Probotics as Digestive Aids
Related article: What our ancestors knew about nutrition
Friendly vs. Unfriendly Bacteria
Except for any noted source material, content copyright, Neva. J. Howell, all rights reserved
I remember an episode of that show “Wife Swap”. I didn’t watch it regularly but rather, when nothing else was on. This time, one of the families ate a raw food diet that would probably even shock foodies.
In addition to eating all raw vegetables and fruits, this family ate raw chicken, raw beef, raw eggs, etc. They cooked nothing at all. They even ate aged, raw meat. I forget what they called it but it was raw meat that had basically molded and rotted, as far as I’m concerned.
The wife, at one point and to make a point, licked the floor of the family home she had been “swapped” out to, because she wasn’t afraid of bacteria. She thought bacteria wasn’t the enemy.
I thought of that scene and that family when I watched ABC News the other night. Charlie Gibson was talking about bacteria too, the kind of friendly bacteria that is being advertised now as a digestive aid in yogurts like Activia. Most yogurt already has “live cultures” but probiotics are now being added to a lot of yogurt products.
Is bacteria bad?
People tend to think of bacteria as being something harmful that needs to treated with antibiotics, but the truth is that a certain type of bacteria, called probiotics, are vital for healthy digestion. In addition, these friendly bacteria help with increased immune response and are considered a beneficial dietary addition for those with lactose intolerance. Source: USProbiotics.org
I’m some where in the middle, between those who lick floors and those who feel bacteria are to be avoided at all costs. I use hand sanitizer during cold and flu season, whenever in crowded public places, but I don’t go all Howard Hughes about it. On the other hand, I don’t run around looking for bacteria to touch, taste and breathe in but I recognize it as part of life.
I personally don’t feel that probiotics should be given to children, in general. They don’t have fully developed immune systems and probiotics could interfere with the development of immune response, in my opinion. I infer this from what I’ve read about other immune-enhancing supplements like kombucha.
Kids love those yogurts in the little bottles but when my 3 year old nephew drank more than one, his stomach got upset. I just think it’s better not to give it to children under the age of 4, unless directed by your doctor of course.
By the way, Kombucha is a good example of bacteria that can be good for you. It’s a fermented tisane that contains bacteria and yeast and is typically consumed as a tea but can also be taken in capsule form for immune support, liver detoxing, weight loss assistance, etc.
The Mayo Clinic says it’s best to avoid Kombucha….essentially because there are no peer reviewed trials or studies on the health benefits of Kombucha, and there have been a smattering of health issues possibly associated with it, it’s best to avoid Kombucha. There’s such a wide range of issues with making your own kombucha that I’d have to know whether the kombucha indicated in those instances of health challenges was home-made (which I don’t recommend) or purchased from a reputable producer of Kombucha before I’d ever say avoid it. I love it and have had nothing but good benefit from it. Increased elimination, better digestion, weight loss, etc.