Add Probiotics to Your Diet for Gut Health
The importance of promoting good digestive track health could not be emphasized enough. It is now believed that as much as 80% of our total immune system is located in the digestive track, and it can affect allergies, colds and flu plus a number of immune related diseases. Now recent studies have also shown a strong relationship between gut health and mental health.
We have always intuitively known that the brain sends signals to the gut when we are stressed. Those butterflies in the stomach or indigestion occurring when we are anxious or depressed are signals being sent from the brain to the stomach. We are now finding that the stomach actually sends far more information to the brain than is the reverse. Keeping a healthy stomach is imperative to keeping our minds functioning properly.
There is further information that the brain isn’t the organ that entirely controls our moods. There are neurons in the brain that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin which involve depression, aggression and mood control. But similarly there are neurons in the intestines that also produce serotonin, and the greatest concentrations of this powerful neurotransmitter is here, and not the brain. This may be one reason why antidepressants often are ineffective in treating depression, as they raise serotonin levels only in the brain. Better diet may actually be a better treatment for depression.
Keeping a healthy digestive track is more important than we perhaps we traditionally have suspected. But keeping it from harm’s way is not easy. With the amount of sugar and processed foods that most people devour, we put those good bacteria that keep us healthy under constant attack. Processed food actually destroys these bacteria that protects us and feeds bad bacteria and harmful yeast.
That is where probiotics come in. Our diet over the years has gone from traditionally fermented foods that feed our gut flora toward processed foods that kill those same helpful bacteria. Reversing this trend to return to fermented foods will provide so many health benefits such as maintaining a healthy balance of microbes in our intestines. But they are also some of the best detoxification agents we have available to us, which means we are ridding our body of a variety of toxins.
However, when choosing probiotic foods things are unfortunately not all that clear-cut. Many commercial versions of probiotic kefir or yogurt do not have live cultures, or are loaded with sugars. Pasteurized versions are also not 100% effective, as they destroy many of the naturally occurring helpful probiotics. So search out options that do not contain added sugars, artificial colorings, artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup.
Some of the foods you should look for will be:
1. Yogurt. Look for “live and active cultures” on the label.
2. Sauerkraut. This is a great probiotic food, but be sure it is unpasteurized.
3. Miso soup. A long-time popular breakfast food in Japan, it normally contains more than 160 bacteria strains.
4. Kefir. As mentioned earlier, check the ingredient labels.
5. Soft cheeses. Some fermented soft cheeses, like Gouda, have probiotics that are hardy enough to survive the gastrointestinal tract journey.
Cultured vegetables should be an important aspect of what should be part of our healtheybalanceddiet [http://healtheybalanceddiet.com/]. We know they are truly healthy, and we know that if they are made from organic food [http://losethatbellyfat.info/natural-and-organic-vegetable-gardening-tips/] the health benefits will be greater. Read more on our website. Rich Carroll is a writer and avid health advocate now living in Chicago.
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