Millie's Kitchen is back today with some really interesting and controversial information for you and some fun information at that! The latest trend in the commercial health food industry has been the introduction of probiotics. I'm sure you've heard of some popular products with probiotics like Activia brand yogurt, regular yogurt, certain cereals like , , kefir which is a drinkable yogurt , and so many more that there are too many to name, but many of you wonder exactly what are these probiotics and why do you need them? Interestingly enough, I can attest that these are valuable supplements and ingredients in natural fermented foods. Fermented foods are simply foods that have been allowed to sit and to culture "good bacteria". What does this good bacteria do? It keeps your immunity strong by enhancing your digestional health. Your intestines and digestive system have the largest source of nerves besides your brain, more than any other system in your body!! Wonder why when you're stressed,depressed, sad, mad or even happy that your appetite, and the state of how your stomach feels changes? That's why!
In fact, DID YOU KNOW that your digestive system is one of the largest producers of the happy mood enhancer known as seretonin. Many people who suffer a lack of seretonin become depressed and a certain class of antidepressants actually enhance seretonin in the body. I am not fond of prescription drugs due to the unnatural state of production and how they react with certain other things within the body, however, now you know WHY appetite is usually affected by your mood levels. Your tummy is a VERY IMPORTANT part of your health. Almost all forms of infection occur in the intestines.
This being said, probiotics ENHANCE natural bacteria that protects your tummy from the bad stuff. Infections can harbor disease, cause cancer, cause seretonin absorption problems as well as nutritional absortion problems with healthy ingredients in foods. The environment contains natural immunity depressants that cause allergies in many people, colds, stomach viruses, etc. however probiotics are naturally found in many foods that you can eat to protect yourself!
I myself take a probiotic supplement and I can testify to it doing wonders for my immunity. I havent been to the doctor in 3-4 years! The last time I did go, I was given an antibiotic, which i refused to take due to the detrimental effects antibiotics can have on your immune system, weakening it over time. I took probiotics, atea healthy diet, got rest and exercised and strep throat left my body, no antibiotics needed! Antibiotics can actually DESTROY the healthy bacteria in your body. Many people ( women mostly ) get a yeast infection or another infection when taking antibiotics because of this.
Your natural healthy bacteria can easily be disrupted, therefore I'm not prescribing medicine to ANYONE or suggesting you not go to the doctor or any other proper health professional, however, I do want to stress the importance of getting good bacteria into your diet.
One of the most popular ways is through yogurt. It contains natural bacteria known as L. Acidopholis, which is a popular probiotic. Be aware though, that this is not the only probiotic out there. You should also know that it is not the most beneficial. There are other food sources that naturally have probiotics, such as kefir ( a fermented drink made from cow's milk, soy milk, rice milk, and coconut milk- my favorite! ), miso ( a soy product) and sauerkraut.
There are also products like Activia yogurt and Kashi Vive which have added probiotics that aren't naturally found in the foods they contain ( the yogurt and the cereal). With Activia it is a popular strain known as Bifidus Regularis which helps combat irregularity. With the cereal, it is probiotics that aren't found in any cereal, because bacteria doesn't occur in cereal.
My advise to anyone wanting to add probiotics to their routine is to first try yogurt.
I recommend trying an organic fat free Greek-style such as Oikos by Stonyfield.
It is fairly inexpensive in comparison and is very, very creamy and thick.PlUS regular greek yogurt contains almost 18 grams of protein and only 6 grams of sugar compared to 6 grams of protein and 12 grams of sugar in regular yogurt that only has ONE type of probiotic!
The yogurt can be used in multiple ways and can even be used as such as breakfast, frozen as an ice cream like treat, in smoothies, and even as a replacement for sour cream or milk in recipes! It contains 5 different strains that are great for your health. If you can't have dairy, try Coconut yogurt by So Delicious . They make a terrific coconut yogurt and kefir that contain between 6-10 different strains.
Immunity is what keeps us from getting sick and I can promise you probiotics will improve your immunity. I can't promise you which ones will work for you, but I can say they will NOT hurt you, taste gross and YES, you do want these bugs in your food:) They keep the BAD BUGS OUT!:)
1 cup of organic strawberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
2 tbsp. pecans, walnuts or almonds, crushed or crumbled
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. dairy free chocolate chips by Enjoy Life brand or cacao nibs ( pure chocolate pieces)
1. Place the yogurt in a glass bowl, freeze for 20 minutes.
2. Remove from the freezer and top with strawberries, nuts, cinnamon and choc chips.
3. Grab a spoon and indulge in a low-fat, tummy friendly treat.
Strawberries, nuts and dairy contain healthy ingredients like fiber, probiotics and antioxidants. The chocolate chips provide a nice little indulgence to your diet as well:)
YUMMMMMMMY and So good for your Tummy!
* Again, this is not a recommendation for any supplements but an honest evaluation of my experiences and what solid, sound nutritional information sources provide.
There are many probiotic supplements ont he market. If you're buying one, buy one from a reputable store, and read the ingredients. It should have at least 2 billion active cultures at the time of production and should NOT contain any additives of any kind in the ingredients label*