Many kinds of bacteria, or very small organisms, live in the human body. They are found all over: on our skin, in our mouths, in our guts and in our blood.
How do we make sure that our bodies have lots of good bacteria? First of all, we want to keep ourselves in good health. That is the best way to help the body stay strong. We can do so by:
1. eating a well-balanced diet.
2. getting regular exercise.
3. getting enough sleep.
Bur we can do even more. We can eat probiotics, or good bacteria.
Sources of Probiotics
You may have seen probiotics listed on the labels of some yogurts and fermented milks (buttermilk or kefir, for example) and in cottage cheese. Those dairy foods have the most probiotics. Good bacteria are also present in soy sauce, miso, tempeh and fresh sauerkraut. You will also find them in the juice section, where some cartons of juice will note that probiotics have been added. And if you look at breakfast cereals, energy or snack bars, infant formulas, bottled waters and even pizza crust, you will find probiotics in some of these foods too.
It is possible to add probiotics to the body in the form of tablets, capsules or powders. Ask you local pharmacist to help you find the type that is best for you.
Some bacteria can harm the body by causing problems with the skin, mouth, gums, stomach, intestines, lungs and other parts of the body. Those are the bad bacteria, and we should try to keep away from them. This is why, for example, we wash our hands often, don’t eat unsafe food and don’t eat from unclean dishes.
Some bacteria, however, keep our bodies healthy and working well. Those are the good bacteria. They already live inside our bodies, and we want to keep adding to our natural supply because they can do many good things, such as provide our bodies with vitamin K. Good bacteria may help us avoid dental cavities, colds, skin infections, diarrhea, stomach pains and gas, some allergies and asthma. The good bacteria are with us all the time, but we may not know how well they work to keep us in good health until they are attacked by the bad bacteria and are weakened. Then we may not feel well. With diabetes, the body may have other reasons for not feeling well, but adding in more good bacteria can help the body feel better.
Are probiotics safe? Yes! They are a natural part of a healthy body and a safe way to help the body stay healthy. Why not try a probiotic yogurt or a probiotic drink? Over time, you may be pleased with what they do for you. Some probiotics offer more benefit to the body than others. If you can, speak to a registered dietitian about the probiotics in the food you have chosen.
Ref: Johanna Burani, MS, RD, CDE / Diabetes and You Fall 2012