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What Are Probiotics?

Believe it or not, the discovery of probiotics is one of the most important and exciting discoveries when it comes to natural healing. It’s not very surprising why in the United States of America alone, people’s spending on probiotic supplements has tripled in 2003 compared back in 1994. However, you may be thinking – What are probiotics? What exactly do they do?

Now there has been some debate…some argument as to what probiotics really are. However, there is one popular definition that came from an organization no less than the WHO (World Health Organization) as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Here’s what they have to say about probiotics – “They (probiotics) are live micro-organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, results to massive health benefits on hosts.”

Just in case you don’t know, micro-organisms are tiny…AND I mean tiny living organisms like bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and others. These are organisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Only with the aid of a microscope will you be able to see them.

One thing to keep in mind – probiotics should not be confused with prebiotics. They do sound identical but prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that accelerate growth as well as activity of healthy and beneficial micro-organisms that can be found in your colon. Here’s the bottom line – both probiotics and prebiotics (which are natural organisms) help greatly in improving your digestive health.

So where can you find these probiotics? They are primarily found on different foods that we eat – especially those that are fermented and cultured milk products. Come to think of it – many of the digestive problems that we are facing nowadays can be resolved by simply consuming foods that are rich in probiotics. Here are some examples of good probiotic sources – yogurt, fermented as well as non fermented milk, juices, soy beverages, and that’s just to name a few.

You may be thinking – what kind of bacteria is probiotics? In a nutshell, they are not different from the bacteria and healt-improving organisms that you can find in your digestive system…especially those that you can find in infants that are well and breast-fed. There are different medical researches and studies revealing that there are 2 most common groups of probiotics – they are Lactobacillus as well as Bifidobacterium. Within each of group of probiotics, there are different species, strains, etc. that have different functions and bring different benefits to the hosts. However, one thing is for sure – probiotics are beneficial to your health!

It’s about time you take a closer look at your diet. If it doesn’t contain anything that is probiotics-rich, believe me, adding yogurt, milk, and other foods that are good sources of probiotics will surely bring truckloads of health benefits (especially for your digestive system) you won’t find anywhere else.

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