|Feed Yourself Some Good Germs
USA Weekend Magazine, November 5, 2996
by Susan T. Lennon
Bacteria for breakfast? If the thought makes you queasy, think again. Not all bugs are bad, and eating good germs can improve your health.
"Research into the positive effects of good bacteria has exploded in the last five years," says Gary B. Huffnagle, Ph.D., a University of Michigan Medical School professor, "but most Americans have never heard of probiotics -- our silent partners in health."
These good microbes -- lactobacillus and bifidobacteria -- usually coexist in our bodies with the "bad" bugs we know and loathe. But stress, antibiotics anda poor diet can shrink the good-germ count, opening the door to illness.
Replenish your probiotics and not only will they crowd out their disease-causing cousins, they'll reduce inflammation, boost immunity, promote proper digestion and treat acute diarrhea. Huffnagle says evidence about benefits also is accumulating in "unexpected areas" -- kidney stones, heart disease, asthma and colon cancer.
Yogurt is your best bet
To replenish your good germs, eat yogurt labeled as having "live, active cultures."
Boost yogurt's power by eating it with "prebiotic" soluble fiber from oats, fruits and vegetables.