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Gut Feeling: Probiotics For Immune Health

Probiotics seem to be the "functional food" darling of the moment, but it seems to me these healthful microbes might really deserve their super star status. Probiotics add good bacteria to your intestines, helping to maintain the balance between the good micro-organisms and the bad. New research shows that they might be beneficial to more than just your guts. It seems keeping your intestinal flora balanced is good for the overall health of your immune system. The tiny, yet powerful microbes bolster the immune system helping stimulate the production of more killer cells that attack viral infected cells. Sounds like there is a war being waged in our intestines.

To ensure that the good bacteria have a fighting chance, eat foods like yogurt bearing the live and active cultures label or take a probiotics supplement. Don't just go with your gut feeling (sorry about the pun) when shopping for a probiotics. Read the label and make sure the supplement contains at least one billion (yep, one billion that is not a typo) organisms.


Join The Conversation
CesyBabe CesyBabe 9 years
my poor old digestive system is a bit off at the moment so im taking a probiotic drink called Yakult, but it worries a little bit- its overly sweet and the second ingrediant is sugar- and I'm taking the 'light' one which apparently has 30% percent less sugar than than the original, so i think maybe my moral is watch what else they put in it!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
wackdoodle--it's more like the food industries are ripping people off, not that the "probiotics" are dangerous. The probiotics are grown in a lab, so they are very safe and sterile, but they aren't really necessary. L. casei immunitas is a big one that companies are using, but all Lactobacillus species are "probiotic". And Lactobacillus spp. are what makes yogurt, well, yogurt.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
What I am curious about is where are these probiotics coming from? Are they grown in a lab or naturally occurring in specific foods then harvested and made into a supplement? And whether grown or harvested how is the probiotic processed etc? Standing in Whole Foods looking at yogurts that say "Probiotic" I read the ingredients and see no difference than one not labeled "probiotic". I go to the supplement section and see supplements labeled blanketly as "Probiotics" but providing no info on what exact bacteria it contains, where the bacteria came from, how it was grown or how it was harvested or treated before packaging? Makes me think that these supplements since the industry is not regulated by the FDA or any other government agency maybe ripping people off.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
You don't have to eat DanActive or special "probiotic" yogurt; all yogurt has the right cultures in it to boost your immune system. Just be sure that the brand of yogurt you choose is low in sugar. Also, be sure to eat a lot of fiber...the "good" bacteria in your system thrive on plant matter. If you eat a lot of spinach, greens, fruits, etc., the beneficial bacteria will grow and crowd out any bad ones that may try to get in your system.
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
This is awesome because natural frozen yogurt (which is my favorite thing in the world) has probiotics! YUM!
chicchick chicchick 9 years
I've been wondering about this. My baby is on an antibiotic and the doctor has me giving him a probiotic pill to counteract. I myself don't really care for yogurt so have been wondering if I should take a pill too?
emalove emalove 9 years
Yogurt has been one of my favorite foods since I was a little girl...I'm a Yoplait girl. I don't think a day goes by that I don't eat at least one cup, seriously. MindayH, I'm going to try that Kashi cereal...I've tried most of the varieties they make and love them, but not this one. It sounds like it has a lot of great health benefits.
eroca87 eroca87 9 years
Probiotics are also very crucial to take when you're on antibiotics, to replace the bacteria in your intestines, since antibiotics do not discriminate between the good and bad bacteria. I work in a health food store and we carry alot of other things with probiotics-a yogurt bar called attune...this amazing elixir, kombucha, which is fermented tea-the taste takes getting used to but it is such an energy boost...and kefir too, which is really good.
lrgoldman34 lrgoldman34 9 years
I LOVE LOVE LOVE kefir - it's a traditional Russian drink, like drinking a yogurt smoothie - and has tons of probiotics. Low-fat pomegranate is my favorite. Try it straight or in a parfait with crunchy ceral and dried fruit. Yummm...
MindayH MindayH 9 years
I am sure that eating yogurt for probiotics is this the best way to go...but I also eat Kashi Vive, which says it is a "Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal" The reason that I started eating it is because it is "Toasted Graham and Vanilla" which sounded delish. I figure it is 12 grams of fiber per serving and 4 grams of protein, so the probiotic aspect is just a great added bonus.
kia kia 9 years
I could not afford to get sick this winter and have taken probiotic supplements as part of my regiment with rest, exercise, and good eats. My guy was taking them last year in preparation for a sinus surgery since he couldn't afford to be sick for that.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
what about those like Dan Active probiotic drinks? Are those good? I love yogurt
bushra bushra 9 years
not keen on lots of yogurt, but after my c-section i was on antibiotics for a few weeks and really felt the awful side effects after. i take Quest Acidophilus Plus ever since and feel great.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I love yogurt :)
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I can live with eating lots of yogurt :)
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