As you may already know, there are two types of bacteria in the human body.
Bad bacteria – responsible for a wealth of illnesses and diseases. Too much of these in your digestive tract causes lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome and other diseases.
Good bacteria – commonly referred to as “probiotics” or beneficial bacteria.
In a nutshell, probiotics are yeasts and live bacteria that are extremely important for your immune system, as well as for your digestive system. They are also known as gut bacteria.
Unfortunately, antibiotics are known to kill both the good and the bad bacteria. This is why it often happens that our probiotics levels plummet after a treatment with antibiotics.
For this reason, many doctors recommend us to take probiotic supplements in conjunction with the antibiotics.
The good news, however, is that you do not need to resort to synthetic probiotics – you can naturally increase your daily consumption of probiotics by making some small dietary changes! Read on to learn more about the health benefits of probiotics and how you can increase intake of probiotics for optimum digestive health.
How Do Probiotics Work?
Before moving on to probiotic foods that are naturally rich in good live bacteria, it is important to mention that probiotics can benefit your health from many points of view.
Not only do they strengthen your immune system and counteract the effects of the bad bacteria, but they can also help you achieve a smooth, healthy and glowing complexion by eliminating acne and the inflammation that occurs inside the body.
Moreover, probiotics are also known for their detoxification properties, as they can help you purge your body of toxins and chemicals.
They can stimulate the nutrient absorption, thus making it easier for your body to process vitamins and minerals.
How To Increase Your Intake Of Probiotics
If you have just finished an antibiotic treatment, or if you suspect that your probiotics levels are at an all-time low, then you can easily restore the balance by eating more sour foods and beverages, such as apple cider vinegar.
Sour products can increase probiotics in diet. They are high in acetic acid and gluconic acids, both of which are essential for creating the proper environment for probiotics to thrive, inside your body.
The apple cider vinegar is a rather versatile product that can be easily added to your dinner or lunch – you can add it to your soup, for instance.
Also, consider eating more fermented foods and veggies as well as they are a good source of probiotics: kimchi or sauerkraut are two of the best choices known for boosting the levels of probiotics.
Another great way to restore the probiotics balance is by simply eating more probiotic-rich foods, such as kefir or milk yogurt.
Ideally, try to consume these products along with the sour veggies and the apple cider vinegar mentioned above.
Two or three servings of kefir or yogurt a week are a great way to support the growth of good, live bacteria in your body. Kefir can easily be added to your morning smoothie (preferably, an organic smoothie).
Now that you know how to make your body more “probiotic-friendly”, it is important to make sure that the probiotic bacteria thrive by feeding them properly.
As mentioned above, these are live bacteria that must be fed with quality fiber. Soluble fiber will not only help you feel full for hours (thus helping your weight loss efforts), but it will also serve as fuel for your probiotics.
Chia seeds or flax seeds are two of the richest and healthiest sources of fiber you can find, althougth organic sweet potatoes should not be neglected either!
Probiotic strains are sometimes recommended to support gut flora. Some of the best strains of probiotics include:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus bifidus (bifidobacterium)
- Lactobacillus leuteri
- Lactobacillus gasseri
On the other hand, prebiotics also help achieve a healthy gut. Probiotics and prebiotics may sound similar but they are two different kinds of food ingredient. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients that promotes growth of healthy bacteria for an improved gut microbiome. Prebiotic foods rich in prebiotic fiber include:
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Raw and cooked onions
- Raw garlic
- Raw leeks
- Raw asparagus
- Under-ripe bananas
- Raw dandelion greens
- Acacia gum
Source: Dr Axe
Last, but not least, if you feel that you simply cannot restore the natural level of probiotics by tweaking your diet, then consider taking an organic probiotic supplement (Amazon) that will quickly and efficiently boost the good, live bacteria in your system for a healthy gut.
However, it would be useless to do that if you take antibiotics on a regular basis, as they can be very counter-productive. Avoid high-fat diet as this messes up with the digestion. A gluten-free diet also helps establish a healthy and balanced gut flora or gut microbiota.
Many people tend to take antibiotics for common colds and flus, when they are solely intended for treating serious infections.
To sum it all up, if you have decided to stimulate the growth of good bacteria in your human microbiome, you will need to:
- Eat more sour fruits and veggies
- Know more about probiotic and prebiotic foods.
- Consume one or two spoons of apple cider vinegar a day
- Add several glasses of kefir or yogurt a week
Moreover, chia and flax seeds serve as great “fuel” for your probiotics, so make sure to consume at least two servings a week!
On a personal note… Several years ago I had a rash on my face which continued to get worse and would not go away. After visits over months to the doctor and several creams and ointments nothing worked.
I went to another doctor who takes a more natural approach. He pin pointed the problem almost immediately – my gut. With some diet changes and probiotics the rash went away within weeks.
More and more we are learning the importance of “gut health” to the overall health of our body and “good bacteria” is where it all starts!
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