As part of our sequence on #MyMorningRoutine, today we are diving into the probiotics ritual. Learn below why these microorganisms play a key role in your digestion, mood, and beyond!
SO, WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?
When we think of bacteria we often relate it to germs, disease, and sickness. However, that’s actually not the case! The truth is that our body is the home to trillions of microorganisms that are critical to your health and well being.
In fact, we have MORE bacteria cells in our bodies than we do our own cells! AND, up to 80% of our immune system is actually located in the gut? It’s called the “Gut-Activated Lymphatic Tissue”. Therefore, if you want to stay healthy, you need to give your digestive system as much ammunition as possible. That’s where probiotics, cultured foods and probiotic supplements come in.
Probiotics are actually ALIVE creatures that are found in certain carbohydrate foods such as cultured vegetables (see my list below). Cultured vegetables are nature’s super-food and are brimming with LIVING beneficial bacteria (yes, living!) that our bodies need to keep us healthy.
Bacteria are unique to each individual. Every person has its own ecosystem called the microbiome, which helps to configure our DNA and evolves as we age. The foods that we eat, how much sleep we get, the amount of stress we’re under, and the antibiotics we take, all play a huge role in our body and can alter our bacteria environment. Not-so-healthy behaviors can lead to a variety of diseases.
HOW CAN THEY HELP ME?
The more stress you have either from mental/emotional, physical or spiritual sources, the more you need to be sure you have an adequate intake of probiotics.
Here are some of the many benefits of cultured vegetables (CV’s):
CV’s are loaded with beneficial enzymes. The lactic acid produced during the fermentation process aids in digesting all foods eaten along with them – especially proteins and starchy foods.
CV’s improve digestive processes. The veggies are “pre-digested” by the beneficial probiotic organisms, which is very helpful to those with weakened digestive fire.
CV’s are alkaline-forming due to the abundant presence of vitamins and minerals. They aid is replenishing vital mineral stores to aid in balancing systemic pH.
CV’s help control cravings for starchy and sweet foods when consumed on a consistent basis! They make a GREAT substitute for salsa. Try them with baked blue corn chips!
CV’s are a “living” food, teeming with beneficial microorganisms. These intelligent, little beings work hard to maintain your inner ecosystem. They help digest your food, vitamins and minerals, are critical to keeping you regular and detoxifying your body, plus they are key in fighting foreign pathogens and viruses.
Probiotics are especially helpful after a round of antibiotics, as these drugs kill both infectious and healthy bacteria. When healthy bacteria are killed off, the harmful bacteria flourish, often leading to diarrhea ,IBS, fungal and yeast infections, and immune and digestive troubles.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROBIOTIC FOR YOU?
Probiotics can be obtained as a supplement or through your food choices. If you decide to get them as a supplement, you must consider many things.
First, check expiration dates, make sure the bacteria are live, and look for “CFUs” (colony forming units) in the billions. Anything less isn’t as potent. A good brand specifies the amount of live organisms, and lists the exact strains used in their formula.
The label should also specify that the living microbes are viable through end of shelf life or best by date rather than at time of manufacture to ensure the bacteria are still live when you take them and able to reach your colon. Quality trumps everything- supplements that are a bargain are typically not of quality.
Last, make sure to keep them away from moisture and heat, which can kill off some of the microbes. As I said before, I recommend taking them on an empty stomach, ideally right when you wake up. You should always store supplements in a cool, dark place but refrigeration is best. Most of the strains of probiotics are fragile and should be protected from heat- so refrigeration is ideal.
#MYMORNINGROUTINE: WHY I TAKE THEM IN THE MORNING?
I take my probiotics in the morning as part of #MyMorningRoutine.
When you eat, the presence of food in your stomach triggers the production of acids that kill microorganisms, including the ones found in supplements. To keep probiotic microorganisms alive, you should take supplements on an empty stomach. About 30 minutes before each meal is a good way to maximize their survival.
Additionally, some doctors recommend taking an extra step to minimize acid levels by drinking plenty of water before taking your probiotics. This is thought to cause the stomach to completely stop producing digestive fluid – reason why drinking a glass of water is the first thing I do as soon as I wake up!
Try it yourself and let me know how it goes by leaving a comment at my probiotics Instagram post (@fitamytv)!
NOT INTO SUPPLEMENTS? NO PROBLEM!
If you are not into supplements, make sure you include these foods into your diet:
- Kimchi: Is a spicy and sour fermented food made with cabbage, radish, scallion, cucumber and red chilli paste that is a staple in the Korean culture. According to a 2014 report published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods, the fermentative byproducts formed via fermentation plus the ingredients used to make kimchi, are perfect for forming probiotics you need.
- Sauerkraut: Combined sliced cabbage with kosher salt in a jar. The perfect snack or side dish with fermented, healthy gut-promoting benefits.
- Miso Soup: This traditional Japanese broth made from soybeans that have been already fermented to support digestion.
- Kefir: Rich in probiotics and a great addition to your smoothies! But if you are avoiding dairy, choose coconut kefir instead.
- Pickles: It’s not the store bought, filled with artificial ingredients but the fermented pickles that require a curing process. It takes days or weeks to create good bacteria.
- Kombucha: Great beverage you can have instead of alcohol if you are in the process of healing you gut and detoxifying.
So, want to be happier? more energetic? and have fewer mood swings? >> Then take care of your gut bacteria!
Start now with a probiotic routine. Also, follow me on Instagram and like my page on Facebook if you have not done it already. I am posting great content there that will be very useful if you read it.