One might want to start loading up on food rich in good bacteria, because another study has highlighted the influential role of these good bacteria on health and well-being.
Harmless bacterium found in the nose and on the skin, according to researchers from the Forsyth Institute and Vanderbilt University, negatively affected the growth of a pathogen that causes middle ear infections in kids and pneumonia in people of all ages.
The team led by Dr. Katherine P. Lemon, whose findings were published on Jan. 5 in the journal mBio, offered evidence that the harmless bacterial species Corynebacterium accolens (C. accolens) can help inhibit Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae), a pathogen that commonly leads to diseases such as middle ear infection, sinusitis, pneumonia and meningitis.
Good Bacteria vs. Pathogenic Growth
The World Health Organization warned that S. pneumoniae causes over 1 million deaths a year, mostly in young children from developing nations. While most individuals that host the bacteria do not become sick, the growth and spread of the bacteria greatly increases the health risks.
In the study, the team established the significant presence of C. accolens in the noses of child subjects who are not colonized by the infection-causing S. pneumoniae.
They also discovered that the good bacterium inhibits pathogen growth through releasing antibacterial free fatty acids from the triacylglycerols found on the surface of the subjects' skin.
“These results pave the way for potential future research to determine whether C. accolens might have [a] role as a beneficial bacterium that could be used to control pathogen colonization,” stated the study’s press release.
Probiotic-Rich Food Sources
These helpful bacteria dubbed probiotics, which literally means “for life.” Primarily living in the gut, they outnumber cells in the human body 10:1.
Good bacteria have been widely researched for their immune-boosting properties, as well as their ability to help fight gut-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
But how does one get probiotics? Start with diet, exploring food such as:
• Kefir – Literally meaning “good feeling” in Turkish, this yogurt-like drink created by fermenting milk provides three times more good bacteria than yogurt itself.
• Yogurt – This classic favorite is produced through fermenting milk with lactic acid bacteria, with usually two to six strains used. Pair yogurt with fruits, and enjoy its thicker consistency and longer shelf life than milk.
• Miso soup – This Japanese dish made up of tofu and vegetable broth is not only probiotic-rich, but also low-calorie and a good protein source.
• Kombucha – This exotic-sounding drink is produced when one ferments sweet black tea with yeast and bacterial culture. This beverage is typically used for detoxification and enhancing immunity, too.
• Other fermented food – Try sauerkraut, made by fermenting cabbage and pickles; kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish made of various veggies and seasonings; and pickles, produced by fermenting cucumbers.
Fermentation beginners should only gradually introduce these probiotic-rich food to their regular diet to minimize potential effects such as gas and bloating. Yogurt or kefir may supplement one’s breakfast or replace milk in oats, while miso may be spread on bread, used as a condiment or cooked in soups and meat dishes.
Heat kills live bacteria, so avoid adding probiotics to hot food. Cook the dish first, allow it to cool slightly and then add the probiotic component.
Don't forget to ask your doctor for advice on regular consumption of probiotic food.