Bacteria are not always bad. There are actually some beneficial bacteria which help us. Isn’t it an intriguing thought? Well, it is true. In the beginning of the 20th century, a Russian Nobel laureate called Eli Metchnikoff discovered that there are some strains of bacteria which were actually present inside our bodies and which are good bacteria. After him, there were many scientists who added more and more information and knowledge in this field. There good bacteria are called ‘Probiotics’ and there are also those bacteria which help the function of these Probiotics, which are called ‘Prebiotics’.
Beneficial Bacteria in The Human Body
The human body has different means of fighting off infections. It fights through the layer of skin, through the lining of mucous, through the immune system and finally through gut microflora. These gut microflora are nothing but the helpful bacteria, and they are present in the intestines.
The common gut microflora present inside the human body are: Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. These beneficial bacteria are even found in foods such as buttermilk, yoghurt, sour cream, and even some frozen desserts. These lactic acid bacteria are able to convert sugars and carbohydrates into lactic acid. Thus, this process creates the fermented taste but it also lowers the pH and reduces the risk of other organisms growing in the food product. This in turn can cause huge benefits for people who want to prevent gastrointestinal infections.
Studies have shown that the gut microflora which are normally present within the intestines are destroyed by a wide variety of factors, such as stress, alcohol, diseases, antibiotics and certain drugs, and even exposure to toxic substances. These beneficial bacteria get destroyed in these conditions, which allow the other harmful bacteria to thrive, causing health problems.
Different studies have shown that the ingestion of Probiotics have shown a marked improvement in people who are lactose intolerant, and other diseases such as diarrhea, gastrointestinal infections, and even vaginal candida or yeast infections. Helpful bacteria have also been of great help in the cases of irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and even in improving the absorption of minerals in the body.
Probiotic bacteria help the gut microflora grow back after a case of infection. Normally, doctors often recommend a dose of probiotics after a course of antibiotics. It has also been claimed that good bacteria help people who are suffering from allergies.
Probiotics or helpful bacteria are also available nowadays in the form of tablets and capsules. However, it is best advised by various doctors to take these bacteria in the natural form as well. As mentioned before, these beneficial bacteria are found in foods such as yoghurt, buttermilk, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir, kim chi, miso and such other fermented foods. You can even take different Prebiotics to help the functioning of these Probiotics. These are found in foods such as oatmeal, barley, flax, onions, green vegetables, berries, bananas, legumes and whole grains.
Uses of Beneficial Bacteria in the Environment
Beneficial bacteria have also found their uses in other places. In today’s world, the environment and its related issues are steadily gaining a lot of importance. It has been seen that helpful bacteria are useful in dissolving organic sludge from water, breaking down the growth of algae, reducing the various noxious odors such as hydrogen sulfide odors, reducing ammonia levels, promoting faster growth of fish in the water body, and also defeating unhealthy bacterial growth in the water body.
Thus, it can be seen that Mother Nature has effectively created many such means of ensuring that we remain protected from harm. And one such means provided by Mother Nature is beneficial bacteria or good bacteria or helpful bacteria.