There’s so much information available about supplements that it’s overwhelming. It’s tempting to avoid making a decision and skip the supplement/vitamin aisle altogether. So let me help you weave through the quagmire of information. One simple way to nourish and nurture your health is through daily probiotics.
Probiotics offer a bounty of benefits—from digestive health to neurological wellness. Also, they restore a balance of healthy gut bacteria that supports your overall well-being.
Why Do You Need Probiotics
An estimated 60-80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, so it makes sense that a healthy gut leads to enhanced immunity.
Nutritionist Dr. Marilyn Glenville explains, “For every cell in your body, ten bacteria are living in the gut. That’s why the balance of bacteria is so crucial to your health in general.”
Along with eradicating the harmful bacteria, antibiotics destroy the beneficial (friendly) bacteria in your digestive tract.
A deficit in friendly bacteria can lead to:
- digestive issues
- skin conditions
- compromised immunity
- food allergies
- decrease in energy
Another culprit to gut imbalance is a diet low in nutrient-dense foods. Eliminate processed foods, refined flour, and sugar is a step in the right direction.
If you aren’t sure how to revise your eating plan, there are numerous resources to help you get started. One way to start rebuilding your gut health with the help of an eating plan is to consider doing the Whole30.
Here’s my FREE Healthy Eating Starter Kit that will help you kickstart and cultivate a new life of healthy eating.
Here’s something to remember. Whenever prescribing an antibiotic, your healthcare practitioners should ALWAYS recommend taking a high-quality probiotic. Please note, DO NOT take antibiotics and probiotics simultaneously.
Ways to Get Your Probiotics
For consumer convenience, probiotic supplements are available in the form of powder, capsule, or tablet.
Years ago, I investigated probiotics for my son, who suffered from leaky gut. At first, choosing a brand seemed daunting — so many choices.
Let’s decipher the probiotic label together.
- Read the probiotic strains listed on the label. The strains that show the most promise are a combination of Lactobacilli Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria Bifidum.
- Look for supplements that provide the genus, species, and strain.
- Examine the colony-forming units (CFUs). CFUs indicate the number of active or live organisms.
- Determine the serving size and read the directions on the bottle. Some probiotics need to be taken on an empty stomach. Since I am not taking an antibiotic, the probiotic that I currently use can be taken any time during the day on an empty stomach.
- Check the storage requirements. Probiotics contain living organisms, so proper handling and storage of your probiotic are essential. Please note, some brands require refrigeration.
- Choose uncoated probiotics. The coating adds unknown, possibly, synthetic ingredients, to your supplement.
Whatever product you select, this is for certain, keep probiotics in a cool, dry place, unless specifically labeled “refrigeration” required.
Before you purchase probiotics, ask the question, “how will that formula or brand benefit you or someone in your family specifically.”
Dr. Marta Schauch notes that for women’s health, “probiotics aid with the detoxification (cleanse) and binding (for release) of harmful estrogens in the digestive tract.”
Fermented foods are a natural source of built-in probiotics. Indeed, these foods bring beneficial bacteria, enzymes, nutrients, and detoxifiers that your immune systems and digestive tracts need, suggests Charlotte Pike author of Fermented.
Without knowing it, you’ve probably eaten fermented foods, therefore, benefited from the good bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi (Korean cabbage and vegetables), yogurt, sourdough bread, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, and miso (Japanese soy paste) are some of the more popular fermented foods available.
Often, industrially crafted fermented foods could contain isolated strains of probiotics which means less potency. Another consideration, fermented foods designed for shelf-life in the supermarket require pasteurization. The pasteurization process weakens probiotic strains.
If you have time and interest, homemade batches of fermented foods might be an alternative to store-bought.
A few final words of caution when buying fermented foods, always opt for yogurt with a label of no-sugar-added” and “live cultures.” Scrutinize the ingredient list and refuse to buy a brand containing anything suspicious.
Quite often, consumers buy yogurt with the expectation that the product will help with issues like yeast overgrowth. Yogurt with added sugar and artificial coloring dramatically reduces the benefits of the fermented product.
To really get the maximum benefits of probiotics, incorporate fermented foods in your eating plan along with a daily probiotic supplement.
Some of My Fave Probiotic Resources