Several years ago, I had a very bad bacterial infection that lasted 9 months and was finally cured with Chinese medicine, a clear liquid diet and a very healthy dose of probiotics. So I am a big fan! I’ve seen them work wonders with some of my clients and I’m glad to see that a lot of hospitals are now recommending them to patients – BUT they need to be the right kind.
GUT MICROBES – the next frontier in health and nutrition research. In other words, how does the good and bad bacteria in our guts impact our physical and mental health? Fascinating stuff!
We feed our guts “good” bacteria or probiotics when we consume fermented foods. This includes the German “sauerkraut”, the Korean “kimchi” and the Japanese “tempeh, miso and natto.” Not the commercially produced ones, but the “live, raw and unpasteurized” types.
Fermentation is the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance. Microorganisms like yeast and bacteria usually play a role in the fermentation process, creating beer, wine, bread, kimchi, yogurt and other foods. Source: https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/fermentation
SPECIES AND STRAINS
There are several different species of probiotics and they all play different roles. The two most common types are lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each species contains a variety of different strains. So for example, when you see the words L. acidophilus – L is the lactobacillus species and acidophilus is the strain. The primary dietary sources of this strain are yogurt, miso and tempeh.
The biggest benefit that we know of is that they shorten the duration of acute infectious diarrhea – diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection and diarrhea associated with antibiotic use. Who remembers taking antibiotics and then being told to counter-act them with a big bowl of yogurt? Probiotics is the reason.
They help reduce bloating and gas in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and boost our immune system. Preliminary studies have shown that they may be beneficial in promoting weight loss (although this may be because it helps you absorb food), improve good oral and mental health. More research is needed to confirm these benefits.
To learn more about probiotics – stay tuned for more blog posts this week.