What they do… probiotics
What are they?
We have trillions of bacteria in our gut, both good and bad. Probiotics fall into the good category. They aid digestion and help counteract the negative effects of bad bacteria that make you ill.
What do they do?
Beat the bloat: Numerous studies show that a daily dose of probiotics help ease the bloating associated with IBS and candida.
Lower high cholesterol: After three months on probiotics, patients benefited from an 18 per cent drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol in a study of 60 patients published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Reduce cystitis: A study at Reading university showed that Lactobacillus acidophilus and L plantarum inhibited E.coli, the leading cause of cystitis.
Ease diarrhoea: Whether it’s the result of travellers’ ‘tummy’ or associated with taking antibiotics, probiotics help you recover faster.
Improve immunity: As 70 per cent of our immune system resides in the gut, probiotics ensure a wide variety of good, infection-fighting gut bacteria.
Ease anxiety: Research from McMaster University, Canada, has linked low levels of gut bacteria to anxiety – probiotics may help ease it.
When do I need them?
Whenever you take antibiotics. They also help with IBS and other gut conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
How do I get it?
Eat: certain live yogurts and fermented milk, such as kefir, contain some probiotics, as do some types of cheese. Prebiotics, from foods such as leeks, onions, bran and kale, provide ‘fuel‘ for good bacteria to grow. However, supplementation is key.
Take them: daily, either in yogurt drinks, capsules or powder form. Look for lactobacilii or bifidobacteria in doses of at least 10 million. Experts recommend taking your daily dose before breakfast to ensure the probiotics reach the gut.
Be careful if…
Probiotics are harmless and not contraindicated with any medical treatment.