Why Bacteria is Good for Your Health

Not all bacteria are created equal. Some of them do a body good

Credit: Flickr / love.janine

Flickr / love.janine

Natural Greek yogurt is an excellent source of good bacteria

Not all bacteria make you sick. In fact, the body needs the help of certain bacteria to stay healthy

There are about 100 trillion bacterial cells living in your body. The majority of these normal flora are essential to helping your body combat infection, maintain the health of your intestinal tract, absorb nutrients and keep bad bacteria like E. coli in check.

Problems like bladder infections, upset stomachs and diarrhea can occur when a change in diet or a course of prescribed antibiotics alters the balance between good bacteria and undesirable strains in your body.

Including Good Bacteria in Your Diet

Beneficial bacteria that support the health of the body are called probiotics. In some cultures, people get a lot of these probiotics naturally through their diet. Fermented milk products containing some of the same probiotics found in food are also available as dietary supplements.

While studies indicate that certain probiotics may have health benefits, do not add them to your diet without first talking to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

In the meantime, the best way to naturally promote your body’s own good bacteria is to eat a diet rich in fibre, vegetables, fresh cultured food products (like yogurt) and complex carbohydrates.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.