Are probiotics good for your health?
The scientifically established benefits of probiotics are:
- Prevention or reduction of the duration of rotavirus diarrhoea
- Prevention or reduction of the duration of antibiotic associated diarrhoea
- Reduction of the symptoms of lactose intolerance
Other benefits have been suggested, however there is a need for further research with probiotic bacteria in relation to:
- Bladder and colon cancer (prevention and treatment)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Food Allergy
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Cholesterol control
Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live beneficial bacteria that help to improve the overall balance of bacteria in the digestive system. There are a number of sources including fermented milk drinks (e.g. Yakult®), yoghurts, capsules and powders.
Stress, diet, aging and antibiotics may upset our intestinal balance and probiotics may be especially useful during these times. And no, we can’t stop the aging process but we can impact the other factors.
Be aware that some fermented milks arrive in store frozen and this appears to render the bacteria ineffective. This can be the case for some store brand varieties of fermented milk. Choice magazine tested the viability of bacteria in probiotics’ over time in 1999 and found that Yakult®, Vaalia Smoothie®, Vaalia Yoghurt® and Yoplus Light® all showed good survivability of bacteria over the shelf life. This is the most recent survey to date. Yakult® contains one of the highest levels of beneficial bacteria at 6.5 billion in the 65ml bottle.
Supplements in liquid, capsule or powder form may carry high levels of bacteria but they are not live. They should also be refrigerated which may not be the case in pharmacies and health food stores.
You may have noticed that there is a ‘light’ version of Yakult. Both the original and the ‘light’ have the same type and amount of beneficial bacteria but the ‘light’ version contains 30% less sugar. Keeping in mind that Yakult Original contains only 52 calories, the need for Yakult Light is probably minimal.
No doubt I will have further information upon my return.
Porridge with Juicy Apricots
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup 100% apple juice
1 ½ cups quick cooking oats
2 cups reduced fat milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tablespoons apple juice extra
extra milk for serving
cinnamon for sprinkling
What to do
1. Bring apricots and apple juice to the boil in a non-stick saucepan. Simmer 10 minutes until soft.
2. Bring oats, milk and vanilla essence to the boil over low heat, stirring continuously. Simmer 1-3 minutes until thickened. Stir in extra apple juice.
3. Serve porridge immediately, topped with poached apricots and syrup, pour over a little extra milk and sprinkle with cinnamon
Taken from ‘kids good health recipe book’ by DairyAustralia 2007
The final word
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Until next time,