by Amy Dendas
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria that keep our intestines happy and healthy. They are live microorganisms, that when consumed in adequate amounts, provide numerous health benefits.
What do probiotics do?
Probiotics help us
- properlydigest our food
- protect us from pathogens (harmful microorganisms)
- detoxify harmful compounds
- produce vitamins and other nutrients
- keep our guts healthy
- balance our immune systems
- have bowel regularity
- have optimal elimination of waste products (aka poop)
What happens if I don’t have enough probiotics in my intestines?
The health of your gut plays a significant role in the immune function and metabolism and it needs the proper balance of good bacteria to stay healthy. However stress, over-training, antibiotics and dietary and environmental pollutants can destroy the good bacteria in your gut. Therefore good bacteria needs to be replenished daily into the intestines daily due to the impact of being exposed to stress, over-training, antibiotics and dietary and environmental pollutants.
What are the best sources for probiotics?
Historically, probiotics were a regular part of our daily diet. Before refrigeration, fermenting foods was one key way we preserved them. Most of the Neolithic “traditional” cuisines around the world served fermented foods daily, if not at every meal – so there’s our food based sources of probiotics.
Today, food-based sources of probiotics include anything fermented and not pasteurized, as pasteurization will kill the bacteria. These foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, Kambucha Tea, lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables, yogurt, kefir and cheese, non-pasteurized meats like salami and some sausages.
Nowadays we also have supplements of probiotics, in pill or powder form. Which can be extremely helpful when the diet does not include fermented products.
Many individuals use probiotics on a daily basis to maintain digestive and immune health. A good range for a daily probiotic is between 5-10 billion CFUs. The higher doses of live cells are optimal for specific ailments or for specific minor health problems.When dealing with specific ailments, 15-45 billion CFUs is a good range. Some specific ailments that may be helped by higher doses of CFUs include Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, allergies, eczema, and some respiratory illnesses. For major health problems, be sure to see your personal health professional first.