Probiotic products are healthy foods that contain good bacteria, and some of them are among the bestselling foods in supermarkets. Probiotic foods and drinks contain types of bacteria that naturally colonise your intestines and help you digest food, though we may not like eating them so much.
The theory is that by putting these ‘friendly’ bacteria into our system, we fight the bad bacteria and help promote the natural balance of micro-organisms in our digestive system. This, it is said, helps digestion.
There is also a theory that probiotics can help your immune system — some scientists believe that our immune system suffers in our super-clean homes, and that introducing good bacteria helps it. Because of this, there is evidence that they may improve those illnesses associated with the immune system, such as psoriasis and asthma.
Some of this is supported by studies, particularly in the area of intestine health. Recent studies have supported the theory that the bacteria in probiotics can make the immune system stronger. A paper presented at the European Influenza Conference indicated that probiotics, combined with vitamin and mineral supplements, could reduce the duration of some common illnesses. And then another study showed that people taking probiotics took fewer days off work than a group who took no probiotics, especially in night workers.
So far, studies on their effects on eczema, asthma and cholesterol have not produced good results, but the potential role of friendly bacteria in promoting digestive health is irrefutable. Our digestive health may be affected if we don’t eat them.
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible. (maximum 50 words)
Probiotic foods are bought by many people. They are healthy because they contain good bacteria which fight illnesses, for example in our intestines. They also make our immune system stronger, so psoriasis, influenza and asthma may improve. People return to work sooner as they suffer these illnesses for less time.
2. Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the words and definitions given here.
a) assimilate and absorb: digest
b) without any dirt at all: super-clean
c) make something better: improve
d) diseases: illnesses
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one:
a) By feeding these ‘friendly’ bacteria into our system, we fight the bad bacteria.
c) We may not like to eat them so much.
- Your immune system can be helped by probiotics.
d) Our digestive health may be affected if we don’t eat them.
- We may not enjoy eating them so much.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words.
a) According to some people, what conditions can be helped by probiotics and how?
b) What foods do you eat? Are they healthy?
I always eat a lot of foods like fish, fruit, vegetable and brown bread, which are good for me because they contain a lot of vitamins and make me strong. Unfortunately, I also eat chocolate, cakes and biscuits, which have too much fat and sugar, and besides I drink 2 litres of Coca-Cola every day. I need to be more careful about what I eat!
WRITING5. What other things (apart from eating healthy foods) do you do to keep yourself healthy?
I try to sleep eight hours every night, which makes me feel good during the day, and I never need to sleep a siesta in the afternoon. When I go out at night, especially at the weekend, I always avoid things such as alcohol and drugs, because they can ruin your health for ever. I sometimes practise sports such as swimming, football and running, but only once or twice a week, as I don’t have much free time. If I have to go shopping, I never take the bus but always walk, even if it’s a long way. In this way I think I do enough to keep healthy, and I feel fit, so in my opinion I’m doing the things I should.