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Probiotics Can Help Offset A Variety Of Health Issues, Some Believe

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Feeling rundown, tired or just not healthy?

The problem may lie in your stomach, and some experts believe a certain kind of bacteria may help you feel better.

A stubborn cold, the flu, irritable bowel syndrome -- even childhood eczema.

These are all conditions that you may be able to fight with your stomach and a spoon, CBS 2's Kate Sullivan reports.

Experts say there's growing evidence that probiotics found in foods like yogurt may actually ease the symptoms of some of these common conditions.

"Probiotics are sort of a good bacteria that are found in foods, and what they can do is they can help to enhance and improve your immune system," registered dietician Felicia Stoler says.

The live active microorganisms may even help when you just don't feel right.

"When your body is tired from daily activities, sometimes you are worn down from trying to fight something off," Stoler says.

That's when you should give your stomach something to fight back with, and it doesn't have to be just yogurt. Sauerkraut is a source of probiotics, and there are even chocolate bars infused with them. Certain soy products such as miso soup are, too.

Stoler says you should always rule out serious stomach issues with your doctor. Still, probiotics may be worth a shot.

"A lot of people that come to see me, they spend a lot of time going to the doctors, and they can't find something that's wrong with them," she says. "By changing their diet and including probiotics in their diet they do report that they feel much better."

There is also some research indicating that foods containing prebiotics may also help. Foods like bananas, beans, honey and whole grains act as fuel for that good bacteria so you can keep your stomach in balance.

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