The words “good bacteria” will make most people question if those words even belong together, but be assured they do. Good bacteria (probiotics) are types of bacteria that help destroy harmful bacteria that cause disease, specifically in and around the digestive tract. Without the friendly cultures to help, serious health issues can arise and wreak havoc on your body. Now, some of these issues are relatively small, such as irregularity and diarrhea. But, there are others that can prove fatal. By eating probiotic foods (cheese and yogurt) or taking probiotic supplements, these diseases have less of a chance to thrive.
C-DIFF (Clostridium difficile colitis) is a form of bacteria that can cause symptoms ranging from mild to moderate stomach cramping and diarrhea to severe inflammation of the colon, which can prove life threatening. Usually found in people coping with long hospital stays and nursing home care, this infection usually occurs when a person is taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are great at killing harmful bacteria, but they also kill off the friendly bacteria that helps protect you from C-DIFF. To help protect yourself from C-DIFF, make sure when taking antibiotics that you talk to your doctor about keeping a probiotic regiment in place as well, to keep your digestive tract as balanced as possible during treatment.
2. Colon Cancer
Colon (corectal) cancer is a cancer that first shows itself in the large intestine or rectum and is second in fatalities only to lung cancer (men) and breast cancer (women). There is no one cause for colon cancer, but high risk factors include being 60 or older, having Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, and eating large amounts of red and processed meats. Good bacteria can help reduce your risks by helping destroy the carcinogens found in red and processed meats. Studies have shown that probiotics given to test subjects have shown less precancerous lesions in the colon than those who did not take probiotics. Probiotics mixed with prebiotics in a capsule form, have also been given to patients to help prevent and treat this cancer.
3. Vaginal Yeast Infections
Vaginal Yeast infections occur in roughly 3 out of 4 women in their lifetime. Caused by the bacterium Candida albicans, it causes the vagina to become inflamed, which can cause painful itching and discharge. Good bacteria blocks the candida bacteria from causing yeast infections. You can help prevent a yeast infection by eating probiotic foods and taking probiotic supplements. If you are already dealing with a yeast infection, there are probiotic vaginal suppositories available, but these can be hard to find.
No disease is 100% preventable, and no one item will do it all, but by adding good bacteria to your diet and lifestyle, these diseases listed above will have a harder time rearing their ugly heads. By simply eating things like aged cheese and yogurt with active cultures, or by talking to your doctor about other ways to get good bacteria in your system, you create one more hurdle for these diseases to leap, and hopefully stop them all together.