Yogurt, the king of probiotics

Yogurt is one of the most familiar sources of probiotics -- "good" bacteria that keep a healthy balance in your gut. Studies suggest that probiotics can help ease lactose intolerance. They also may help tame gas, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.  

Probiotics are commonly defined as viable microorganisms (bacteria or yeasts) that exhibit a beneficial effect on the health of the host when they are ingested. They are used in foods, especially in fermented dairy products, but also in pharmaceutical preparations. The development of new probiotic strains aims at more active beneficial organisms.

Different strains of probiotics serve different purposes. Doctors, for example, often suggest that the two most commonly known groups — Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These probiotics are believed to help move foods through your gut, ultimately assisting digestion and bringing relief to people who suffer from diarrhea, lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.

What do they do? 

Probiotics help move food through your gut. Researchers are still trying to figure out which are best for certain health problems. Some common conditions they treat are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Infectious diarrhea (caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites)
  • Antibiotic-related diarrhea
Suzette Pallares