August 9, 2012

Could You Use Some Culture? What Probiotics Can Do for You and Your Immune Health

Here’s a quick test for you:

  1. Have you recently taken antibiotics?
  2. Have you used oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy or any steroid medications?
  3. Do you regularly consume processed foods?
  4. Do you consume non-organic foods?
  5. Are you exposed to any environmental pollution? (Car exhaust, cigarette smoke, chemicals/fumes, radiation)
  6. Do you drink chlorinated/non-filtered water or tap water?
  7. Do you regularly use antibacterial soap?
  8. Are you exposed to dirt and germs?
  9. Do you have any digestion problems like constipation, IBS, bloating, acid reflux, gas or burping?
  10. Do you have food cravings or allergies?
  11. Are you under chronic stress?
  12. Do you have cancer?
  13. Do you have high cholesterol?
  14. Do you often get colds or the flu?
  15. Do you have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies or related illnesses like osteoporosis or anemia?
  16. Do you have any skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis)?
  17. Do you have bad breath or body odor?

If you answered “Yes” to two or more of these questions than you most likely could use some “culture” in your life! 

That’s right, culture. But I’m not talking about buying tickets to the next ballet production or hitting the latest art gallery. I’m referring to organic cultured foods or vegetables in your diet!

Nature’s #1 Medicine

  • Cultured foods and drinks are one of the most powerful and important medicines that nature has given us, yet they are often overlooked in many health and weight loss plans.
  • Cultured foods have existed in every culture known to man since the beginning of time. Yet sadly, in our country they are virtually unknown.
  • You might be surprised (and even a little grossed out), to know that it is estimated that we have between 6 to 60 trillion bacteria in our digestive tract, totaling almost 3 to 4 pounds and with over 400 different kinds! That’s a lot of bugs!
  • Some of these bacteria are absolutely vital to proper functioning and considered “good” and some are pathogenic and considered “bad” and can lead to all sorts of health problems and unpleasant  symptoms.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good bacteria, microflora and yeasts are referred to as “probiotics”, which literally means “for life”. Most people don’t realize that approximately 85% of our immune system is located in the  Gut-Activated Lymphatic Tissue (GALT) of the digestive tract. The good bacteria that inhabit the GALT is the body’s first line of defense against harmful pathogens, yeasts and parasites and in a healthy body, these bacteria out-number the bad bacteria at a ratio of about 80%/20%.

It is important to keep in mind that it is completely normal to have “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria  in your body at all times. The problem is, most people are walking around with the ratio backwards and have more bad then good.

How does this happen?

  • Imbalanced, nutrient-poor diets
  • Eating too much sugar (and sugar-like foods and drinks)
  • Processed and packaged foods
  • Pesticides and chemicals
  • Pollution
  • Heavy metals
  • Environmental toxins
  • Prescription drugs (particularly antibiotics)
  • Eating while rushing
  • Being “busy” all the time
  • …and most all S-T-R-E-S-S

…all of these things upset the delicate balance of good-to-bad bacteria in the gut and that is when the unwanted symptoms appear.

Staying Healthy and Trim in the 21st Century

Due to the prevalence of the above factors in today’s society, it is absolutely vital that we regularly  include cultured foods and beverages in our diets in order to stay healthy and trim.

These microflora perform a multitude of important functions and are your body’s first line of defens against invaders from the outside world. First and foremost they protect you from disease and  infection.

Still not convinced?

Here is a list of some of the many other Benefits of Cultured Foods:

  • Promote a healthy immune system
  • Regulate proper bowel elimination
  • Produce natural antibodies
  • Manufacture vital nutrients (produce vitamins A, K and B vitamins)
  • Promote optimal liver function
  • Combat Candida and yeast infections
  • Prevent digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, gas or leakygut, IBS or colitis
  • Counteract the damage of antibiotics
  • Facilitate detoxification: prevent skin problems (acne, eczema & psoriasis), bad breath and body odor
  • Lower the Ph of colon (kills disease-causing microbes)
  • Enhance digestion of proteins, fats and carbs
  • Supports bioavailability of minerals
  • Ferments fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids (*butyric, propionic, valerate)
  • Help normalize serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Break down and rebuild hormones (esp. estrogen and cholesterol)
  • Produce natural anti-fungal and antibiotic chemicals
  • Are anti-tumor and anti-cancer
  • Protect against xeno-estrogens, mercury and pesticides
  • Break down bile acids
  • Manufacture hydrogen peroxide (antiseptic, anti-fungal)
  • Break down bacterial toxins
  • Alkalinize blood pH

In addition, real cultured foods are extremely high in:

  • Lactobacilli (immune & digestive support)
  • Vitamins, (particularly Vitamin C)
  • Minerals
  • Enzymes

So Where Do I Get Them?

  1. Fresh, Organic Cultured Vegetables Click Here for My Favorite Brand
  2. Young Coconut Kefir
  3. *Plain, organic yogurt with active cultures (*read the label and watch out for flavored versions and added sugars or high fructose corn syrup!)
  4. Miso (raw paste or soup)
  5. Natto

Be Careful; Vitamins Will Not Save You!

And don’t think for one second that you can just go to the local health food store and pop a “probiotic pill” and then you’re covered!!!

It just doesn’t work that way. No pill can even come close to comparing to all the goodness and potency of what nature can package in a whole, living food complex. Remember this: the foundation of a  healthy, fit body starts with a nutritious and wholesome diet. PERIOD.

No manmade pill can mimic Mother Nature, not even close.

Start On the Road of Health Today!

Include some LIVE cultured foods or beverages in your meal plan today and within just a few short  days you too can start too …feel how good health looks on you!



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Amy Fournier is a former People-Pleaser now Healthy Lifestyle Entrepreneur. She specializes in managing and maximizing ENERGY, emotional fitness, natural health and beauty from the inside out. She is the Founder of Miami Fitness & Lifestyle®, located in North Andover, Massachusetts which is a unique fusion of specialty fitness classes with community and fun for women. Amy considers herself to be a student of life and a work in progress – she is also a vlogger, author, International fitness cover model, workshop presenter, dance, fitness and yoga instructor, philanthropist, friend, daughter, nap-lover and lucky Mom to cute little fur-baby, Charlotte.

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