Staying Healthy Through The Season- Part 3

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Did you have a nice long weekend?  We spent ours hanging out with friends & family and began the long & arduous task of cleaning out our garage.  Did any of you try taking garlic for the first time? I'd love to hear your stories! (Or what your significant other thought...)

This week we are talking about something that is a fairly new concept to me...

Fun fact: Did you know that between 70-80% of your immune system lives in your gut? When I think about someone who is in "good health" I usually think about the heart or the blood... but definitely not the large intestine.  Perhaps it's because health issues in that region tend to be of a more, um, personal nature.  I won't get too graphic today but here are the basics: Our large intestine is home to trillions of "good" bacteria.  These bacteria aid in digestion, help the body absorb nutrients, and fight off illnesses.  Obviously, it's important to keep these guys in high supply!  Probiotics are especially important after you've taken a round of antibiotics, as these can kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad bacteria.

There are many differing opinions on the best way to get more probiotics into your system.  You've probably seen yogurt companies advertising the benefits of the "live & active cultures" (aka probiotics) in their products.  There is some research that suggests that the changes in temperature of yogurt results in very few cultures being present by the time the yogurt actually hits your bowl.  I tend to avoid yogurt anyway because of the crazy amounts of sugar most of them have and I really can't stand the taste of just plain yogurt.  Sourkrout & other fermented foods (sadly, beer not included) are also good natural sources of probiotics.

There are also approximately a bajillion different supplemental forms of probiotics on the market.  Some brands tout that only refrigerated probiotics will do the job, but those tend to be the most expensive ones out there.  I personally use Safeway Select's Acidophilus Plus which is pretty inexpensive and I have been quite happy with it.  Dr. Oz recommends AdvoCare's Probiotic Restore, though I myself have not personally tried it.

This may seem like a lot of information at once but there is so much to learn about these good little bacteria.  I'm still learning about the different strains of bacteria that are out there (mostly I'm trying to learn how to pronounce them) and I highly encourage you to do your own research as well.  Knowledge is power, right?  And, as always, please please please check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet or before making any major changes to your health routine.  I am not a doctor...not even close... but I do believe that we as individuals should take steps be more informed when it comes to our health.

Have you ever taken probiotics?  What was your experience? I'd love to hear- sound off in the comments below!

Sources: 1//2//3//4//5
photo via medhealth

1 comment

  1. My friend and I were just talking about the benefits of probiotic supplements! I would love to know what others think about them as well :)