What Are Live and Active Cultures?

Yogurt bowl

The FDA mandates that live and active cultures be put in yogurt. We have all seen the labels on the yogurt cups. That little symbol meaning they contain…what? Microbes? How the heck do they help with digestion as often shown on Activia commercials?

There are plenty of microbes in yogurt, but I'm just going to name a few. Two big microbe names in yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Say What?
Well, lets look at each name to find the meaning of each microbe and figure out what it does..


Lactobacillus bulgaricus
Lacto means milk, and bacillus means its a rod shape. This microbe is actually a rod shaped bacteria that helps you convert lactose into lactic acid. This aids in digestion, especially with lactose intolerant people. it also helps promote other healthy bacteria that keep your immune system up to grow.



 Streptococcus thermophilus
Strepto means it is found in small lines
or strips, coccus means it is a small
round shape, Streptococcus thermophilus means it can withstand really hot temperatures!  This is good because when milk and other dairy products are pasteruized, they are put in extremely hot temperatures to kill "bad bacteria." Since Streptococcus can handle the heat, this process wont kill it, but your stomach might. The picture on the right is what this little guy looks like under a light microscope. S. thermophilus actually does not stay active in the gut of healthy humans. It's main purpose is to help culture and form yogurt.

Lactobacillus acidophilus
This microbe is also a lactose fermenting rod. It is part of the natural flora in the human gut and vagina. It's growth helps prevent yeast infections and ward off harmful bacteria growth.

Heat Culturing
Some companies heat culture their bacteria because it supposedly takes away the "off" flavor. Most people can't even taste the difference. But there is a difference. It kills all the good bacteria! Even the tough ones! A good suggestion is, if you can't tell the difference, don't buy yogurts that were heat cultured, or you are cutting yourself short.

Yogurt woman

Now go eat some yogurt!


What You Didn’t Know About Hand Washing

Antibacterial Soap
 Many Americans are all into the rage about antibacterial hand soap. I remember a time a few years ago when I wouldn’t buy hand soap unless it was antibacterial. Otherwise there would be no point. Right?
 WRONG. Antibacterial soap is actually worse than soap without the antibacterial agents. This is because antibacterial soap is possibly increasing the development of resistant strains of bacteria.

 The main ingredient in antibacterial soap causing this is Triclosan. It is also used in deodorants, shaving creams, and mouth washes. Many of us know that different strains of bacterial have developed resistance to antibiotics such as penicillin. Sine Triclocan works much like an antibiotic, the fear is it’s over use in so many products is creating these problems much like the over use of antibiotics is creating problems with new strains of resistant bacteria. Triclosan safety is currently being reviewed by the FDA. Either way, it is a good idea to stay away from house hold items containing Triclosan.

Hand Sanitizer
 There is no Triclosan in hand sanitizer so we don’t have to be worried there. The problem is alcohol in Hand Sanitizer is so strong it kills ALL bacteria on our hands. We actually have natural good bacteria all over our bodies. These are called our normal flora. They live on our skin and one of our first defenses against harmful bacteria. In general, it is okay to use hand sanitizer, but not too frequently, or it’s purpose is defeated.

What is the best solution?
 Health experts still agree it is a good idea to wash your hands frequently, especially before eating. The things to watch out for are soaps containing Triclosan, and excessive use of hand sanitizer. Otherwise, wash to your liking!

Have Healthy,Clean Hands,
-Healthy Girl