Probiotics Benefits: 4 Ways Yogurt Helps
Constipation. Some yogurt contains active live cultures of bacteria that may modify intestinal function. A new study finds that eating Dannon’s Activia daily improved constipation in women ages 18 to 55. Other research shows yogurt may work best in older people and those with irritable bowel syndrome.
Diarrhea. Eating 2 cups of yogurt a day helps prevent traveler’s diarrhea, says Manfred Kroger, an Institute of Food Technologists spokesman. Preschoolers who ate yogurt every day for a year had shorter episodes of diarrhea. And Yale experts see strong evidence that yogurt bacteria help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Allergies. Children who ate 3 1/2 ounces of yogurt containing the bacteria, L. casei, a day for a year had fewer attacks of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, in an Italian study. New Finnish research shows that women who ate probiotics found in yogurt from the eighth month of pregnancy had babies who were less prone to allergies.
Cancer. It may prevent some — but raise the risk of others. In new Swedish research, two daily servings of yogurt or sour cream, but not milk or cheese, cut bladder cancer risk 38%. Yogurt and other calcium-rich dairy foods may help fend off colon cancer, studies show. However, a high-calcium diet, including yogurt, upped prostate cancer risk 34% in a National Cancer Institute study. And European research found more kidney cancer risk in those who consumed the most milk and yogurt.
This EatSmart column is reprinted from USAWEEKEND Magazine and is copyrighted by Jean Carper. It cannot be reprinted without permission from Jean Carper.
Article updated on: August 7th, 2008