Gut Instinct

Did you know the most important part of your immune system is your gut? I just had a long conversation about this topic with my mother-in-law which  inspired this post. To help her understand the importance of taking probiotics regularly I explained  since 80% of the immune system is gut associated, it makes sense to seriously consider the benefits of probiotics on your overall health and fiber rich prebiotics that help those good bugs thrive.

Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. When probiotics and prebiotics are combined, they form a synbiotic. If you want to improve digestion, strengthen your immunity, prevent illness and have beautiful skin then read on and learn about the power of pro and pre-biotics.

Your digestive system has "good and "bad" bacteria, and maintaining the correct balance between the two is essential for optimal health. This little eco-system of bacteria aids in digestion, helps assimilate vitamins and nutrients, eliminates toxins and promotes a strong immune system. A probiotic is a bacterial organism that contributes to the health and balance of the intestinal tract. I heard it referred as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. You can get these from different sources, supplements or the most common, found in yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, and kefir. The greater the variety of fermented and cultured foods you include in your diet, the better, as each food will inoculate your gut with a variety of different microorganisms. Keep your gut healthy and take digestive enzymes, live probiotics and or a high quality supplement, omega 3 fats and gut healing nutrients like zinc and glutamine.

These supplements are available at most health food stores and look for  packaging  stating  it contains "active" or "live" cultures. There are many probiotics available that target specific side effects and conditions such as yeast infection, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even eczema. Depending on the antibiotic-related issue read the packaging clearly on each supplement to find the appropriate one for you. 

Probiotic Health Benefits

  • Managing lactose intolerance

  • Promotes a health digestive system aiding in eliminating things that can damage

  • Helps prevent colon cancer

  • Lowers Cholesterol

  • Lowers Blood Pressure

  • Reduces Inflammation, promoting clear and radiant skin and body

  • Boosts Immune System, used as an anti-biotic which will be effective in fighting off disease and infection.

  • Improves mineral absorption from other foods and vitamins so your body will be nourished

  • Helps prevents Urinary Tract Infection and bacterial vaginosis

  • Improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, candida

  • Improve or eliminate eczema, asthma and allergies, bloating and heartburn.

  • Alkalizes your body and restoring homeostasis

  • Increased energy

  • Restores "good bacteria" during use of antibiotics. Wait several hours after taking an antibiotic dose before taking probiotics in any form. While probiotics are helpful in restoring good bacteria to your system, consuming probiotics at the same time as antibiotics can make the antibiotic drugs slightly less effective. Depending on the length of treatment you can also consider starting probiotic after finishing all the prescribed medication and consider adding more fermented foods and yogurt, kombucha at this time.

Probiotic-Rich Foods

Dairy - yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, lassi (typical in India -a drink made from yogurt and water) aged cheeses like bleu, gouda, cheddar.

Fruit and Vegetables - brined olives and pickles, sauerkraut, korean kimchi, japanese tsukemono, pickled beets.

Soybeans - miso, tempeh, soy sauce, tamari, natto.

Non-dairy Beverage - kombucha

Grains - sourdough breads 

Prebiotic- Rich Foods

Veggies - tomatoes, artichokes, onions, chicory, greens, asparagus, garlic, leeks and  dandelion greens

Fruits - berries and bananas

Whole Grains - barley, oatmeal, flaxseed, wheat ( unless have a gluten intolerance)

Legumes - lentils,kidney beans, chickpeas, white beans, black beans. 

Until next time,