Benefits ofprobiotics

The term probiotic was coined in 1965 and is derived from the Latin "pro-" which means "for" and the Greek "-biotic" which means "life."

At any given moment, you have somewhere between 10 trillion and 100 trillion microorganisms inhabiting your gut - that’s more microbes in your bowels than there are cells in your body.

What’s becoming more and more clear is that the microbes in the gut are crucial for the brain and mental health.

The latest research shows that the digestive tract and the central nervous system maintain a complex two-way line of communication via the "gut-brain axis."

Bacteria in your intestines might also send chemical messages to your brain. Some strains of gut bacteria can secrete neurotransmitters. The enteric nervous system lining the digestive tract contains millions of neurons that can respond to these neurotransmitters and send signals up to the brain.

"Death begins in the colon" because people without enough healthy microorganisms in their colon will get many different diseases.

A healthy gut should contain a proportion of approximately 85% "good" or "friendly" bacteria to 15% "bad" bacteria.

There’s little doubt that changing your diet changes the microbiome in your gut.

Antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, diet, ageing, or illness can upset this balance.

When your bacteria ratio is out of balance, it results in a condition called dysbiosis.

Symptoms of Dysbiosis can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor memory or spacey feeling
  • Insomnia and hypersomnia
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle and joint aches and pains
  • Alcohol intolerance
  • Itching
  • Frequent urination
  • Skin rash
  • Palpitations
  • Gas or bloating
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Candida
  • Body odours and bad breath
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Frequent colds

How do we prevent or treat dysbiosis? We need to work on bowel ecology. This includes what many practitioners regard as a 4 "R" program:

  1. Remove toxins; including food allergies, parasites, yeast,
  2. Replace stomach acid, digestive enzymes,
  3. Repopulate with the good bacteria, and
  4. Repair the bowel lining.

Eating probiotic-rich foods or taking probiotic supplements can help restore a healthy balance, or symbiosis.

Studies have shown that probiotic benefits from cultured foods include lowering the risk of:

  • brain disorders and mental illness
  • digestive disorders like leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis and IBS
  • mood disorders like depression and anxiety
  • cancer
  • asthma
  • hormonal imbalances
  • food allergies and sensitivities
  • metabolic conditions such as diabetes
  • obesity or weight gain
  • various autoimmune diseases
The benefits of bone broth

1. Yogurt

One of the best probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt. Look for yoghurts made from coconut or goat’s milk and infused with extra forms of probiotics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Goat milk yogurt is particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifudus, and bulgaricus.

2. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk drink, it’s flavour is naturally sweet, slightly bubbly and mild but a bit tangy as well. The drink is made either with kefir grains or a powdered kefir starter — the grains aren't an actual grain like wheat, but are made of bacteria and yeast, that resemble cauliflower. Kefir is high in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, kefir is also rich in antioxidants. It is usually sold as a drink, either plain or flavoured or it can be made at home.

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented. The fermentation process produces beneficial probiotics that are now linked to improvements in immune, cognitive, digestive and endocrine function. The type of fermentation that makes most foods “probiotic” (rich in beneficial bacteria) is called lactic acid fermentation. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits harmful bacteria growth.

There are also certain organic compounds found in sauerkraut that work as anti-inflammatory agents. Phytonutrient antioxidants contained in sauerkraut can double as anti-inflammatory agents, reducing the pain and discomfort of joints, muscles, or other inflamed areas.

4. Kimchi

Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with different vegetables as the main ingredients. The major ingredients of kimchi are cruciferous vegetables; and other healthy functional foods such as garlic, ginger, red pepper powder.

Health benefits of kimchi, based upon research, is not limited to its probiotics properties. Added health benefits includes anticancer, anti-obesity, anti-constipation, colorectal health promotion, cholesterol reduction, fibrolytic effect, anti-oxidative and anti-ageing properties, brain health promotion, immune promotion, and skin health promotion.

5. Kombucha

Kombucha has been around for centuries, probably a few millenia. Kombucha is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast" (SCOBY). Actual contributing microbial populations in SCOBY cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces and other species, and the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to acetic and other acids.

One study showed that Kombucha provides relief from discomfort cause by gastric ulcerations and also suggested that the efficacy of kombucha tea in healing gastric ulcers is at par with the commercially available drug, omeprazole.

Here is a nice kombucha recipe.

6. Miso

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients. The thick paste is used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup full of lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria.

7. Tempeh

A great substitute for meat or tofu, tempeh is a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soybeans. An interesting byproduct of the fermentation process is that the bacteria produce some vitamin B12, a nutrient that soybeans do not contain.

Read about the wonderful anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric or the gut healing properties of bone broth and delicious home-made gummy bears.