Do discuss the role of probiotics with your supervising health professional before making dietary changes.

You are teeming with bugs?  No kidding. You have more bugs in your body, then you have human cells. There are both good bugs [a.k.a. probiotics] and bad bugs [a.k.a. bacteria, fungi and viruses]. It is important to make sure the good outnumber the bad. The challenge is this. There are many enemies to the good bugs: antibiotics, chlorinated water, medications, vaccinations and processed foods. If the bad bugs get a foothold, you can get very sick.

The good news is, your good bugs can be replenished through eating probiotic rich food or taking a high quality supplement.  Probiotic foods include: yogurt, kefir [a yogurt-like drink], cottage cheese, sauerkraut, pickled gherkins and Kim chi [a Korean version of sauerkraut], tempeh, natto and miso [fermented soy]. Here is my favorite probiotic supplement. It is Bio-tract formulated, delivering 17 times the good bacteria of other supplements. 

Some of the  benefits provided by a thriving colony of probiotics include:

STABLE MOODS:

Have you ever experienced a “gut instinct” or “butterflies in your stomach”? There is a reason for that. Your gut contains millions of highly reactive neurons. These neurons sense and communicate with your brain when there is a ‘threat’ to your wellbeing. Probiotics are the ‘phone’ that lets your gut talk to your brain. When you are stressed, probiotics communicate calming signals. If the probiotics are deficient, both your mood and gut suffer [e.g. stress triggers irritable bowel syndrome]. My favorite probiotic supplement provides 2 very important “psycho-biotics”  [lactobacillus helvetic and Bifida longum] These probiotics when combined help support mood stability. 

STRONG IMMUNITY:

Good bugs promote the growth of the mucus membranes that line the intestine. This lining helps to keep pathogens from seeping out of your intestine and into your body [a.k.a. leaky gut syndrome]. Probiotics also resist the proliferation of bacteria like salmonella and E. coli [i.e. urinary tract infection] and candida [i.e. yeast infections].

CHOLESTEROL BALANCE:

Studies indicate that probiotics support that conversion of cholesterol into bile acids.  If the conversion does not take place that cholesterol can land in your arteries.

ENERGY:

Research has shown us that probiotics can be an effective in treating chronic fatigue by supporting the signals that spark energy on a cellular level.

HORMONAL BALANCE:

As much as 60 percent of the estrogen circulating in the blood is picked up by the liver and “deactivated” before being dumped into the gallbladder. Good bugs help reactivate the estrogen, so it can be reabsorbed into the body. When the bacterial flora is out of balance, the estrogen is neither reactivated nor reabsorbed. Instead, it is lost in the stool. Low estrogen levels have been linked to osteoporosis, PMS, water retention, menstrual cramps and migraine headaches.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT:

Farmers use antibiotics to fatten cattle, pigs, and chickens. With the use of these medications, animals gain weight more quickly, on less food.  Probiotics seem to do the opposite. A Japanese company gave 87 overweight individuals 100 grams of fermented milk twice a day. After 12 weeks, those individuals lost an average of 4.6 percent belly fat. Researchers think that the probiotics somehow decrease the amount of fat absorbed from the intestines.

Yes, a pickle a day or a good probiotic supplement, just might be as beneficial as an apple a day in keeping the doctor away.

 

 

 

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