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A visit to the supermarket these days can feel more like walking through a pharmacy, with an ever-expanding range of milks, yoghurts,powders and speciality foods promoting their “probiotic” prowess.Advocates of probiotics have hailed them as the answer to all sorts of health issues and conditions. But what exactly are probiotics? And, more importantly, should you be taking them?Probiotics are scientifically defined as “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. In simple terms, they’re “good” bacteria that are beneficial to the body.Probiotics exist naturally in some foods (such as some types of yoghurt and fermented vegetables such as pickles and sauerkraut), but can also be taken in dietary supplement form, via products such as Yakult and Inner Health Plus.

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