Probiotics / Beneficial Bacteria

Probiotics / Beneficial Bacteria

yogoberriesFermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, raw sauerkraut, and kombucha, are very important for good health. The good bacteria (probiotics) are beneficial to the digestive tract, crowd out and kill yeast and pathogenic bacteria, and increase enzyme and nutrient content in the food. Fermented food is essential for good health. Those that follow “traditional diets” use fermented foods as an essential part of good nutrition. For many generations, fermenting food was our only way to keep food fresh without refrigeration and during cold winters where vegetables could not be grown. We ate fermented foods daily, which ensured the intestinal tract would be populated with good bacteria and provided adequate nutrients. Today most of us eat zero fermented foods.

It is my belief that receiving probiotics through fermented food is the best way to colonize and repopulate good bacteria. We are fortunate to have some great quality probiotic supplements, but there is an advantage to eating fermented foods. Here are just some of the benefits of good bacteria (from Liz Lipski’s Digestive Wellness)

  • Make vitamins our bodies need and utilize, such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, A and K
  • Produce essential fatty acids (specially short-chained which are needed to sustain the good bacteria)
  • They digest lactose
  • Regulate peristalsis and bowel movements
  • Digest protein into amino acids (for use by the body)
  • Help infants establish good digestion, preventing colic, diaper rash and gas
  • Produce antibiotics and anti-fungal’s which prevent colonization and growth of bad bacteria and yeast/fungus
  • Support the immune system and increase the number of immune cells
  • Balance intestinal pH
  • Break down bacterial toxins
  • Have anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects
  • Protect us against environmental toxins like mercury, pesticides, pollution and radiation
  • Break down bile acids
  • Helps normalize serum cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Break down and rebuild hormones
  • Promote healthy metabolism

Eating live fermented foods help balance the inner terrain of the intestinal tract to allow for better repopulation and they contain far more bacteria than supplements alone can provide. Typical store bought probiotics have between 3-6 billion  bacteria, the most high quality of professional supplements have 25-50 billion, while homemade yogurt has 700 billion per cup. Homemade yogurt is superior to store bought yogurt because it is fermented for 24 hours instead of just 4 hours and is fresher.

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