There was a time in the ancient world when physicians were paid to keep people healthy – not just treat them when they were ill. This pre-emptive attitude is such a great idea when it comes to health. Who really wants to fall ill? Even more, if you do fall ill, there are all those specialists to see, those procedures to suffer through and at the end of it all, one is tired and a lot poorer.

Well, we might not have physicians who think that way any more but we do have products that could well do a lot of that work. Probiotics is the latest buzzword on the health scene and there seems to be a great interest from all the news about it that is popping up all over. It could just be the magic word to open the door to optimal health.

What are Probiotics?

The term literally means ‘for life’ in Greek and it refers to live bacteria. Do you know that you are made up of more bacteria than cells inside you? To most people, bacteria could just be a dirty word, bringing in its wake dirt and disease. However, most of the bacteria in the human system are good bacteria. They are essential to keep you alive and kicking. Out of the many hundreds of kinds of bacteria that live inside of you, many of them are in your gut and when your gut feel is good, you stay well. That’s because the gut is where most of your immune system is located. So when there are enough of good bacteria in there, all’s right with your world. You need the good bacteria to overcome the bad ones. As long as that happy balance remains inside, things are fine.

What Probiotics Do

Your body can well tolerate a small percentage of bad bacteria. The good ones keep them in check and don’t allow them to get out of hand. However, when you fall ill or you have an infection and even when you have had a course of antibiotics, it could upset this balance and there aren’t enough of good bacteria to protect you inside. That’s when you need extra fighting power. You need to repopulate your gut with the good so they can bring your body back to a balanced state.

Where Do You Get Probiotics?

There are various kinds of probiotics – they could be bacterial or of an yeast origin. In the bacterial group, there are different strains you will find within the two groups – Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Today, you get them in a whole range of products. It could be yogurt, yogurt drinks, ice-creams, etc. However, what is vital is that the bacteria count in the product you eat or drink be of the necessary amount. There’s no way this is visible so the best thing to do would be to make sure that you buy products from a well-known manufacturer. Probiotic products need to be stored well – the packaging will give you the instructions.

Is Regular Yogurt Enough?

Regular yogurt does not contain any strains of probiotics. Many people tend to equate probiotics with yogurt but this is a misconception. While yogurt can contain probiotic strains, all yogurts are not probiotic in nature as they could be made from various strains. This is why you need to read that label to ensure that you are getting probiotics in the product you are buying. However, yogurt is a good health food even when it does not contain probiotic strains.

Who Should Take Probiotics?

A course of antibiotics usually means a weak stomach for a while after. This is because the drugs don’t just kill off the bad bacteria, they also do away with the good so all you need to do is to put back the flora that your intestine needs. So probiotics goes great with medication. It just makes you feel much fitter and more active.

Probiotics have also been found very useful in any kind of parasitic or bacterial infection like candida, vaginal and urinary infections, giardiasis, and even conditions like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. For small children, it brings about a lot of relief in allergies of the skin as well as digestive problems that are caused due to food allergies. All kinds of diarrhea benefit a lot with probiotics.

Probiotics and Digestion

More and more people all over the world are resorting to the probiotic after-a-meal trick. There are many who swear that just a serving of probiotics after a heavy meal means the food gets digested quicker and better.

Why Do We Need Probiotics More Today Than Ever?

Probiotics are almost a necessity today because our world has gone so sterile in so many ways. The food we eat is usually pasteurized and subjected to heat treatment and in the process, what we eat very often is dead food. When there are no live organisms, we lay ourselves open to bad bacteria attack inside. Time was when our foods were natural and not processed and we have a lot more immunity. However, with probiotics, we can take our intestines and our health back to a balanced state like it was meant to be in.

Probiotics and Weight Loss

The latest news when it comes to weight loss is that probiotics is a great way to lose weight. A Stanford study seems to indicate that weight gain could be the result of a bacterial infection. When probiotics or the good bacteria populate the digestive system, the bad bacteria starts moving out. This could just be an easy way to losing weight. Just a serving of probiotic yogurt or a probiotic drink a day could well be the way to a better figure.