There is some evidence to suggest that a regular intake of yogurt might protect you from breast cancer. One study, in which researchers compared the diets of women with breast cancer to the diets of women free of the disease, showed that women who ate a low-fat diet with plenty of fiber and fermented milk products had a lower risk for breast cancer.11 And studies conducted in the lab have shown that fermented milk can slow the growth of breast cancer cells.12 These foods contain what are called lactic acid bacteria. Once in your intestinal tract, these bacteria form active compounds that suppress the growth of organisms that produce cancer-causing substances.
In America, all commercial yogurts are made using two lactic acid bacteria: L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus. Some manufacturers add other strains, such as bifidobacteria, L. acidophilus and L. casei. To begin reaping the health benefits of these friendly bacteria, include one serving of yogurt in your daily diet. You might also try kefir or sweet acidophilus milk, fermented milk beverages available in most supermarkets.
The term probiotic means “to promote life.” It refers to living organisms that, upon ingestion in certain numbers, improve the microbial balance in the intestine and exert health benefits. Yogurt and kefir are considered probiotic foods. If you don’t eat dairy products, probiotic capsules or tablets are an alternative. In fact, many natural health experts believe that taking a high-quality supplement is the only way to ensure you’re getting a sufficient number of friendly bacteria into your intestinal tract. Here are a few considerations when choosing a product:
• Buy a product that offers 1 to 10 billion live cells per dose. Taking more than this may result in gastrointestinal discomfort.
• For greater convenience, choose a product that is stable at room temperature and does not require refrigeration. This allows you to continue taking your supplement while traveling or at the office. Good manufacturers will test their products to ensure that they maintain their viability over a long period of time.
• Know the type and source of bacteria in the supplement. Many experts believe that supplements made from human strains of bacteria are better adapted for growth in the human intestinal tract. When choosing a product, you might ask the pharmacist or retailer if the formula contains human or non-human strains.
• Always take your supplement with food. Upon eating a meal, the stomach contents become less acidic due to the presence of food. This allows live bacteria to withstand stomach acid and reach their final destination in the intestinal tract.