Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good Germs and Bad Germs

Most of us go to great lengths to keep our personal environment clean, and that's a good thing.
But it may surprise you that many people have this germ business backwards.
Keeping things clean is a smart move, but being obsessive with the antibacterial hand soaps, and overusing antibiotic medications actually destroys the microbes that can help strengthen the immune system.

Its true, antibacterial products fight some infections, but they also encourage the growth of drug-resistant organisms and weaken the good bacteria that we have inside us.
So perhaps instead of waging war on all germs we need to encourage their growth.

Encouraging the good bacteria can offer big payoffs, fewer ear infections, stomach aches, occurrences of diarrhea, urinary-tract infections and food allergies.
It can even fight off coughs, colds and fevers.

Eat right right, meaning eat foods that naturally contain helpful organisms. These include yogurt, pickles, dark chocolate and feta cheese.

There is even a probiotic supplement (available at most pharmacies and health-food stores) containing beneficial live bacteria.
There are other foods to include in your diet that don't contain good germs but help to nurture them: garlic, onions, asparagus, whole oats, whole wheat, honey and bananas.

As for antibiotic drugs, don't insist that your doctor prescribe them when he says they're not necessary.
Antibotics eliminate both good and bad bacteria.
Keeping the body's bacteria in working order doesn't take a lot of effort, but it can have big benefits.