In addition to the research on Omega 3s, there seems to be an increasing amount of research being done on probiotics. Probiotics are ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host' (World Health Organization).
Did you know that there is apparently about 3 pounds (1.5 kilos) of bacteria in your digestive system? (However, I am still looking for article that references this fact!)
These micro-organisms have three important functions: digestive; control of digestive and immune cell development; and a protective barrier effect.
Bacteria help digestive parts of your food and synthesise vitamin K, which is required for blood clotting. There are other digestive benefits which I may document in a later post!
From doing studies with mice in sterile environments (where they have no bacteria in their gut!), scientists have learned that bacteria play an important role in determining how the cells lining your digestive tract are formed and organized. As well, they play a role in the development of the lymph tissue around your digestive tract.
Finally, bacteria also help by adhering to your gut lining, so that other harmful bacteria may not be able to hold on there and make you ill.
It's amazing what your digestive system does. And on that note, I'm going to go eat some of my home made yogurt, which contains a much higher level of probiotics than most commercially made yogurt. Yum!