Getting my clients’ guts on track has been top priority lately. I’ve had a few clients come to me with various issues ranging from poor digestion to lower GI problems, as well as just not feeling back to “normal” after a nasty cold. The first thing we examine is their diet, and specifically, if they are getting their daily dose of probiotics. Your gut is home to trillions of friendly bacterial microbes that help keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy. Yet, the by-products of everyday living (i.e.; highly processed foods, stress, too much alcohol, or a recent round of antibiotics to kill off that nasty cold) can throw the balance of healthy bacteria versus “bad” bacteria off, therefore causing GI upset and lowering resistance to disease.
When ingested daily, probiotics make themselves at home in the gut, making the environment inhospitable for bad bacteria and microbes. They encourage regularity, produce B vitamins as a by-product (shown to help reduce inflammation caused by stress), produce Vitamin K (which regulate proper blood clotting and bolsters bone density) and help produce enzymes that aid in metabolism. All that, plus they provide a protective layer to guard against bad bacteria carried into the body by food, air and drink.
Where do I get by daily dose of probiotics? I used to take a supplement, but I have found so many delicious foods that provide a good amount. My favorite product is Lifeway Nonfat Bio Kefir (basically a milk smoothie that comes in a 3.5oz container), but I also make a great smoothie from flavored kefir and fresh fruit. I make a large smoothie and share it with the kids. That way they’re getting their daily dose, too! (Click here for my immune boosting Probiotic Super Smoothie)
Other foods high in probiotics include: aged cheeses, beer (microbrews), cottage cheese fortified with probiotics, kimchi, miso, pickled ginger, sauerkraut, tamari, tempeh, tofu, wine, and yogurt.
Look for my next post where I talk about probiotic's best friend, the “prebiotic”. You didn’t think probiotics could do all that cool stuff without a sidekick, did you?