Meaning “for life”, probiotics are foods that contain microorganisms and promote health by contributing to intestinal microbial balance.
Probiotics reduce levels of harmful bacteria and yeasts in the intestines, produce enzymes to help digest food, absorb vitamins and nutrients and are involved in the production of B vitamins, help the body detoxify, and replenish and encourage the growth of good/friendly bacteria while killing harmful bacteria.
Other benefits of probiotics:
* Enhance Immune System function
* Improve efficiency of digestive tract
* Effective against skin conditions: acne, psoriasis, eczema
* Effective against allergies, migraines, gout, rheumatic and arthritic conditions, IBS
In contrast, antibiotics have an opposite effect, wiping out all bacteria both good and bad. Steroids (cortisone, prednisone, and birth control pills) also cause damage or imbalance in the intestinal flora.
What to do if you’ve ever taken medication, have digestive woes, skin issues or any of the other concerns previously mentioned? Try adding probiotics into your diet! I’ve always tried to find the most natural sources of healing for any malady, so whole foods are by far my most preferred method. From what I've studied, kefir, yogurt (not the sugary kind), and raw cheese are excellent sources, however, sauerkraut has become my personal favorite. I choose kraut made from organic cabbage, I've not ventured to make my own, although I hear it is super easy, so one day I plan to give it a try.
I must admit, it took me a while to come around to the idea of taking a probiotic supplement, but I finally gave them a try in December 2010 and quickly saw marked benefits. It’s important to be aware of the manufacturing processes when taking any supplement to make sure you are receiving the most benefit. As of 2012, I still take vitamins that include probiotics, but I choose to consume most of my probiotics from Beyond Organic foods and beverages.
Prebiotics are also important for intestinal health. Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers that supply nutrition to the good bacteria in our intestinal tract. One important benefit is increased calcium absorbtion and enhanced bone density.
Natural sources of prebiotics include:
With this list, it’s pretty easy to include at least one daily serving of prebiotic-rich foods.
* All facts gathered from Biblical Health Institute Study Program, The Raw Truth (Jordan Rubin), NFCS Newsletter December 2010.