Hand sanitizers and household cleaners beware! We are here to spread the word that not all bacteria are bad. Helpful bacteria may sound counter intuitive but are actually quite incredible. In fact, helpful bacteria are living inside of you right now, and doing all kinds of wonderful things for your body.
What are helpful bacteria?
Our bodies contain colonies of bacteria that may help certain bodily functions, such as digestion, run smoothly. Helpful bacteria in our bodies occur naturally. However, our bacteria composition can be altered over the course of our lives due to a variety of factors. Helpful bacteria also exist outside of our bodies. You may have heard the term “probiotics” before. Probiotics are another great example of potentially helpful bacteria. These living microorganisms (another fancy term for bacteria) are very similar to the bacteria that live inside our bodies. There are various types of probiotics on the market today. Two of the most common strands of probiotics available are called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
What do helpful bacteria do?
Researchers are investigating the use of probiotics to support a variety of health conditions. Preliminary evidence indicates certain strands of probiotics may help with symptoms associated with digestive troubles. Examples of these conditions include diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Other conditions that may benefit from probiotic use include the common cold, allergic disorders like hay fever, and oral health problems – just to name a few! Again, researchers are taking a closer look at the effects of probiotics on these health conditions, so stay tuned for more information.
How can we increase helpful bacteria?
Probiotics are found in a variety of products. Fermented foods are a great source of probiotics. (Kimchi anyone?) Some yogurts and kefir also offer the living bacteria. (Be sure to check the label as some dairy products may not contain the living cultures.) If you’d prefer to drink your probiotics, grab yourself a kombucha. Additionally, there are many great supplement products on the market today that contain specially blended probiotics for your wellness needs.
Please note – always check with your health care provider before adding supplements to your health routine!