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Probiotics... a bacteria bomb?

What the heck are probiotics and is this just a silly trend from new age foodies?

We’ve been hearing the buzzword “Probiotics” flirting its way through conversations. Let’s get informed on what it’s all about.

The Background

When I was growing up and until now the big theme in healthcare was to eliminate bacteria, as we thought it was bad for our health. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when sneezing and brush your teeth. When we were sick, we always took a good dose of antibiotics to kill the ugly bacteria causing the sickness and magically we got better.

The thing is we’ve been too bacteria phobic and have recently realized that there’s not only bad bacteria that make us sick, but there’s good bacteria that actually work to keep us healthy.

Introducing Probiotics

These are the good buggies. Here’s what they are known to do:

  • Help us to digest our food
  • Helps to absorb vitamins, minerals and eliminate toxins
  • Aid the immune system
  • Relieve conditions such as allergies, cholesterol problems, candida, and eczema.
  • Alleviate digestive discomfort.

I am all for a healthy immune system and comfortable digestion!!

These bacteria live in quite a few places within our body. The focus in today’s media is in the gut and the intestines. Maybe you’ve heard the words “build up your intestinal flora” or “support your microbiome.” When your intestinal flora is well balanced… meaning a good to bad bacteria ratio, “things” should start working more smoothly.

So, how does one get the good bacteria in?

Do you have to take a probiotic pill?

Not necessarily. Healthy bacteria can be found naturally in fermented food. You can start by adding a small amount of fermented to food every day, every meal. For example you can try Bifidus yogurt in the morning, then a pickle at lunch, and some sauerkraut or olives with dinner.

Here’s a list of good whole foods with probiotics naturally occurring within them.

  • Yogurt
  • Olives
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Kefir
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchee
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Fermented milk

Just to point out, this isn’t really a new thing.

Our ancestors have been eating fermented foods for centuries. It somehow got out of trend since we’ve been using refrigerators to keep things cold. (Fermented foods can stay preserved outside the fridge.) This is a way to get back to our roots.

As I always say, start slowly and go one simple step at a time.

If you eat too much sauerkraut at once…. it could be a real gas!

Let me know how it goes!