women eating yogurt

By Bob Condor

Probiotics or friendly bacteria are most known for fighting the good fight against unhealthy bacteria in your gut. Most of us now understand that some bacteria can be positive for health, and that eating yogurt with its live active cultures is a good way to increase the friendly bacteria in our guts.

It’s also one of the reasons why fewer of us are willing to take antibiotics without a very good reason. Highly popular antibiotics kill all bacteria, bad and good. Your gut tends to be worse for it.

So more of us are willing to add yogurt to our diets and maybe even kifer, the live culture drink. Don’t forget sauerkraut as an excellent source of friendly bacteria. Some people, typically persuaded by natural health practitioners, have added probiotic supplements to their daily intake. Good idea, by the way, but be sure to seek advice from practitioners you trust about the best brands.

What’s exciting about probiotics, circa 2008, is new studies this year have been pointing to probiotics as having anti-inflammatory properties. One study found that probiotics reduce C-reactive protein levels, which are high in individuals with autoimmune disorders (basically inflammatory diseases). C-reactive protein is increasingly gaining momentum as an important risk marker for coronary heart disease.

Moreover, researchers in Britain showed that long-distance runners who add probiotics to their regimen will incur fewer infections during intense training periods. In fact, the runners taking pro

biotic supplements were able to recover from colds, flus and other infections in half the time of runners not doing so. This finding suggests that probiotics can boost the immune system.

(You can get FREE Probiotics when you try the Ultimate Colon Cleanse through this link: www.DoAColonCleanse.com – see page for details)

It all adds up to making sure you are getting enough good-guy bacteria in your food and supplements. Natural health practitioners, including colon specialists, are steadfast in explaining that we can lose good bacteria as we grow older and/or take too many prescription drugs that destroy the bacterial balance in the gut. A proper balance is roughly 80 to 85 percent good or friendly bacteria to ward off the remaining bad-guy bacteria that are virtually unavoidable in today’s world.

There’s more. Probiotics also help you digest carbohydrates more efficiently (and less, well, turbulently). Plus, probiotics will lead the body to produce more B vitamins, which fight off stress and enhance memory.

All pretty friendly stuff, bacteria or not.

“Bob Condor is the Daily Health Blogger for Barton Publishing . He is also the Living Well columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer . He covers natural health and quality of life issues and writes regularly for national magazines, including Life, Esquire, Parade, Self, and Outside. He is a former syndicated health columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of six books, including “The Good Mood Diet” and “Your Prostate Cancer Survivors' Guide.” He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two 11-year-old kids.