The thought of consuming bacteria on purpose is probably a hard one to swallow. When you think of bacteria, you probably think of germs running amok in your body causing disease.
However, not all bacteria are bad and according to growing research, there’s plenty of good reasons to eat up. Science shows diets containing certain kinds of “good” live bacteria known as probiotics, found in fermented foods or supplements, can help treat or prevent a number of common health problems, like acne, allergies and various digestive conditions.
This good bacteria acts like the military of your body and fights off the “bad” bacteria. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, a celebrity holistic medicine professional, a healthy person’s body should contain around 100 trillion “good” bacteria at any given time.
This bacteria assists with keeping your immune system in tip-top shape, and in return, the rest of your body says ‘thank you’ by having clear skin, a properly functioning digestive system and more.
Before we get into it, here are six common strains of probiotics that you’ll find on food and supplement labels.
B. animalis: This strain is an ingredient in Dannon yogurt’s Activia product. It’s helpful in aiding digestion and fighting food-borne bacteria. It’s also thought to boost your immune system.
B. breve: This strain lives in your digestive tract and in the vagina. In both places, it fights off infection-causing bacteria or yeast. It helps your body absorb nutrients by fermenting sugars. It also breaks down plant fiber to make it digestible.
B. lactis: This is derived from raw milk. It’s an ingredient in Nestle’s probiotic infant formula, called Good Start Natural Cultures. It also serves as a starter for:
- cottage cheese
- other cheeses
B. longum: This strain lives in your gastrointestinal tract. It helps break down carbohydrates and also can be an antioxidant.
L. acidophilus: This strain is found in the small intestine and in the vagina. It helps digestion and may help fight off vaginal bacteria. You can find it in yogurt and fermented soy products, such as miso.
L. reuteri: This strain is found in the intestine and mouth. One study showed that it decreased the oral bacteria that cause tooth decay. It’s also thought to help the digestive system.
Now, here are 9 strains of beneficial bacteria and their major reported health benefits which can be found in some fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, soy products, and pickles.