By Health Now, Wealth Forever, on June 13th, 2013
Supermarkets have been flooded with new products that claim to increase your probiotic population. Yogurts and pills filled with bifidus acidophilus and lactobacillus. How did we survive without these products. It turns out that we in general didn’t have to worry – our habits made it easy to keep a healthy bacteria population and that there are plenty of much more natural sources that will allow gut bacteria to take hold and not just pass through. But first, what are probiotics?
Our bodies are entirely our own. By mass we dominate, but only because human cells are so much larger than bacteria cells. In population, human cells are a tiny minority. Some studies say that there are 10 times as many bacteria cells in our body than human cells, but volumetrically they’re only about half a gallon.
This population starts as early as possible. Our mothers’ bacteria becomes our own through birth, contact, and feeding. I won’t go into detail, but I will say that Cesarean section babies don’t receive the original bacterial headstart that naturally birthed children get. They have to start from scratch. Breast milk also contains a similar cocktail of a mother’s probiotics, this is another head-start that some kids don’t receive. Playing outside, in the dirt, not washing hands with antibacterial soap all build the population of bacteria. Once we reach adulthood it should be a well established colony and be more about maintaining a balance. But, there are reasons why your probiotic population would not be it’s best.
Antibiotics don’t discriminate. They kill the good and the bad bacteria. Some laxatives will flush away the colony. After that it’s an uphill battle to recover it. It is worth the effort. Probiotics help in nutrient absorption, immune response, and possibly hundreds of other things. It’s a symbiotic relationship that has only begun to be studied.
I mentioned earlier that there are other foods that can help with building the population. Here are a few:
- Regular Yogurt (as long as it says “Live Cultures” on it) and Kefir
- Pickled Foods like Sauerkraut (raw – heat kills probiotics) and Kimchi
- Miso and other Fermented foods
We’ll have articles focusing on these foods in coming weeks. But, feel free to research and try them on your own. Here is a selection of products we recommend: