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Question: Can drinking kefir help me avoid repeat urinary tract infections? If so, how much of it should I drink to see a difference?

Answer: There is some medical evidence that drinking kefir -- a fermented milk drink -- may help prevent urinary tract infections. However, the research is very preliminary, and not all studies support eating probiotic-rich foods for this purpose. In addition, we don’t have enough information to know what’s the right amount. However, since three servings of dairy are recommended each day, it’s reasonable to include at least one or two of those servings from either kefir or yogurt, which is also a probiotic-rich source of dairy.

Question: What is probiotic milk?

Answer: Probiotic milk is milk that had probiotics added to it. Milk isn’t a natural source of probiotics. Other dairy products that are fermented, such as yogurt and buttermilk, do contain probiotics.

Question: Do soy and almond milk contain probiotics?

Answer: Most soy and almond milk brands do not have significant amounts of probiotics. However, there are brands of both that are fortified with probiotics. Just look for “probiotics” on the label or any reference to live or active cultures. That’s a good sign that the product has been fortified with probiotics.

Question: Can adding soy, probiotics, and prebiotics to my diet really help lower my cholesterol?

Answer: There is some very early research to suggest that a diet rich in probiotics may help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, you want to work closely with your doctor to get it under control. The right diet is certainly a key part of that and many probiotic-rich foods, such as fat-free yogurt, are a great source of heart-healthy lean protein. Foods rich in prebiotics are particularly heart-healthy and may help lower cholesterol. These include whole grains, asparagus, and bananas. And remember one of the best ways to get your cholesterol down is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and limiting meat as much as possible.

Question: Is it safe to feed prebiotic- and probiotic-fortified foods to my 7-month old?

Answer: Research suggests the prebiotics and probiotics are likely safe for children. However, I would ask your child’s pediatrician first since you and your doctor are most familiar with the health of your child.