Are you new to the world of probiotics and fermented foods? For some of us, all the science involved can be intimidating, but knowing is the first step to improvement. This FAQ is for anyone interested in learning more about the ‘friendly bacteria’ that live in our bodies.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics is the common term for a family of bacteria (lactobacillus), that is extremely beneficial to human health. They live in the intestinal tract, and not only help us to properly digest and absorb nutrients that are key to our survival, but also manufacture B vitamins, produce substances that inhibit harmful (or pathogenic) bacteria, and strengthen our immune system. They were found in abundance before refrigeration and mass production, but are sadly missing from foods now due to processing techniques. I recommend many of these foods to my clients that are ready to reach optimal health. The first place to start in recovering our gut, is by replenishing these life giving organisms.
How Are Probiotics Connected To Cultured Or Fermented Foods?
Cultured foods contain these friendly bacteria, and used to be eaten daily. When we started mass producing our food, ketchup was a fermented condiment. Sauerkraut was teeming with wonderful healthy bacteria, but then we began pasteurizing everything and our food lost its healing benefits. I love probiotic supplements, yet to really recover our gut, we should consume friendly bacteria in our foods and drinks every day.
What Are Some Traditional Cultured Foods?
- Kimchi (Korea)
- Kefir (Russia)
- Raw sauerkraut (cultured veggies), Germany
- Yogurt (Greece, India)
- Miso (Japan)
- Natto (Japan)
What Does The Term ‘Intestinal Flora’ Mean?
The intestinal flora is a commonly used metaphor that describes the bacteria living in our intestines. There are at least 10 times as many bacteria as human cells in our body. Everyone lives with this intestinal flora, and without it, we’d die. People whose intestinal flora lacks certain bacteria (such as those found in cultured foods), often suffer from Candida, weak immune systems, poor sleep patterns, and many other ailments (both physical and emotional).
What Makes Our Intestinal Flora Unhealthy?
Factors that disrupt the balance of your Intestinal Flora include:
- Antibiotic Medications
- Inorganic Antibiotic residues in meat and dairy products
- Chlorinated and Fluorinated water
- Continual Stress
- Diets high in sugar and simple carbohydrates (like fast food)
- Estrogen Replacement
- Exposure to Radiation (CAT Scans, excessive medical X-Rays)
- Oral Contraceptives
- Poor Digestion / Constipation
- Toxic Chemical Intake (such as Steroids)
Do Cultured Foods Make A Good Weight Loss Program?
Probiotics are recommended for helping you lose weight because they aid the body in the digestion process, and they do help reduce your cravings for sugar.
Can Probiotics Fit Into An Active Lifestyle?
Probiotics are actually recommended by many sports trainers because they reduce muscle inflammation and help athletes process carbohydrates more efficiently.
How Difficult Are Cultured Foods To Prepare, And Do They Taste Good?
These foods come in so many forms they can accommodate nearly any taste; yogurt is a great example of a cultured food that millions of people enjoy every day. If you have children, you can make some sweet tasting probiotic snacks, and working with cultured foods can range from the simple to the complex, depending on your skill level.
What Are The Physical Benefits Of Probiotics?
- Proper function of nutrients and better absorption of nutrients
- Prevent and fight food sensitivities
- Decreased bloating and heartburn
- Bowel function improved
- Decreased incidence of Candida and Yeast Infections
- Essential fatty acids manufactured
- Immune system cells increased
- Fights infection and reduces inflammation
- Joint and muscle function improved
- Aids in digestion of lactose and protein
- Liver function improved
- Prevents growth of harmful bacteria and viruses
- Decrease in cavities and ear infections
- Protection against pesticides, toxins, and pollutants