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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Pros of Probiotics

With cold and flu season upon us, we all think about vitamin C and possibly zinc when it comes to protection against infection.  We drink OJ and suck on zinc lozenges, but did you think to reach for the yogurt?  Numerous studies have shown probiotics to reduce the rate of upper respiratory infections by up to 12%.  Obviously, we're not talking about a cure for the common cold here, but every little bit helps.  Benefits of probiotics include:
  • Improvement of symptoms in irritable bowel and Crohn's disease
  • Reduction of diarrhea when taking antibiotics
  • Treatment/prevention of yeast infections
  • Protection against upper respiratory infections
So where do we get this multi-tasking microorganisms?  Yogurt, cheese, tempeh, miso, kefir & probiotic supplements - to name a few.  The most readily available sources for most  people will be yogurts with live cultures or supplements.  When choosing a supplement shoot for one that contains multiple strains from different bacteria and contains at least 1-10 billion organisms.  When incorporating probiotics from food sources, remember that the bacteria are killed by heat, so anything cooked will no longer provide the same benefits.

Although the complete story on probiotics is still emerging, they are generally considered safe as they naturally occur in our digestive tracts.  So with many pros and no cons - why not give probiotics a try?  Add a little bacteria to your breakfast with this tasty recipe from Cooking Light Magazine: Cinnamon Crisps with Blackberries and Yogurt

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