Probiotics ~ Superfood or Too Good to Be True?

With claims of healing everything from gut infections to skin disorders, are Probiotics worth the hype? If you’re like most people you have no idea of what they are, where they come from and what they can do for you. I’ll briefly give you the low down so you know exactly what the deal is.

What are Probiotics?

In essence Probiotics are microogranisms such as live bacteria and yeasts that are similiar to the beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut.  They are also called “good bacteria” or “friendly bacteria”  Our bodies contain both – however when the “bad” bacteria outweighs the “good” issues will arrise. Now you may ask – how will the bad bacteria overgrow?  Simple – from the daily use of tap water (chlorine kills good bacteria, allowing bad to flourish), repeated or long term use of Steroids or Antibiotics, and a diet that throws off the balance (one that is typically heavy in processed food, sugars and unorganics will wipe out the good bacteria, allowing the bad to take over. Even the person living the utmost healthy existence, avoiding most of the practices that kill good bacteria – one round of antibiotics without replacing the good bacteria (via Probiotics) could set up a domino effect of some major health issues.

What can they do for me?

Pretty much – EVERYTHING and ANYTHING! Believe the hype, these little buggers are everything they claim to be – just look at the list below:

  • Enhanced immune system response
  • Reduces negative affects of taking many types of antibiotics
  • Aids in preventing and treating colon inflammation following surgery
  • Helps to prevent eczema in youth
  • Increased ability to digest food
  • Therapeutic for viral respiratory tract infections by enhancing the overall immune system
  • Reduces lactose intolerance
  • Reduces incidence of yeast infections, vaginitis and candidiasis
  • Increases ability to assimilate the nutrients from food
  • Alleviates many common digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea and IBS
  • Acts as a remedy for bad breath(halitosis)
  • Increases ability to synthesize vitamin B, calcium,zinc, iron, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium
  • Promotes anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity in the body
  • Protects against tooth decay & periodontal disease
  • Enhances the skin – Since the skin is a reflection of inner health a healthy inner ecosystem = healthy outer appearance. Additionaly the better absorption of foods, vitamins & minerals also will benefit the skin
  • Reported to assist weight loss – with the benefits of better digestion and food transit through the body, less energy is wasted on digesting foods plus a clean gut absorbs nutrients better. When you crowd out the bad bacteria and let the good bacteria thrive your belly will eventually flatten – no bloating, no gas so in turn you will lose a few inches.
  • Reduced cravings for carbs and sugar.

Wow – pretty exhaustive list, isn’t it?  And thats not even all the benefits. Basically, anyone following a healthy, unprocessed, organic, whole foods diet or cleansing regimen should definitely consider adding probiotics to their daily arsenal. One caveat though, if you’re going to continue eating “crap” – in the form of processed foods, excess sugars and unorganics – save your money! Probiotics are one of those things that will only work for you if YOU work for them.  As seen above they are delicate flora that can easily be wiped out.

In my opinion, I can’t live without them! As soon as I stop the eczema flares ( a patch on the back of my neck), my skin doesn’t look as healthy and my digestion comes to a grinding halt.  Now, I believe I just happen to be one of those people that really benefits from daily probiotic consumption (too many extended courses of antibiotics and medication).  My probiotic of choice is fermented veggies – I just made a delicious batch of Kimchi and I can’t live without my Kefir water or occasional kombucha. There are really soo many delicious food sources of probiotics – you must try at least one.  Now, with that being said, i also insure I back it up with daily dose of probiotic supplements – always rotating the brand/strength as they each offer something a bit different.  Soo eat up, drink up- To your health 🙂

Probiotic Parfait – aka “Flatten Your Belly Dessert”

How many foods can actually make the claim that not only do they taste sinfully rich and delicious but they will also flatten your tummy? I thought soo….but this really does it – additionally it will add luster to your hair, help digestion, clear toxins, support your thryoid and stop aging…too good to be true? Not at all….

Take:

  • meat from 5-6 young thai coconuts
  • 6 probiotic capsules (be sure they include l-plantarum
  • bit of coconut sugar (optional)

Add the above to a high speed blender with 4-6 oz of the coconut water (the texture should be thick and creamy – think heavier than yogurt but not as thick as greek yogurt).  Pour into glass mason jar, secure lid and leave in warm place (ideally 70-75 degrees) for 8-12 hrs (the longer will product a tartier mix {yes, tartier is a word – it means extra tart!})  Layer in parfait glasses with berries….and Enjoy (ummm, how could you NOT?)Image

4 Foods Women Should Never Be Without

While there are endless amount of healthy fruits and vegetables that should make up a healthy diet there are certain foods that standout as “superstars” in that they target specific conditions. One area every woman should be concerned with is HORMONAL Imbalance. Most doctors are quick to prescribe pills to combat this but there is a safer alternative (and cheaper!) — many foods hold the solution. The four foods below should be included weekly if not daily to support estrogen balance for women of any age.

 
 
1. Cruciferous Veggies – Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage and Cauliflower are the BEST. They defend against female cancers, especially Breast Cancer.  The indoles found in cruciferous veggies inactivate the active form of estrogen making them weaker. Also found to have enzymes that de-activate carcinogens and contain compounds that suppress tumors and halt cancer cell growth. One caveat though – women with hypothyroid should eat cruciferous veggies cooked as in their raw form they can inhibit the uptake of thyroid hormone. Quick recipe tip – Slow Roast fresh broccoli stalks with a sprinkle of olive oil, sea salt and crushed garlic – even broccoli haters will be tempted to try this one.
 
2. Fiber Rich Foods – Whole Grains in unprocessed forms and Beans are needed to “sweep” out excess toxins – including excess hormones. Perfect choices are Brown Rice, Quinoa, Lentils, Split Peas and Garbanzos. Choose dry beans over canned to eliminate preservatives and BPA (found in the lining of most canned products)
 
3. Healthy Fats – Ovaries depend on unsaturated fats for hormonal balance and fertility. Perfect choices are deep water fish, avocado’s, raw nuts & seeds and unrefined, unfiltered oils like Flax Seed and Olive oil. Flax is especially important as it contains lignans, which balance hormones and stabilize estrogen/progesterone ratio. Added bonus is soft, supple skin, reduced wrinkles and lush hair!
 
4. Probiotic Rich Foods – Enzyme and Probiotic rich foods not only help with digestive balance but also support the immune system and help with radiant skin in addition to metabolizing and recycling hormones (this is a good thing!) Natural, vegetarian choices are preferred over commercially sold yogurts. Good options are Kim Chi or other types of cultured veggies, kombucha and kefir.