Thursday, August 13, 2009

Benefits of Probiotic Yogurt

Probiotic yogurt manufacturers claim a lot of health benefits. Eating healthy has become more and more important in our society as we have become more and more aware of what it is we're putting into our bodies. Probiotic yogurt promises certain health benefits and this is what many of us are trying to introduce into our everyday diet.

Because probiotic yogurt is inexpensive, easy to find, tasty, and already part of many of our diets, it's a great way to get our daily dose of probiotic bacteria. The benefits that are pushed in yogurt ads and commercials are mainly the following. They say it prevents and aids in constipation, protects your heart, and enhances immune function. These are general claims, but many think it's promising to introduce probiotic yogurt into your diet as part of a healthier lifestyle.

Other health benefits of probiotic yogurt and other probiotics exist as well. Scientists have found that they increase nutrient bioavailability. Parents of infants and babies have reported that when they feed their children formula containing probiotics they see a decrease in diaper rash and diarrhea. It is also thought that they may improve lactose intolerance, which is an intolerance to milk that many Americas suffer from. Some studies have also shown that it enhances immunity and put healthy bacteria into the colon which may in turn help prevent cancer.

Although listing the benefits of probiotic isn't difficult, confirming the benefits is. We are still at the beginning of our research into probiotic yogurt and probiotics. Putting live active cultures into yogurt is confusing because there are already live active cultures in yogurt. So what's the difference between probiotic yogurt and regular yogurt? More live active cultures exist in probiotic yogurt. But do we need more? And is there such a thing as too much? These are pressing questions that yogurt manufacturers need to examine before charging more for something labeled "probiotic".

Experts in the field of probiotic yogurt and other probiotics say that yogurt manufacturers, in general, don't have any research to back up their claims. There are cases where the manufacturers were contacted and replied that no such research exists. You should check with them to find out if they have research on the health benefits of probiotic before you spend your extra hard earned dollars on buying probiotic. As far as I know, the only probiotic yogurt manufacturer that actually did a study on the benefits of probiotics was Dannon Activa, and in their study, though they found that it helps in constipation, they're subjects were not actually constipated.

In any event, the research isn't yet clear as to the specific benefits of eating probiotic yogurt. Next I will talk more in depth about some of the skepticism surrounding probiotic yogurt.

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