Probiotics are the good bacteria in our gut which are essential for good health as they keep the intestinal function healthy, they assist in the digestion of necessary nutrients making them more absorbable, they keep the immune system strong and help prevent disease causing bacteria which if build up, would lead to a large number of autoimmune diseases.
Un-fortunately, most people are walking around with more bad bacteria than good for two reasons: 1, they are promoting bad bacterial growth; through eating sugars (and yes, that includes grains), alcohol, caffeine, drugs, preservatives and too much stress. It’s also important to note that antibiotics destroy all good bacteria, along with the bad bacteria, so after any course of antibiotics an increase in Probiotics is essential; and,2, they don’t consume enough good bacteria in the form of cultured or fermented vegetables, kefir, kombucha, raw apple cider vinegar and/or probiotic supplementation. Consuming good bacteria on a daily basis will keep the good bacteria in the gut and keep the bad bacteria at bay, leaving your health and immune system much stronger.
Because the good bacteria assists in digestion, if you’re gut is alive with them, you’re body is more likely to absorb even more of the good foods, for example, if you eat 100g of protein and you don’t have much good bacteria in your gut, your body might digest and assimilate around 60% of that, but if your gut is rich in good bacteria your body will be able to digest and assimilate up to 90% of it.
The digestion process also requires digestive enzymes which are necessary for the breakdown and assimilation of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Enzymes are rich in raw, organic fruits and vegetables and grass fed hormone free meat, so if you eat a lot of these foods your body should be getting enough enzymes to assist in the breakdown of foods. However, as I mentioned above, society makes this hard to do day in day out, especially when other environmental factors come into play as well, such as time and money. Buying fruits and vegetables which aren’t grown in an organic environment and vine ripened do not contain a high nutritional value as those fruits and vegetables that do. Applying heat to these food sources also reduces the enzymes.
To obtain a natural source of good digestive enzymes from fruits and vegetables, I recommend whole food supplementation which consists of raw, organic, vine-ripened fruits and vegetables, providing not only enzymes, but antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as well. In an ideal world you would eat substantial amounts of RAW high quality fruits and vegetables. But we do not live in an ideal world and we all need to find other ways of increasing the nutritional intensity of our diets for prevention of disease.
Most people will feel they get their daily dose of good bacteria through yogurt, although yogurt contains good bacteria, it is a weaker form of good bacteria which only consists of two strains. The longer the strains the good bacteria consists of, the better it is, so getting more variety in food sources containing good bacteria the better.
Earlier I mentioned how the majority of the chicken we eat is drug enhanced, especially in the form of antibiotics. These antibiotics will end up in our bodies when we consume the chicken and they will go to work in our bodies damaging and killing our insides. Antibiotics are an extremely harsh drug; they kill all bacteria, good and bad, which when taken indiscriminately can lead to a huge amount of damage to the body.
So if you want to achieve optimal health, you really need to achieve optimal gut health through the consumption of Probiotics. If you don’t already consume cultured foods at least three times a day on a regular basis, I highly recommend getting your hands on a good probiotic. You can get liquid Probiotics which are from whole food sources; this is not supplementation on any kind, as you are consuming the beneficial bacteria from whole food sources which have been fermented, so if you hate the word ‘supplementation’ and won’t have anything to do with it, you have no reason to ignore a good quality probiotic in this form.
A lot of probiotic capsules on the market are made in a lab and generally not from whole food sources; therefore it will be foreign to the body and may result in the probiotic not being very effective in the gut. A good way to find out if the probiotic capsule is from food or from the lab is to look on the ingredients, if the list contains foods then the capsules contain good bacteria from fermented foods, if the list just contains the good bacteria then it’s most likely made in the lab. Some Probiotic brands need to be kept in the refrigerator in order to keep the good bacteria alive, this then seems useless when the Probiotics get consumed and enters a body temperate of around 37degrees Celsius. Although Probiotics are best kept cool and refrigerated, they shouldn’t have to be in cool conditions all of the time to survive.
I recommend Grainfields fermented liquids; this is an Australian brand that makes high quality probiotic liquids through fermenting foods. Grainfields also makes some Body Ecology products. Apple Cider Vinegar is also a great source of good bacteria (and inexpensive), just be sure you get an apple cider vinegar which still contains the mother, Bragg is a good brand for Apple Cider Vinegar.
No one eats right, or eats enough of what they do need to stay healthy, we should all reap the benefits of all the good food we eat by aiding digestion with a diet rich in Probiotics and digestive enzymes; quality food is too expensive to leave in the toilet. Healthy Gut = healthy body.