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August 2017 - Issue # 045 - The Probiotic Diet
Hi Everybody and Welcome Back
Interest in probiotics is at an all-time high in North America.
You hear the word probiotics get thrown around a lot these days, even on many yogurt commercials (like Activia yogurt and Take the 14 Day Challenge), but what exactly is it, and how does it benefit us?
The definition of probiotic is a substance that helps stimulate the growth of living microorganisms in our gut, also mentioned as intestinal flora.
These microbes can help strengthen our good bacteria which helps prevent disease.
It’s all about maintaining a healthy balance of good versus bad bacteria in our gut.
Think of your gut in a war zone, where the healthy intestinal flora (bacteria) is being wiped out by the bad guys.
We rely on these good bacteria in our gut to maintain health and prevent a long list of diseases from attacking us. Good gut health is extremely important to prevent disease.
There are different strains of probiotics, all of which can be helpful to replenish good gut bacteria that our bodies need to stay healthy.
The two most popular strains are called lactobacillus and acidophilus.
So what causes this losing battle between good vs bad bacteria?
There are a few factors that are killing off these much needed healthy intestinal flora.
Prescription antibiotics are definitely at the top of the list, but if you are sick and need antibiotics, there is no way around this. But no worries, there is a list further down the page which shares ways we can replenish the good gut bacteria we need.
Sadly, most of the meats we buy are raised with hormones and antibiotics which are passed on to us consumers.
Also sugar rich foods can upset the intestinal floral balance and slow down ones immune system.
Grain fed dairy will also have the presence of antibiotics, just like the meat we buy.
When our bodies are depleted of good flora the following may occur:
Digestive issues such as, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, IBS and others
Yeast and bacterial infections
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies because an unhealthy gut has a harder time to absorb nutrients properly
Unwanted skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea
Others symptoms may include depression, anxiety, stress
Benefits of good levels of gut bacteria:
Strengthened Immune System (helps fight disease)
Better Nutrient Absorption
The Probiotic Diet:
A probiotic diet will include food and drink that help improve and replenish our good intestinal flora (good gut bacteria) that we need to stay healthy.
But the most important factor is that a healthy gut can help prevent many diseases.
So what kind of foods contain probiotics?
Well here are the most common and easily recognized ones.
Fermented (pickled) Foods - Items such as dill pickles, olives in brine, sauerkraut and kimchi are all good examples. Fermented foods are also high in enzymes which help with digestion.
Yogurt – for higher levels choose yogurts that come from grass-fed animals.
Kefir - Is very much like yogurt but has a much more sour (tart) flavor and has more probiotics than yogurt. Almost all supermarkets carry kefir.
Raw Cheeses – raw and unpasteurized cheeses are high in probiotics.
Apple cider vinegar – Bragg organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother) is a good choice.
Miso – is a Japanese spice (like in their traditional miso soup). It is fermented soybeans with salt and a fungus called koji. Sometimes it is made with rice or barley instead.
Miso can be used in sauces, soups and as a pickling spice for meats and vegetables.
It is abundant in protein, vitamin and minerals and today enjoyed worldwide because of its healthy properties.
Here are foods for a probiotic diet that are less common:
Coconut Kefir – it’s a mixture of coconut water that has been fermented with kefir grains. It is super packed with good bacteria that strengthen both the digestive and immune systems.
Natto – is a traditional fermented Japanese food made from soybeans. It has a strong smell, strong taste and a slimy texture. It is definitely an acquired taste. So if you are going to try it, making a small batch at first is probably a good idea. It has amazing health benefits, if you can stomach it.
Tempeh – an Indonesian fermented soybean product. Though it is fermented, Tempeh is made into a cake like food. It too is a healthy choice and is also a good source of protein which is popular with many vegetarians.
Kvass – is a traditional Slavic and
Baltic fermented drink usually made from rye bread. This drink may also be flavored with different fruits and herbs as well. Though extremely low, Kvass does contain an alcohol content (0.5 – 1.0 %), yet is sold as a non-alcoholic beverage.
Everyone is different, but I like to do one treatment every 6 – 8 months or so. I usually buy a descent quality probiotics at the local health food store. Once I finish the bottle I won’t need to do another treatment for half a year or more.
As in the picture above “Adult Probiotics by Flora” is what I am using now. Even though I do eat many foods that maintain a probiotic diet, I like to do this treatment once in a while. This way if I don’t always eat healthy I still feel a little better.
What kind of probiotics should you buy?
If you choose to do a treatment I would recommend only buying the refrigerated kind. I have tried so many varieties in the past, and I always have better results with the ones that are refrigerated.
Probiotics are not cheap. The bottle I purchased in the picture above cost about $40. Yup, it’s a bit pricey.
to use a probiotic supplement?
If there’s one thing I have learned is that the instructions and dosage may vary greatly between brands. Some instruct you to take it on an empty stomach while others say to eat with a meal. Whichever kind you buy read the instructions carefully so you get the best results from your probiotic treatment.
Well, I hope everyone has been enjoying their summer so far, because, oh my goodness, it’s already August. Enjoy the rest of summer and see you next month.
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Until next time