of live bacteria until a certain date - NOT "at time of manufacture."
My personal favorite probiotic supplement is AIM's Florafood, but there are several other good brands on the market as well. Just become a label reader and make sure you are getting good quality. There's no point in wasting your money if the little guys are dead by the time they reach your digestive tract.