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Probiotics: Good Bacteria For Good Health

Pro-biotics for better health

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so many people hesitate to eat food with live bacteria. But probiotics, which are micro-organisms containing good bacteria can help with many health problems and are easily found in everyday food.

Probiotics are responsible for 70% of your immune system and act like a secondary immune system. They are good bacteria that break down the food you eat so you can absorb nutrients better.

"I kind of picture it like an army for you," said Chrystal Reece, vitamin assistant at Natural Grocers in Idaho Falls.

An army of billions of good bacteria called probiotics help the digestive system work better. Reece said most people don't have enough probiotics because of their lifestyle.

People who often feel tired, have stomach aches after eating, have bad breath or constipation could have low levels of probiotics.

"You really want to look for live cultures," said Reece.

Probiotics can be found in the highest dose and purest form as a supplement.

"You're going to look for the higher billion," said Reece.

The higher the number the more good bacteria there is to strengthen your immune system.

Probiotics are also found foods like yogurt, Kefir and even in non-dairy products like sauerkraut, some pickles and even fermented coconut water.

"It's fermented in order to create the cultures, so you're going to see the cultures on the bottom, those are live cultures," said Reece pulling out fermented coconut water from the refrigerator.

Reece said even if people have a healthy diet, adding more foods that contain probiotics will only help strengthen that army of good bacteria and add to  good health.   

Probiotics are now being used by researchers at top universities like Harvard to study whether they can help treat severe gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn's and irritable bowel syndrome.

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