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Business & Finance
The Health Scene
Probiotics: the good guys
Jeff Wittman, Licensed Nutritionist
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
It is extremely important for each of us to take in certain nutrients each day for optimal health...
I think we all need a natural, healthy multivitamin; a big dose of antioxidants; more good fats; and probiotics for adequate gut flora.
I want to talk about probiotics. Just the name itself — pro (for) biotic (life) — tells you these are the good guys, the microorganisms that live in your intestinal tract and help you properly digest all those great, nutritious foods you eat daily.
But that is only half the story. Did you know that 70–80 percent of your immune response starts in the intestine? So when your body isn’t digesting food properly, all kinds of things can go wrong inside you. And in order for digestion to properly take place, you have to have an abundance of these little guys living in your digestive tract.
Now you can get them a couple of different ways, either by eating foods that contain them or by taking a probiotic supplement. Foods that contain probiotics are: yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut. If you’ll notice, all these are fermented food products that contain living organisms in the Lactobacillus group such as acidophilus.
Most of us have heard of acidophilus and all the good things it does for us. Things like improved immune response, helping manage irritable bowel syndrome, aiding antibiotic-induced diarrhea, and reducing inflammation. Well if it’s going to help us — we’ve got to help it.
Did you know that sugar and fiber decrease the amount of probiotics in your intestine? Eating too much sugar feeds bad bacteria such as Candida albicans (yeast) and they “push out” the good guys, taking over your guts and causing all kinds of problems. Ironically, too much fiber can also “push out” the probiotics in your intestine — literally. As the fiber scrapes and cleanses your intestinal wall, it takes a lot of the microorganisms with it and carries them out in your feces. Now this doesn’t mean you should stop eating fiber or even cut back, fiber is great for your digestion, but it does mean you may need to supplement your intake of probiotics. However, you should strictly limit your intake of refined sugars.
When looking for the right probiotic supplement, look for enteric coated, it releases in the intestine and isn’t harmed by the acidity of the stomach.
Remember, keep the good guys on the job. They are the first line of defense for immune support. Don’t delay — start by having that morning cup of yogurt or taking probiotics capsule for great health.
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