The benefits of probiotics are immense! What are probiotics? Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that keep our guts healthy. They occur naturally in certain foods such as fermented veggies (sauerkraut) and yogurt. You can also take a pill version of probiotics, but, I find that these are often very pricey and it’s much easier (and cheaper!) to consume fermented veggies on a daily basis (occasionally some organic grass-fed yogurt too). So, just how are probiotics beneficial? I will list a few reasons:
- Probiotics keep our digestive system healthy and 80% of our entire immune system is located in our digestive tract (Dr. Axe).
- Over 40% of diseases have been linked to bacterial imbalance – probiotics (along with a clean diet) can keep our gut bacteria in shape!
- Probiotics can help heal IBS
- Reduce flu and colds
- Prevent cavities and gum disease
- Lose weight
- Battle cancer
- Improve acne
The list goes on and on. A few probiotic KILLERS include grains (gluten), antibiotics, sugar, tap water, GMO foods, and chemicals. In order to actually reap the benefits of probiotics, you should clean up your diet first and foremost and eliminate processed foods, fried foods, sugar, wheat, soda, etc. THEN start taking probiotics – I recommend fermented veggies, e.g., sauerkraut! It’s very important that you clean up your diet first and foremost if you are wanting to improve your health. Eating garbage food and then taking a probiotic in pill form will not do much to help you anti-age or prevent cancers, illness, disease, etc. You must first clean your diet 100%!
My favorite brand of sauerkraut is Bubbies as it’s very simple, clean, and it’s a good price (around $6.99 for a large jar). You should be able to find it in the cold/refrigerated section of a grocery store (I shop at Whole Foods but other higher end grocery stores or even occasionally Publix should carry this). I eat 1/4 cup serving per day and it even counts as a vegetable serving! Sauerkraut benefits digestive issues such as leaky gut and constipation, and it can even help you get over a cold faster!
Organic yogurt is also a source for probiotics, however, I do not promote dairy consumption on a daily basis as I am closely (notice I say closely and not 100%) aligned with Paleo principles. Occasionally I do buy organic, grass-fed yogurt with probiotics and I will eat a little bit on my oatmeal. As far as daily basis goes for probiotic consumption, I prefer sauerkraut as it’s a vegetable and veggies are always the most beneficial and nutritious option; my diet is centered on clean vegetables and clean meats first and foremost.
Another type of probiotic is kefir. Kefir is similar to yogurt as it is fermented dairy, however, it is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. I would recommend a plain (not flavored or sweetened), organic kind, as they do have flavored kefirs and these are filled with artificial ingredients, preservatives, thickeners, sugar, etc., and none of that is good for us to consume. Read more about kefir here.
Below are images of the sauerkraut that I buy as well as my favorite yogurt (when I do buy yogurt, as stated before).
Try adding these to your diet to reap the benefits!