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Friday, November 21, 2014

The Importance Of Gut Health

So this past week, Courtney and I have been pushing the importance of good bacteria in the gut to fight sickness this winter (and really year round). I posted an article originally posted on NPR about How Bacteria In The Gut Help Fight Off Viruses. Courtney also wrote this great status,

"I personally think EVERYONE needs to be taking in probiotics every day. Fermented foods (sauerkraut, carrots, etc.) & probiotic drinks (kombucha, kefir, etc.) are great ways to get probiotics, but if you don't see yourself consuming those things daily, go buy a high quality probiotic supplement. Josh & I take a supplement daily, & I add probiotic powder to the boys' water daily. (Please don't buy a cheap yogurt with yucky additives because it advertises having probiotics in it.)

Why do you need probiotics? 60-70% of your immune system is based in your gut. We have to have good bacteria in our systems in order to stay healthy. I always boost our probiotic amount if we get sick, for any kind of tummy/digestive issue, anything to do with yeast, & DEFINITELY take lots of probiotics if you HAVE to be on an antibiotic. Antibiotics destroy gut flora therefore making your body susceptible to more sickness."

So, what can you do to add more probiotics to your diet? Here are some ideas:

Fermented Foods:
It is so easy to make your own fermented foods! But if you would rather not, you can always search to see if there is a local vendor who sells it (like Oh Kimchi). If you want to give homemade a shot, you can peruse this site. It has some easy and helpful recipes on making fermented foods.

I always go for the highest quality yogurt made from grass-fed cows. If you are lucky, you can find them at the store. My farmers market carries this amazing local vendor, Mother Culture.
**DO NOT rely on cheap yogurts! They are usually loaded with sugar and additives. The low quality of the yogurt is also not reliable for high amounts of probiotics.

I LOVE kombucha. I make my own, and I also buy it from my favorite brand, Buddhas Brew. It is full of wonder probiotic goodness! Drink it every day or a few times a week. Definitely drink it every day if you feel yourself coming down with something.

Probiotic Powder:
This is an easy way to get in your probiotics. It is very important to get high quality powder. I get mine at Whole Foods in the refrigerated supplement section. I personally like Jarrow brand. I first used it with Bethany as a baby and it helped with her colic and tummy issues.

Avoid Sugars and Processed Foods:
It encourages bad bacteria to grow. It is also common sense that these do not promote a healthy lifestyle. Sadly, when you are sick, you will want to put down that store bought jello. Make your own with grass fed gelatin and fresh juice. Even then, consume sugars in small doses.

Avoid Antibiotics:
Ok, don't freak out. I'm not saying never. There is a time and place. But do not jump to antibiotics at every illness. Antibiotics DO NOT help viruses!! Like colds, flu, and most sinus and ear infections. Don't believe me? Even the CDC will back this up. If you take it with a virus, all you are doing is destroying both bad and good bacteria in the gut. This will make it even harder for your body to heal itself.

Protect yourself and your family this winter with probiotics. There are so many ways to get them, so you have no excuse. :)

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