Probiotics, or healthy bacteria, have become quite popular these days. And with good reason. The average American has killed off a large percentage of their healthy gut bacteria by the time they reach 30. The result can be a diverse set of symptoms that include gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, skin rashes, and a greater susceptibility to colds and the flu.
Why does this occur? One of the biggest culprits is our diet. Things like fast food, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol can wipe out the good guys. This allows the bad bacteria (mostly yeast) to grow. Antibiotics also have this effect. They not only kill an infection but also the good bacteria in our gut. That's why some women end up with a yeast infection after taking a round of antibiotics.
Yeast is not necessarily a bad thing. Some yeast is good for us and experts agree that about 20% of it should be in our gut at all times. The problem is when yeast takes over our digestive system. This shuts down our natural elimination and immune processes, causing problems.
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms then probiotics may help. They can be consumed naturally in food items such as kefir (liquid yogurt) or kimchi (fermented cabbage). If you opt for yogurt be sure to select the unsweetened option. An over-the-counter pill is another option. If you choose to go that route make sure the pill has a lot of different strains of bacteria. Your doctor is a great resource for selecting a pill.
Remember, a healthy gut makes for a happy body and a fierce immune system.
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