When you think of bacteria, some thoughts that come to mind are illness, infections, germs, and gross. How do consuming friendly bacteria sound? Not too appetizing, right? Well, there’s a group of beneficial bacteria that can dramatically improve your health. The microorganisms that I’m referring to are called probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms naturally found in the human gut. Probiotics aid in the maintenance of the healthy balance of intestinal flora. The key to a healthy intestinal flora is to maintain a large number of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
BENEFITS OF PROBIOTICS
- Probiotics assist with nutrient absorption, vitamin production, and maintaining a healthy GI tract
- Can improve constipation, alleviate diarrhea, and help normalize digestive disorders
- Aid in digestion by producing enzymes which help breakdown the food we eat
- Reduce bloating and flatulence
- Strengthen overall immunity and increase resistance against infections
- Provide resistance against damage from pollutants and radiation
- Regular consumption can accelerate weight loss in women
- Help diminish anxiety and depression
Studies have found that when pregnant or breastfeeding women take probiotics, their babies are significantly less likely to get eczema!
BRISTOL STOOL CHART TYPE 6
Bowel health is not a comfortable subject for most people but such a discussion is necessary when your health is involved. Your stool is an indicator of your internal health. Pictured below is Type 6 from the Bristol Stool Chart.
TYPE 6 Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
Type 6 stool typically occurs when there’s an imbalance in gut bacteria. The mushiness implies that inadequate water has been reabsorbed from the stool due to rapid transit time. Type 6 could also indicate malabsorption (poor absorption) of nutrients. To replenish intestinal flora, probiotic supplementation may be of assistance.
PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS
The best sources to repopulate your gut with good bacteria are from probiotic rich foods. Here are five of my favorite natural probiotic sources that are dairy and soy free:
Inner-Eco is a coconut water kefir and it contains a high supply of probiotic cultures. I occasionally buy the Original Inner-Eco and take 1 tablespoon in the morning for 30 days. Inner-Eco contains 100 billion probiotic cultures in every tablespoon!
Kevita Probiotic Drink
Kevita is a fizzy probiotic beverage made from water kefir. This refreshing non-dairy drink is loaded with four strains of live probiotics. The Kevita Lemon Ginger is my favorite!
Raw Sauerkraut and Kimchi
Rejuvenative Foods sells a variety of raw, organic fermented foods but I prefer their raw sauerkraut and kimchi products. Raw sauerkraut and kimchi are fermented foods that contain rich sources of lactobacilli and other live probiotic enzymes. FYI: Raw sauerkraut tastes different from the sauerkraut that’s used in Reuben sandwiches or to garnish Polish sausages.
Coconut Grove Yogurt
Coconut Grove Yogurt is the best soy free and non-dairy yogurt I’ve ever had! Coconut Grove yogurt is relatively new to the market and I’m happy this company exists. The ingredients in their coconut yogurt are simple and organic…including the fruit! For those of you who are not a fan of coconut flavors, it doesn’t taste like coconut. It tastes like regular yogurt but with a richer flavor.