Research presented in 2009 at the 3rd International Immunonutrition Workshop in Spain demonstrated a link between milk fermented containing the probiotic strainLactobacillus helveticus and delayed growth of breast tumors. The study found that fermented milks can inhibit tumor growth by reducing the inflammatory response in cases of hormone-dependent breast cancer models and induced colon cancer.
Probiotics are also known as lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus), Bifidobacterium bifidus and lactic acid bacteria. These are all healthy bacteria that are similar to the good bacteria that resides in the intestinal tract. Sometimes people do not have enough good bacteria in their system. Probiotic foods can increase levels of healthy bacteria. However, only live strains help. The ideal probiotics are those that contain large amounts of living microorganisms, such as multiple Bifido and Lactobacillus strains. At least three billion live bacteria per serving is best.
Probiotics and the immune system
Probiotics help to strengthen the immune system and prevent diseases. By improving gut health, probiotics boost the body’s immune defenses, which in turn fight infections. The intestinal tract is home to between 70 and 80 percent of the body’s immune cells. If the immune cells are functioning well the body is more resistant to infection. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, the human papillomavirus (HPV) and Helicobacter pylori are the four primary infections linked to cancer. Combined, these four infections cause around 1.9 million cancer causes annually. Probiotics are particularly helpful in reducing vaginal and urinary infections.
Probiotic supplements, foods and doses
Yogurt is the food most commonly associated with probiotics but there are several others. Unfermented and fermented milk contain probiotics. Kefir is another dairy product that is a probiotic food. Non-dairy sources include tempeh, miso and some soy drinks and juices.
Probiotics are also sold in supplement form. Probiotic supplements come in tablet, capsule and powder forms. Supplements may contain 1 to 10 billion bacteria.
Probiotic foods and supplements may help with cancer prevention as well as several other conditions. Probiotics can help with diarrhea and other digestive problems. They may also assist with elimination, allergies and weight management.
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