July 16, 2012
Bacteria. The term can send chills down germaphobes' backs and make mothers run for the anti-microbial wipes. If you are a person who views bacteria as something bad, you are not alone. In fact, many of us are not aware that bacteria can actually be beneficial to our health -- especially our digestive systems.
The "good" bacteria that so many of us overlook are known as probiotics, meaning "for life." Sadly, these good bacteria are under constant attack by harmful organisms. The American diet is high in red meat, fat and high-glycemic carbohydrates, which all promote the growth of pathogenic organisms like yeast and bad bacteria. As these organisms multiply in our digestive systems, we begin to notice symptoms, such as bloating, heartburn, fatigue and nausea after meals. Worse yet, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition by Texas Tech University researchers, we may be increasing our chance of developing serious diseases like colitis or irritable bowel syndrome.