Addressing a Women’s Health Panel in Florence, McLeod Gastroenterologist Veeral Oza, MD, talked about the potential benefits of taking probiotics and a vegetarian diet.
Here is a summary of Dr. Oza’s comments:
PROBIOTICS. The party line is — if it helps you, do it. Having said that, there are definitely conditions where probiotics will help, especially people who are diabetics, those who’ve have abdominal surgeries or any sort of vascular problems. In those patients, your gut health is actually better when they eat more yogurt or anything with live cultures, such as probiotics. There are good studies to back up this data and you have many, many choices. Have ever seen one of those chain pharmacy’s probiotics section? It’s a whole aisle — 4 shelves high.
I usually tell my patients, there are specific probiotics that have been studied. And we can certainly try those. Some of those are prescription strength, a bit more expensive. But I always start with the most affordable one and see how we do for 4 to 5 weeks. If that makes a difference, then we’re good to continue on it. If it doesn’t work and if you absolutely have a diagnosis where I think that you would benefit from probiotics, we can go with the prescription strength ones and get insurance to cover part of the cost.
VEGETARIANISM? Should you go green or not, especially if you like eating meat? First, too much of anything really is not good for you. That’s something that I think we all know about life in general. So, if you don’t eat any fruits and vegetables, it’s probably going to hurt you in some way. Whether it’s from a cardiac health, gut health or women’s health.
There’s very good data demonstrating antioxidants in fruits and vegetables help neutralize some of the toxins that we ingest.
For example, there’s data on vegetarians and people who are non-vegetarians. Vegetarians have lower rates of colon cancer than non-vegetarians. Other studies that say that vegetarians often tend to have better cardiac health than non-vegetarians. That doesn’t mean that being a non-vegetarian is bad for you. Absolutely not. But you need to have fruits and vegetables in your diet.