Studies have found a link between increasing rates of autoimmune disorders such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease and the disruption of balance among flora microbiota.
It is also estimated that close to 70% of the population at some time has, or is suffering from digestive difficulties. Digestive disturbance is one of the most common conditions reported to general practitioners.
So...our Healthy Holistic Habit #1 is to get more little wigglies in your diet!
Probiotics & weight loss?
Yup, probiotics may even help you lose weight according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
In this study, 125 overweight people (men & women) followed a 12 week weight loss diet and a 12 week maintenance period. They instructed the participants to take a probiotic supplement every day but half of those received a placebo. As it turns out, after the first 12 weeks, those who took the probiotics lost almost double those who receive the placebo - 9.7 lbs vs only 5.7 lbs. After the second 12 weeks, those taking the placebo stayed at a stable weight while those taking the probiotic lost another 1.8 lbs on average. Interesting stuff!
So what exactly are probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help keep the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines. The normal human digestive tract contains bacterial in the trillions, with about 400 types. They help reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system.
The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in yogurt with live cultures, is the best known.
While all strains are helpful in one capacity or the other, human strains are the ones that help the gut repopulate.
How are probiotics formed?
In food, probiotics are created for the most part via the fermentation process. Fermentation simply collects the good bacteria and gives them the perfect place to flourish and grow. Fermentation organisms produce alcohol, lactic acid, and acetic acid, preservatives that retain nutrients and prevent spoilage. The amazing thing is that fermented vegetables can contain trillions of colony forming units of bacteria making one serving as potent as a bottle of probiotic supplements.
Beneficial fermented foods include miso, tempeh, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.
Most of these products must be kept cool & refrigerated in order to ensure the probiotics have the environment needed to survive.
Fermentation not only boosts friendly bacteria, but it also helps eliminate anti-nutrients which are compounds in food which can get in the way of the body’s absorption or usage of certain minerals. When grains, seeds and tubers are soaked, sprouted and/or fermented, poof…there goes the anti-nutrients.
As a result:
The food has more minerals
The food is more digestible
The other bonus is that vitamin B12 is a product of bacterial fermentation which is a vitamin that is not prevalent in plant foods.
Tips when choosing a probiotic supplement:
To improve your overall health, look for a probiotic that contains multiple varieties of Lactobacillus which is a type of bacteria that will give you broad-spectrum benefits. Lactobacillus acidophilus primarily live in the intestines and the vagina. The other lactobacillus strains that are effective are Lactobacillus bevis, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus casei.
You also want to ensure the supplement contains a variety of Bifidobacteria. Bifidobacterium are one of the key human strain species of bacteria that live in the colon. The most well-known Bifidobacterium is Bifidobacterium longum, with other strains such as Bifidobacterium breve and Bifidobacterium infants being beneficial as well.
Ensuring you are getting these two species will not only help kill off harmful bacteria, but will also help to repopulate the gut.
are formed by conscious choices that soon become unconscious ways of life. The good news is you have full control over this!
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© Lynnel Bjorndal ~ Healthy Holistic Habits