The Truth About Probiotics

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The Truth About Probiotics

With 70-percent of your body's natural defenses found in the gut, there’s understandably much talk today about the benefits of probiotics. There’s also much hype.  It’s important to understand the role that helpful probiotics play in your healthy diet. To help separate the science from the sales pitch, we turned to Dr. Michael Shahani, Director of Operations of Nebraska Cultures, who revealed 10 things you should know about probiotics.

1. Not all bacteria are created equal. Not all bacteria are bad.  In fact, we need good bacteria to survive. These are called "probiotic" bacteria.  The word "probiotic" means "for life."

2. "It’s ALIVE!" [insert appropriate Dr. Frankenstein voice] Probiotics work because they are live bacteria that need to thrive in the human gut.

3. Probiotics need TLC. Don't abuse your probiotics—yogurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, etc.  Keep them cool and dry so they will be alive when they get into your body.  For best results and for long-term storage, most probiotics need to be kept refrigerated.

4. You can fight disease with food. Probiotics displace and even help kill harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli.

5. We're overrun—but don’t worry, it's okay. You have more bacteria in your intestines than there are cells in the rest of your body!  The average person has approximately 100 trillion bacteria in their gut which represents ten times more than the number of cells in the body.

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