It has long been known that probiotics (intestinal bacteria that have a beneficial impact on health) are an important factor in having a healthy body. What seems to be new is the notion that people who suffer from allergies can benefit from eating foods that promote good levels of probiotics in the intestines. According to Dr. Guy Delespesse, a professor at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine: “The bacteria in our digestive system are essential to digestion and also serve to educate our immune system. They teach it how to react to strange substances. This remains a key in the development of a child’s immune system. Consuming probiotics during pregnancy could help reduce allergies in the child,” says Dr. Delespesse. “They are not a miracle remedy, yet they are one of many elements that improve our diet and our health.” In addition to eating foods with probiotics Dr. Guy explained that exposure to bacteria in our living environments on a daily basis is an important way for our bodies to develop their immune systems and function properly. “There is an inverse relationship between the level of hygiene and the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases,” says Dr. Delespesse. “The more sterile the environment a child lives in, the higher the risk he or she will develop allergies or an immune problem in their lifetime.” Perhaps we should all spend more time playing in the dirt and eating yogurt.