Probiotics are the new health miracles. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defined probiotics as “live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” These live microorganisms help improve and maintain the health of the gastrointestinal tract. They help fight diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and colon diseases.

Our digestive system relies heavily on these microorganisms where we harbour both good and bad bacteria. The balance between the two is necessary for optimal reasons. Certain illnesses, medication, drugs or diets can deplete the friendly bacteria. Therefore, we should include probiotic food to our diet to repopulate the digestive tract with healthy bacteria.

Dr. Tracey Beaulne, doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Toronto says “Good bacteria create a barrier or film-like coating over the inner lining of the intestinal wall. This film keeps toxins and bad bacteria from gaining access through the wall and into your bloodstream.”

Probiotics occur naturally in yoghurt, buttermilk, kefir, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), kimchi, aged cheese and green pickles. The best and most commonly known probiotic food is Yoghurt. When buying yoghurt look for the seal Live & Active Culture that appears on refrigerated and frozen yoghurt containers. The National Yogurt Association’s “Live and Active Culture” seal means they contain the organisms Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles. These organisms used in the fermentation process gives yoghurt its “health-giving attributes”.

Surprising beauty tip – Dermatologist Hema Sundaram says plain yogurt when used as a face mask gently exfoliates the top layers of the epidermis and clears up blemishes and discoloration. It may even reduce fine lines and wrinkles.