Probiotics are something we keep hearing a lot about but many of us don’t know what they are, why we need them or how to get them. Today I’m hoping to unveil the mystery for you.
The Bacteria Within
Our guts are full of bacteria, both friendly and not friendly. We need a balance of both, as it all benefits us. The ratio that we need is 80% friendly and 20% not friendly. All too often, this ratio is the opposite of what we need. This causes all kinds of health problems. When we eat a diet full of nutrient depleted, processed food-like products, sugar and foods we are sensitive to, we feed the “bad” bacteria and lose the “good” bacteria. Due to this imbalance we get all kinds of problems including constipation or diarrhea, uncomfortable gas and bloating, yeast overgrowth resulting in fatigue, headaches, acne and body aches, leaky gut, seasonal allergies, food sensitivities, eczema, and a weakened immune system.
Benefits Of A Balanced Microbiome
Even a diet full of real food won’t help if the bacteria in our guts is so far out of balance. Having more good bacteria than bad means we are able to digest and use vitamins and nutrients we are consuming, have a reduction in gas and bloating after meals, a stronger immune system (i.e. get sick less often), less seasonal allergy symptoms, reduction in inflammation in your body (hello less aches and pains), and regular, comfortable bathroom breaks. 70% of our immune system is located in our guts. When we are full of good bacteria, they prevent viruses and the like from penetrating our gut lining. Thus, keeping us healthy and allowing our immune system to focus on other areas that might need attention. Also, by not constantly being bombarded with viruses and harmful bacteria, the immune system is not on high alert all the time. This in turn means our bodies are less likely to overreact when we are exposed to environmental things like pollen.
Where To Get Probiotics
Our good bacteria is under assault all the time with GMO’s, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics (even the kind in your hand santizer) and environmental toxins. We need to constantly be ingesting foods full of pre and probiotics. First, however, we need a lot of the good bacteria in place. If you have recently switched from the Standard American Diet to a real food, clean way of eating then you’re going to need some extra help. Food alone won’t do it. A good quality probiotic is a must, along with eating lacto-fermented foods and, of course, a real food way of eating. The fiber from fruits and veggies give us prebiotics. This is the food probiotics feed on, just like refined sugar and starches feed the bad bacteria. So it is very important to eat a lot of vegetables and some fruit. Lacto-fermented foods include:
- plain yogurt
- Kimchi and
- Kombucha tea
I don’t know about you, but other than yogurt none of those really sound appealing at first. I can promise you that there are ways to include them that are delicious and soon you’ll find yourself happily eating lacto-fermented foods daily and not needing to take probiotic capsules or powders.
Until you get to the point of enjoying these wonderful foods, there are a couple brands of probiotics I recommend. Make sure to request they are sent in the optional ice pack so that your probiotics arrive alive. Dead probiotics will be a waste of your money. I recommend taking them first thing in the morning or last at night on an empty stomach with a full glass of water. The two brands I recommend are:
Food sources are always the best, but these are second best along with a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables to keep feeding the helpful bacteria.