Today's question is:  ARE YOU FRIENDLY WITH YOUR FLORA?  How is your digestion?  Are you getting enough of those good little bacteria in your life? Probiotics might be a great answer for you.....

Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria found in either cultured and fermented foods or in supplement form. When consumed, the benefits of this bacteria go above and beyond our gut, positively impacting our overall health.

Traditionally, people prepared and ate cultured and fermented foods on a regular basis to support intestinal and systemic function.

Since the advent of the industrial revolution, particularly in Western societies, this practice has almost vanished with more processed, devitalized food on our plates. As a result, our health has suffered with chronic disease and autoimmune conditions on the rise.

By implementing probiotics into your diet, you may be able to avoid ill health while living a longer, healthier and more vital life.

There are many benefits to friendly are a few of my favorites.

Modulates Immune Function 

Up to 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract, with probiotics being a key contributor. Beneficial flora has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic effects, keeping our immune systems in check.

Another bonus is their ability to detoxify and rid the body of heavy metals. Consider adding a probiotic supplement into your daily regimen to reap these immune supportive benefits.

Vitamin K Production

Probiotics provide fuel for intestinal cells, enhance healing of bowel tissue, and support healthy cell proliferation in the intestines. Vitamin K, also produced when beneficial bacteria feast on fiber, helps with calcium absorption and healthy blood clotting.

The next time you make your favorite bean dish, be sure to add some delicious cultured butter, whey or saurkraut to the mix to boost the probiotic count.

Protects the intestinal barrier

Beneficial bacteria create a protective layer on the lining of the intestines, preventing the bad bugs from sticking around and ensuring that our gut, as well as our body, stays healthy and strong. When we have a robust intestinal tract, we are more able to digest and absorb nutrients effectively, a strong contributor to optimal health. Consider substituting a glass of kefir in place of milk. You won't regret it.

When looking for a probiotic supplement be sure you look for one with different strains of good bacteria.  This will broaden the positive effect and enhance your digestion and health more effectively.

Start slow, if you find you are sensitive when starting to supplement, start with a smaller dose and build yourself up.  You can even start with a child size dosage if you like.

Let those Friendly Flora into your life!  Prepare for a strong and healthy winter, and feel better than ever. Below are our favorite probiotic rich foods that you can add into your diet with ease.  Check them out.

One easy way to help regulate my system is to consume foods rich in probiotics.  Literally, probiotics means “for life” and is the name given to the friendly intestinal microflora and beneficial bacteria that reside within all of us.

There are many enjoyable ways to increase your probiotic intake through food.  You may have even tried some without knowing it!

1)   Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is loaded with extra B vitamins and vitamin C.  Fermented cabbage offers more of an anti-carcinogenic effect than its raw or cooked relatives.  You can make it, you can buy it.  It is a great garnish for many dishes.  Add it to your meat and veggies, add it to your eggs and rice.  You can't go wrong with a little sauerkraut.  Raw is best of course.  Found in the refrigerator section at the health food store.


 2)   Kombucha

Kombucha is a popular healthful beverage made by fermenting teas.  It produces a refreshingly light, sparkling, sweet & sour drink with a fruity fragrance full of healthy acids and nutrients.  Many people have cut out alcohol and replaced their diet with Kombucha which naturally helps elevate feelings of energy and a sense of well-being.  There’s a new local start up called Zeel which offers a crafted tea blend that suits the rest of the ingredients, and the flavors merge together during the steep.  We recommend going easy on the dosage and sticking to 6 ounces or so at a time.  That means you can stretch those average bottles out over a couple of days.


3)   Yogurt

I’m sure you have heard it before on a commercial or two of the benefits of yogurt, an easy to find tasty treat.  Although the yogurt aisle can be deceiving, as different bacterias are added to the milk as part of the fermentation process.  Non-pasteurized plain yogurt is your best option.  Avoid the sugary low fat versions, and go for the whole milk, high bacteria count types.  Allergic to dairy?  Try the coconut yogurt variations (avialable at health food stores) for a great dairy free option.

greek yogurt

4)   Microalgae

 This refers to super-food ocean-based plants such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae.  These probiotic foods have been shown to increase the amount of both lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract.  They also offer the most amount of energetic return, per ounce, for the human system.  Sprinkle on your popcorn, add to your smoothies, garnish your grains with a little spirulina or chlorella or take as a supplement.


5)   Kimchi

An Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi can be extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside meals in Korea.  Besides beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2.  Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods you can add to your diet, assuming you can handle the heat.  Try local favorite Zuke at the next farmers market or at Shine Restaurant.