Health benefits of probiotics
Good nutrition is important. But what we eat also can provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. One example is the regular consumption of beneficial probiotic cultures, also called “probiotics.”
Probiotics have been studied for more than a century and are becoming increasingly popular around the world. The most common forms of probiotics are those added to foods such as yogurts and yogurt drinks. More recently, probiotics have been added to formula to help support Baby’s healthy immune system. Probiotic supplements also are available as tablets and capsules.
What are probiotics?
The word “probiotic” literally means “for life.” The World Health Organization describes probiotics as beneficial cultures that—when consumed in adequate amounts—provide health benefits. These benefits vary depending on the type of beneficial culture or probiotic that’s used, and range from aiding digestion to supporting a healthy immune system.
Everyone’s digestive tracts, including babies’, naturally contain many different types of bacteria, or cultures. Many of these are important to help keep our bodies healthy. Consuming beneficial probiotic cultures is one way to encourage a favorable balance of the cultures in the digestive tract.
How do probiotics work?
The specific health benefits of probiotics vary with the type and quantity of beneficial culture. One important benefit is supporting a healthy immune system. Probiotics can provide this benefit by increasing your baby’s levels of key antibodies.
About 70% of the cells of the immune system are found in the digestive tract, which makes it a central part of the body’s immune system. So another way probiotics help support your baby’s healthy immune system is by helping to maintain a healthy balance of cultures in her digestive tract, which supports the natural protective environment found there.