The human body contains various yeasts and bacteria’s that can be both harmless as well as harmful. It is important to maintain a balance of these good and bad bacteria’s in order to promote good health.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotic means “for life” and foods that have been fermented by the beneficial bacteria’s our bodies need are considered to be probiotic foods. Your body has several strains of beneficial bacteria’s living inside your intestines and they are very sensitive to any pH changes. When you consume a diet that consists of sugars, low fiber items, processed foods and refined flour your body’s pH shifts and more harmful bacteria’s take over. Consuming a probiotic diet high in beneficial bacteria such as L. acidophilus will help to counterbalance that high level of acid and balance out your body’s pH.
Beneficial bacteria’s in your intestines will help to promote digestion as they feed on the food in your body and create byproducts that are compromised of predigested food molecules that aid your system with the digestion process. Dig deeper on how probiotics promote healthy digestion.
The harmful bacteria’s in your body will also create byproducts such as neurotoxins and with these building up over time you are more susceptible to serious illnesses. Loading your body up with good bacteria’s is a great first defense against these serious medical conditions.
Types Of Probiotic Foods
The majority of Americans have disregarded the importance of probiotic’s in their diet while other cultures have embraced the benefits of probiotic foods for centuries. If you want to incorporate probiotic’s into your diet there are various fermented foods and cultured foods that contain the probiotic bacteria that are easily accessible through your local health food stores and even many grocery stores.
Yogurt is the most common food that contains probiotic bacteria, but be sure that the brand you buy contains the live cultures, many brands do not. Learn more on why yogurt is good for you.
Buttermilk contains large amounts of beneficial bacteria and can be found in your local supermarket. For those who do not like the tangy taste or the texture it can be combined with fresh fruit to make a great tasting smoothie.
Kefir is a milk drink that is made from fermenting milk with kefir grains. The milk can be from a cow, goat or sheep and the kefir grains once added will ferment the milk over night turning it into a sour drink that is often mixed with fresh fruits or other naturally sweeteners.
Tempeh is fermented soy that has a texture similar to chewy meat. The beneficial mold that forms as the soy beans are fermented is a high source of probiotic’s and vitamin B12.
Miso is a seasoning originating from Japan that is made from fermenting various beans and grains. The seasoning is used in soups, spreads and sauces and depending on the bean or the grain it is made from can be considered one of the below types:
Sauerkraut is pickled or fermented cabbage and is a popular source of probiotic’s. The Sauerkraut has a great number of health benefits especially when they are naturally fermented.
Kim Chi is similar to sauerkraut as it is fermented cabbage as well, but the odor and the taste is much more pungent. The taste offers a strong spiciness.
Brewer’s yeast is a byproduct that is formed in the beer making process and contains all of the nutrients that are cast off during beer manufacturing.
Organic raw kombucha is a tangy ancient fermented drink with a taste that is similar to carbonated vinegar and is believed to be rich in probiotics and other health benefits. Take note that kombucha should be served raw to get the most benefits.
If you do not have access to cultured foods or fermented foods that are listed above you can still get the benefits of probiotic’s by taking natural supplements.
What Do Probiotics Do?
Probiotics offer many benefits to the human body that include better digestive health and fighting off many health issues. The human body needs good bacteria’s and with usage of antibiotics that kill off all bacteria’s, even the good probiotic foods can help restore the healthy balance in the body’s intestines and promote better health.
Be sure that the foods you purchase claiming to have the”live cultures” actually do. There are many yogurt brands that use so many fillers and added sugars that the cultures are often killed off. Dairy based probiotic foods are often faced with hormones and antibiotic residues that can create a problem for your body’s digestion. Look for reliable organic brands when shopping for probiotic foods and for the best benefit buy only the unsalted, unsweetened and unflavored yogurt and kefir products. Cultured foods such as vegetables should be purchased in their raw and unsalted form. Salts can destroy the beneficial bacteria’s just a heat can, so when you can eat your cultured vegetables raw it is recommended to do so in order to gain the most benefit.
There are various strains of beneficial bacteria and they all have their own unique benefit they offer. Some of the good probiotic bacteria that you will find in cultured foods and fermented foods are:
- Lactobacillus Bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus Johnsonii
- B. Infatis
There are various strains that come from the above bacteria’s as well as many others that are being developed.
People incorporate probiotic foods or supplements into their diet in order to assist with symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal issues as well as to promote better health. Since the various strains offer unique benefits it is recommended that you eat foods or take supplements that offer a variety if strains to ensure the best health benefits.
Fermented and cultured foods have been around for centuries and even before anyone really knew what their actually benefits to our health was, they knew the probiotic foods were important to maintaining good health.
Although probiotic’s foods are considered safe for anyone, there are those who need to be cautious. For those who are lactose intolerant try the vegetables or supplements as a source. Anyone with weakened immune systems, or history of pancreatic disorders should consult their doctor before changing their diet. Always read the labels and follow any directions for use.