The benefits of probiotics have been been proven for hundreds of years.
Perhaps not the scientific proof that we demand today but fermented foods have had a reputation for enhancing health since Neolithic times.
And it is within that diverse array of fermented foods that we ate in the past - foods that our grandparents ate - foods that many of the world's less developed nations still eat - that probiotics are found.
Yogurt, perhaps the best know of fermented foods, was mentioned in the bible and Elie Metchnikoff, an early Russian biologist who devoted his studies to the human immune system, believed that the secret of longevity rested in the regular intake of fermented food.
And as Metchnikoff lived into his seventies in a time when the average age of death was less than fifty years it is clear that his daily drink of soured milk, brimming with healthful lactc acid bacteria, did him nothing but good.
It is from this vast army of lactic acid bacteria found in foods preserved through the traditional means of fementation that probiotics come.
And whilst probiotics are the "darlings" of the scientific world with their studies and endorsements, any lactic acid bacteria will do you good.
So be assured you do NOT need to take expensive supplements. Most people can consume all the probiotics and lactic acid bacteria they need for good health by eating a diet rich in fermented foods.
You can see from the pic that probiotics, in general, work in three different ways.
Of course, it isn't quite as simple as that. Many of the effects overlap. Probiotics and lactic acid bacteria work in multiple ways to enhance health.
So where do you start if you want to naturally increase your exposure to these health promoting "bugs" and the benefits of probiotics?
Over the course of evolution the human body has evolved to live in harmony with these microorganisms but in the modern world, sadly, they are lacking in many of the foods we eat as we have moved away from the fermented foods and cultured milk products that our ancestors ate.
The consequence of this is that many of us suffer digestive and immune system health ailments that were not so prevalent in the times of our grandparents.
Life within your body is a complex mix of microorganisms, and too many of the disease-causing microbes, yeasts, fungi, and parasites can dramatically upset that delicate balance. But that can be corrected with the right foods and supplements.
Here, you'll find results from the latest research material and the names of the probiotic strains that have been found helpful - or not - for specific problems.
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