Probiotics. Chances are, you’ve heard the name somewhere. Maybe from a friend, your doctor, or maybe a TV commercial for that new type of Yogurt. Truth is, probiotics are nothing new and have been found in the human digestive system since the beginning of time. Fast forward to modern day however, and you’ll find the word “probiotic” not very commonly used. Thanks to our heavily processed diets, over-the-counter pain killers, prescription medications, and antibiotics – these friendly bacteria are being crowded out of your digestive system at an alarming rate. Each of us has more than 1,000 different types of bacteria that live in our digestive tracts, helping us to break down food and absorb nutrients. Overgrowth of “bad gut bacteria” such as Candida can lead to a wide array of health problems. These bad gut bacteria thrive on the sugar-rich, processed foods we eat and we make their job even easier by taking antibiotics and pain killers which destroy the good bacteria. The good news is that we have great ways to replenish our supply of good bacteria and crush the Candida beast!
Some examples of probiotic rich foods are:
- Kombucha tea
None of those foods really “wet your whistle”? That’s OK! There are plenty of great probiotic supplements available. The one I use personally is “Life 5”. It’s a high potency combination of five probiotic bacteria strains.
One tiny capsule contains 10 billion active cultures which are able to bypass the acids in your stomach thanks to its specially delayed release capsule. Not all probiotic supplements are created equally, so be sure to do your research when choosing the best one for you. Avoid sources such as specially formulated “Probiotic Yogurt”. While these do contain probiotics, they are often in small numbers, damaged during processing, and are largely a marketing gimmick to get you to buy their product. A good quality probiotic should need to be stored in the refrigerator to preserve their integrity as heat damages their effectiveness. Once you’ve chosen either a good supplement (or a food plan to incorporate more fermented foods) you’re well on your way to reaping the benefits of a rock solid digestive system!
- Research has shown that probiotics can be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. In one study, female IBS patients experienced some alleviation of symptoms like abdominal pain and irregularity when given a supplement of the bacterial strain Bifidobacterium infantis.
- Probiotics make a nice compliment to antibiotics among people who suffer from urinary tract infections. There is also emerging evidence that regular probiotics can help prevent bad bacteria from invading the urinary tract.
- Allergy research is still preliminary, but at least one large, high quality study found a relationship between women taking probiotics during pregnancy and a 30% reduction in the instance of childhood eczema.
- Some small studies have found that L. Acidophilius can help prevent vaginal infections (most commonly known as a yeast infection) or mange an already active one
- One of the main functions of good gut bacteria is to stimulate immune response. By eating probiotic rich foods and maintaining good intestinal flora.
- A small study that was presented at a recent AHA scientific meeting found that a strain of probiotics found in dairy and meats lowered LDL levels in participants by nearly 12% compared to only 9% of those taking a placebo
- Looking for better teeth? Studies have shown that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri kills the bacteria that causes tooth decay and lessens harmful effects of gingivitis
Starting a new habit takes time and doesn’t happen overnight! Set yourself up for success and get the most miles out of your wellness by adopting these small, yet powerful changes.
For more on health, wellness, and other Holistic Essentials, visit my website www.HolisticEssentials.ca
-Yours in wellness,