(NaturalNews) More and more data is piling up all the time about the importance of maintaining probiotic "good" bacteria in our bodies as we strive for vibrant, holistic health. Friendly bacteria provide incredible benefits to the entire body, not only in the arena of digestive health. Probiotic bacteria have the ability to keep harmful pathogenic, disease-causing bacteria from growing unchecked. Good probiotics also assist the body in assimilating nutrients and producing important enzymes for digestion. They help increase the bioavailability of vitamins, beneficial fatty acids, lactase and calcium.
Additional benefits include the neutralization of toxins, the normalization of bowel movements, keeping cholesterol levels in check, countering allergies, preventing uninhibited yeast and fungal growth, strengthening the immune system, and even helping us lose weight. Simply put, the presence of beneficial bacteria in our bodies goes hand in hand with good health. Furthermore, in this day and age of GMOs, food contamination and poisoning and the growing spread of resistant pathogens, it's incredibly important to keep our bodies tuned up to keep us safe and healthy no matter what we come into contact with.
Sources of "friendly" bacteria
Unfortunately for us, our bodies actually excrete beneficial bacteria daily because they are not anchored to the intestinal wall. This means that it's important to regularly supplement your diet with foods or supplements that contain probiotics. Good sources are yogurt, keifter, sauerkraut and special probiotic flora foods and supplements.
"Friendly" bacteria and their benefits
There are three main probiotic bacteria that are the most important to provide your body with. These are bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus acidophilus, and lactobacillus bulgaricus. Bifidobacterium bifidum is helpful with boosting our immune response as it produces natural antibiotics that fight pathogens. It also helps the body rid itself of toxins, as well as assisting the body in the absorption of calcium, vitamins and minerals. Lactobacillus acidophilus is beneficial for inhibiting the growth of candida, helping relieve arthritic symptoms, and countering the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Lastly, lactobacillus bulgaricus helps defend the large intestine and keeps unfriendly bacteria under control. It helps stimulate peristaltic action and maintains electrolyte balance, as well as boosting immunity and countering carcinogenic substances in the body.
11 things to avoid
1. Antibiotics - These destroy bacteria in the body, both good and bad. If you take antibiotics, supplement your body with new probiotics immediately afterwards to rebuild your reserves.
2. Birth control pills/steroidal/hormonal drugs
3. Chlorine - Another reason to avoid drinking tap water, or even bathing in chlorinated water. Get a water filter and shower filter to limit your exposure to chlorine.
4. Flouride - This is also found in much of the world's tap water. Be sure you have a drinking water filter that removes this substance to limit your exposure to it so as to spare your good bacteria from it.
5. Coffee - Coffee drinkers will surely be disappointed to learn this. Limit your intake of coffee, or just up your regular supplementation of probiotics to help compensate.
6. Carbonated beverages - Limit your consumption of these.
7. Ascorbic acid - Found in vitamin supplements, bottled tea drinks, and fruit juices such as apple or orange juice. Read ingredient labels carefully to avoid it. Check your vitamin supplements for the presence of ascorbic acid.
8. Radiation - Avoid sources of radiation, such as chemotherapy, x-rays, and microwaves.
9. Additives/preservatives - Eat organic, pure foods as much as possible. Avoid processed foods.
10. Pesticides/herbicides/fertilizers - Buy and eat organic foods whenever possible.
11. Stress - While you can't completely eliminate stressors from your life, you can limit and reduce the amount of them.
One key point to keep in mind is, that if you make a "mistake" and expose yourself to any of the above, don't fret about it too much. If you do, you might be destroying your good bacteria by stressing yourself out! (Number 11 on the list)
About the author: Zach C. Miller was raised from an early age to believe in the power and value of healthy-conscious living. He later found in himself a talent for writing, and it only made sense to put two & two together! He has written and published articles about health & wellness and other topics on ehow.com and here on NaturalNews. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Applied Science.