(HealthyResearch.com) – Bacteria and other microbes are essential for human life. Not only do they play a role in major biological functions within the body, they contribute to the growth and health of their host. It is estimated that the average man has 39 trillion bacteria. However, that number can vary greatly among individuals. What doesn’t vary is the beneficial nature of much of the bacteria found within the human body.
The Power of Good Bacteria
Good bacteria are present in your body from the moment you’re born. With exposure, the number of good bacteria in your body increases until a healthy balance is achieved between good bacteria and bad bacteria. If you have the right levels of beneficial bacteria, you can count on the following:
- A powerful immune system
- Finely tuned white blood cells
- Great digestion
- Fewer toxins in your body
- Less bad bacteria
Simply put, good bacteria keep you healthy, help you metabolize energy and aid with digestion. If you don’t have enough of them, you will likely experience more illnesses and digestive issues.
Types of Beneficial Bacteria
Often referred to as probiotics, good bacteria are broken down into two species: bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. Bifidobacteria, most commonly found in food, support the immune system and aid in digestion. Lactobacillus, found naturally in select mucosa of the body, breaks down lactose, inhibits bad bacteria growth, increases nutrient absorption and fuels muscles.
The species of good bacteria are further broken down into strains:
- B. animalis – Boosts immunity, fights food-borne bacteria and aids digestion. It is found in Dannon Activia yogurt.
- B. breve – Fights infection and yeast, ferments sugars and breaks down plant fiber. It is found in your digestive tract and other mucosae.
- B. lactis – Breaks down lactose and other sugars. It is found in buttermilk, cottage cheese and other types of cheeses.
- B. longum – Breaks down carbohydrates and serves as an antioxidant. It lives in your gastrointestinal tract.
- L. acidophilus – Aids in digestion and fights off vaginal bacteria. It is found in your gastrointestinal tract and vagina, as well as yogurt and fermented soy products.
- L. reuteri – Decreases tooth decay and aids in digestion. It is found naturally in the mouth and intestines.
Sometimes, like after taking antibiotics, the good bacteria in your body decrease below healthy levels. When this occurs, you should look for ways to increase probiotic growth.
How to Increase Your Good Bacteria
You can increase good bacteria by consuming food products that contain them. Additionally, there are over-the-counter probiotic supplements that do the same thing. If you want to go the food route, increase your consumption of yogurt, fermented cheeses and fermented vegetables. Examples of fermented foods include gouda cheese, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and pickles. If you choose to take a supplement, look for one with live cultures and multiple strains of bacteria. Also, a product with a higher number of colony-forming units (CFUs) will work better.
Bacteria can be good for you. In fact, bacteria are essential to your health and well-being. When you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria in your gut, for example, you may experience digestive issues. For this reason, you should strive to promote the growth of good bacteria all throughout your body by following a healthy diet that includes probiotics.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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