What are probiotics? Why do I need them? I get asked these questions a lot so I thought I’d share some more information on the blog. To be honest, I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner!
What are Probiotics? What do they do?
Probiotics are essentially “good bacteria” that line your gut. These “good guys” and are responsible for a number of tasks including:
- Nutrient Absorption
- Digestive Health
- Mood Stabilisation
- Production of Vitamin K2, Enzymes, B-Vitamins and SCFA Butyrate
- Crowding out the “bad bacteria”, yeasts and fungi
- Modulation of the IgA and IgG immune cells, B & T Cells and our inflammatory response
- Immune Modulation
- Healthy bowel movements (read more about this here).
Do we have enough?
Given we’re currently exposed to an unprecedented level of environmental toxins, medications, antibiotics, processed foods, sugars and STRESS our natural level of probiotics or “good bacteria” comes under fire. Coincidentally, whilst all of the above suppresses our “good bacteria” numbers, they also make way for the opportunistic “bad bacteria” to take it’s place. When “bad bacteria” outweighs the good, we experience a number of conditions like that of digestive disorders, skin issues like that of psoriasis and eczema, candida, autoimmune disease and frequent colds and flus.
How do I boost my probiotic population?
Historically, we also managed to eat a whole lot of probiotics in our food, not only from the soil as the vegetables were pulled from the garden, but also via the art of natural fermentation given the lack of refrigeration, lack of pasteurisation and of course the lack of processed foods. These days, this is simply not the case anymore. So what do we do?
In order to boost our intake and lifespan of health promoting “good guys”, you may want to consider the following:
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Whilst Apple Cider Vinegar contains some probiotics, it also contains gluconic acid and acetic acid, that helps create a hospitable pH level in the body. This level of pH helps support the growth of probiotics in our system. Add 1 tbsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar to your a small glass of water twice daily, preferably before meals.
- Eat Probiotic Rich Foods – There’s a lot to discuss, so jump on over to ‘My Favourite Probiotic Foods‘ for more information.
- Feed the Probiotics – Probiotics are living organisms, if they’re going to live a long and happy life, they need food. These guys love to eat soluble or fermentable fibre i.e. the fibre found in fresh fruits and vegetables (at least 4 cups daily), even chia seeds and flaxseeds.
- Supplement – If you’re looking for a boost, you may want to consider a probiotic supplement. Given that there are many different strains of probiotics, all of which support different outcomes in the body (weight management, hormonal balance, digestive complaints and immunity), I highly recommend talking with a qualified Nutritionist or Nutritional Medicine Practitioner for specialist advice. Probiotics can also differ dramatically in quality and quantity (especially as more and more companies jump on the bandwagon). In order to avoid wasting your $$ (as some of these are quite expensive), I always recommend starting the right way, the first time round 😉
Do you take Probiotics? Have you found they have helped improve your health?