If you want to start eating healthy and feeling better, where do you start? Being a board certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant, this is a question I get asked all the time. I’ve found that simple changes are the ones that stick. Just make a small addition at first to your menu. What if I told you this thing you add does not have to be “green”.
What is this addition? Probiotics! Adding probiotics to your diet when first setting out to eat better can help give your body that jump start towards a more balanced gut health. A healthy gut leads to stronger overall health. The great part is that you don’t have to start eating greens right now to begin the benefit. Yes, you can get your probiotics from food, but lets put that aside for a couple of minutes.
Our body is made up of over 100 trillion bacterial cells from at least 500 species, and this doesn’t even include the viruses and fungi. These “friendly” (probiotic) bacteria, as they are called by the medical establishment, are responsible for several important biological functions. Probiotics assist with digestion, keeping other harmful bacteria under control and stimulating the immune system, and these are just some of their important functions. It is important to keep the gut healthy because 80% of our immune system is housed there. Our immune system does a lot more than just fight disease.
What Weakens Our Immune System?
Overtime the use of antibiotics and the consumption of processed foods have lead to an decrease of helpful bacteria (probiotics) in the intestines that is unhealthy, experts agree. This has been shown in laboratory animals that were raised to be germ-free, which became frequently sick, exhibiting greatly underdeveloped immune systems. Normally a healthy colon will contain anywhere from 100 billon to 1,000 billion beneficial bacteria per milliliter. Poor diet, stress, sickness, anti-biotics, etc. can reduce this number to 4 to 5 billion per milliliter, yes you see that big gap. We are what we eat!
Some studies have shown Probiotics can help to prevent or control:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
- Chronic diarrhea
- Food and skin allergies in children
- Bacterial vagniosis
- Recurrent ear and bladder infection
- Food poisoning
- Stomach ulcers
- Promote appearance of skin
- The list goes on and on…
These are some great benefits to enjoy from the use of probiotics, and this may just be the start.
What Probiotics Are Best?
Probiotics that you pick up in the store are just the beginning. These products will not contain the levels that cultured foods do, still we have to start our journey somewhere. Look for probiotics that contain L. acidophilus, L. salllvarius, L. rhamnosus and L. plantarum. Good ones will also contain fructoollgosaccharides which help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Be cautious when starting probiotics. Start slowly. There can be a die-off of the old bad bacteria in your intestinal tract, which can lead to gas, upset stomach, and cramping that can last for 2 to 3 weeks or more. What do I mean by start slowly? Maybe you want to only start with half the recommended daily amount on the label and see how that works with you for a week or so. Being conservative is always a better way to start, you can always move up as you feel more confident.
Probiotics do not give you the right to keep eating fast food, junk food, and unbalanced diets. They are not the magic pill that makes it all better. Yes, you may see some health benefits from the use of probiotics, but in a few months you will plateau and your health will not progress until you change the types of foods that you are eating. We are meant to eat healthy “live” foods which provide our probiotics just like our ancestors who enjoyed abundant health. Our fancy houses, advanced cars, and technology does not change who we are or how we were created.
Many would tell you now is the time to start your healthy diet, but I say no. Do some planing first and get your education in place. What changes are you going to make and why. Also, do you even know what your current diet is? Often people just grab what ever is handy and easy to eat. You have to first look at what you are eating before you can make changes. We offer a free e-class “Advancing Your Health with Real Food”, that will help teach you the basics of healthy eating. Yes, this is free! No credit card info needed. If you add your comments to each section of the class I will reply personally with suggestions.
Eat Your Probiotics!
I would much rather eat my way to health. After all, this is how our ancestors did it in the past and I am not talking about cave men. How about the great explorers of our world, they could not pick up some health at the store. It was a lifestyle. But they did have an advantage on us! There was no fast food places to stop in and grab a burger, so they ate the foods they preserved. Often these foods were preserved with some form of fermenting.
Fermented foods are super charged with good, naturally occurring probiotic bacteria. These foods are the next level up. Some of these foods you know; homemade yogurt, sauerkraut, and fermented vegetables. I can’t say enough about how fermented foods are a game changer in the thing called health. One serving of fermented foods contains about 1,ooo times the amount of probiotics as the best probiotic pill out there. Doctor Natasha McBride, maker of the GAPS diet, is a great user and proponent of fermented foods. Her diet helped her Autistic child to step beyond his autism. Here is an article to help you discover fermented foods, Lacto-Fermenting Saves Money, Health, & Energy.
If you are interested in making probiotic rich foods yourself, we offer an eCourse, Lacto-fermenting: The Easy & Healthy Way, along with the hardware needed for ease and convenience.
You don’t have to wait for New Years to make a resolution, or change. Change starts with a choice. Make the choice to start looking at what you can do to make a difference for tomorrow. Do look at the recipes, free class and other tools I have mentioned here today to being your change. Sign up for our Free Newsletter. If you need some help write me off the contact form, I would be more than happy to give some advice.