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If it is the height of the flu season or some other terrifying health scare, you will likely find yourself joining thousands of others in the seemingly endless race to find ways to combat life’s ailments by any availablemeans.

With health care costs at an all-time high, it is not surprising that the Web is, perhaps, one of the first places that the health conscious turn to for sound therapeutic advice. Pop-up ads found on the New York getaways or addiction rehab centers are just a few of the obstacles that anxious Web surfers endure to discover the latest health fads.

But what if during your intense pursuits of the “magic” cure, you’ve harbored the answer all along without really knowing it? The solution to a slew of sicknesses is located in your very own gut.

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Probiotics, The “Good” Bacteria

Probiotics are the life-sustaining bacteria in your stomach’s intestinal tract. Fermented foods, like yogurt, contain probiotics. These “good” bacteria, or gut florae, are primarily known for treating digestive, urinary and genital problems. Groundbreaking research had explored how probiotics affect brain development, aging and certain psychological disorders as well.

Probiotics and Your Immune System

Gut flora plays a critical role in immunity. The famous Greek physician Hippocrates said, “all disease begins in the gut.” So it is imperative to sustain a disease-fighting environment in your gastrointestinal tract with good gut flora.

These good bacteria produce enzymes that kill off bad bacteria. They also produce mucin, a protein found in saliva and the mucosal linings of your gastrointestinal tract that helps protect against degeneration — a situation that creates an unfavorable environment for bad bacteria, which is a great thing!

It is basically survival of the fittest in your gut — probiotics compete with the bad bacteria for nutrients. Good bacteria also cause anti-inflammatory responses in the gastrointestinal lining which strengthens the walls of the gut and prevents bad bacteria from seeping into the blood.

Probiotics and Oral Health

Since we tend to eat loads of sugars and carbohydrates that quite often lead to tooth decay, cavities often develop. Cavities can lead to discomfort, mounting dental care bills and even disease. Including probiotics in your diet can help to combat these effects.

Probiotics and Allergies

Your body may treat many of the foods that you might eat, such as peanuts and the lactose from milk, like allergens once they enter the bloodstream. Since probiotics fortify the epithelial cells in the gastrointestinal lining, foreign substances, such as allergens, are prevented from ever entering in your bloodstream. Studies have shown that ingesting probiotics daily helps to prevent allergic responses such as asthma and eczema symptoms in children.

Good Food Choices

The next time you hear of an ensuing pestilence, put your mind at ease. Making wise food choices to fortify your gut flora could be what determines whether you succumb to sickness or survive the affliction storm.