Do you think that you only need probiotics after antibiotics?
Only 6 more sleeps till Christmas!
Our tree is up and lights flashing off and on 24 hours a day.
We’ve just celebrated J’s 6th birthday and preparations are in the making for 25 December when we’ll be all together with extended family.
It reminds me of Pink’s song from a few years back – this used to be a fun house, now it full of evil clowns! – Christmas can do that can’t it?!
But let’s not forget the reason for all of this celebration and togetherness….
Anyway, I’ve always thought that probiotics were something that you took after a course of anti-biotics.
Hands up if you thought that too!!!
Well it turns out that probiotics are even more important to take than just after antibiotics.
Our bodies have more than 20x the amount of bacteria to living body cells. And the bacteria in our digestive system have a huge role to lay in keeping us healthy.
A healthy digestive system and an immune system that is in great shape are imperative to your health and ability to fight infections.
The right bacteria have an important role to play too.
There are of course, good and harmful bacteria.
Harmful bacteria can cause infection or produce substances that lead to inflammation or cancer especially in the digestive system – think colon cancer.
What you choose to eat has a big impact on the balance of good vs. harmful bacteria in your gut.
As a result this has an impact on your overall health. Probiotics are the good bacteria made in your gut
Eating probiotics makes an impact in a number of ways;
As we age the amount of good bacteria declines so supplementing is a good idea.
There are 2 groups of good bacteria – and they help to control the bad guys.
The resident bacteria in your gut are;
Probiotics help to fight infections -
You can find probiotics in fermented foods and supplements. These are foods that include probiotics;
Buttermilk, yoghurt, cheese, kefir, lassi, leban, cottage cheese
Fermented vegetables, pickles in brine
Miso, tofu, tempeh, tamari, shoyu, soya yoghurt (all from soya)
Sourdough bread (from wheat/rye)
These foods listed above don’t contain Lactobacillus and Bifido bacteria that colonise the gut.
These foods contain other strains of probiotics.
And just like a tourist, they come to visit the gut, populate it with goodness and then move on after about 10-12 days.
They assist in making vitamins and converting lactose from milk sugar to lactic acid.
It is this lactic acid that creates a slightly acidic environment which constrains disease causing germs
These transient bacteria are Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, L.sporogenes, Streptococcus thermophillus.
When considering a probiotic supplement then look for at least 1 – 25 billion living organisms
And your 2 core resident bacteria – Lactobacilli acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum
There are also foods that are a forerunner to probiotics called, not surprisingly, prebiotics!
They encourage the growth of the 2 resident bacteria,
they help to lower the pH of the colon,
keep blood sugar levels even and
for people who have liver disease, and prebiotics can help to reduce ammonia levels.
Two common prebiotics are FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides –yup they’re sugar molecules) and inulin.
These are some sources of FOS –
bananas, barley, soya beans, Jerusalem artichoke and chicory.
Some sources of inulin are onions and garlic.
Prebiotics work together with probiotics to feed and speed up the growth of the beneficial bacteria.
What can you do to get the benefits of probiotics?
Try to reduce the elements that destroy probiotics from your lifestyle like;
Supplement with a probiotic supplement that has a variety of strains and at least 15 billion Colony Forming Units.