If the thought of bacteria conjures images of germs that should be avoided at all costs--and certainly not ingested--think again! Some friendly bacteria, called probiotics, are not only beneficial to your health, they're essential. Now an internationally recognized scientist at a top U.S. medical school--one of the leading researchers in the field--sheds light on the extraordinary benefits of these natural health superstars.Thanks to an explosion of research in recent years, one thing is clear: probiotics, the healthy bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract, are the body's silent partners for good health, optimizing the power of the immune system to fight disease and the "bad" germs we fear. But how do they work? And in the face of factors like stress and poor diet, which decrease their numbers, how do you keep your supply well stocked? Here is an up-to-the-minute, highly accessible guide to probiotics and the foods and supplements that contain and support them--many of which may be in your diet already. Discover: The key role of probiotics and prebiotics in restoring healthy balance to our bodies, improving immune system functioning, and curbing inflammation How to use probiotic foods and supplements to prevent and relieve allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infections, and the negative side effects of antibiotic use New evidence that probiotics may help fight asthma, cardiovascular disease, breast and colon cancer, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia--and even obesity Natural sources of prebiotics, the nutrients that help make the digestive tract more hospitable for probiotic bacteria The Probiotics Revolution also includes a step-by-step plan for incorporating the many food sources of probiotics and prebiotics into your diet, a complete buyer's guide to probiotic supplements, and how to introduce probiotics to your family and children. From the Hardcover edition.