Healthy bacteria could prevent obesity

Probiotics is an umbrella term for bacteria with proven health benefits.

London: Healthy gut flora -- microorganisms living in the digestive tract of animals -- can reduce the risk of obesity, a study says.

The study, done on rats, showed that daily intake of a lactic acid bacteria, which has been given the name Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19, appears to be able to prevent obesity and reduce the body`s low-level inflammation.

"Rats who were given this specific lactic acid bacterium from their time in the uterus up to adult age put on significantly less weight than other rats. Both groups ate the same amount of high-energy food," explains Caroline Karlsson, researcher in food hygiene at Lund University, Sweden.

Karlsson also observed that the rats which were given lactobacilli had a richer and better composition of the bacteria which occur naturally in the intestines, reports the British Journal of Nutrition.

Probiotics is an umbrella term for bacteria with proven health benefits. They are important for the prevention of various stomach and intestinal problems. Research findings also indicate that probiotics could affect the immune system, relieve eczema and help fight viral infections.

Certain foods, for example olives, yoghurt and cheese, naturally contain lactobacilli -- the type of bacteria most often used as probiotics, according to a Lund statement.

A healthy gut flora should contain a large proportion of `good bacteria`, such as lactic acid bacteria, in order to keep the inflammation-causing bacteria in check.