Good Bacteria: Empower Your Flora

good-bacteria

Probiotics and prebiotics have become buzzwords in the wellness world for some time now and for good reason: taking probiotics can be good for your gut and keep your body working like it should. Striking the balance of the bacteria in your gut flora can have major beneficial effects your immune system and thereby promoting the body’s natural defense system that keeps you healthy.

According to Mercola.com, one of the reasons why the gut has so much influence on your health has to do with the 100 trillion bacteria and microorganisms–about three pounds worth–that line the intestinal tract. The bacteria in your bowels outnumber the cells in your body by a factor of 10 to one. This is an extremely complex living system that aggressively works to maintain your body’s good health.

The health of your body has a symbiotic relationship with the health of your gut: Live bacteria and yeast (famously found in your yogurt among other foods) helps move food through your intestinal tract and keep a healthy balance of your good versus bad bacteria in check. The benefits of maintaining a healthy balance of organisms lead to various good health benefits from supporting clarity in thinking and overall wellness to maintaining a healthy digestive system which includes the colon and intestines as well as the stomach. When you’re enjoying good health, it is reflected externally as well in your expressions, as well as skin, nails and hair.

Recent studies like one from neurobiologists from Oxford University have reported evidence of a direct correlation between good gut health and its ability to support healthy moods. Researchers found that supplements designed to boost healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (namely “prebiotics”) may have a calmative effect by supporting a healthy processing of emotional information. The researchers also found that the prebiotics helped reduced stress and frustration due to lower levels of cortisol–a stress hormone.

So what five steps can you focus on to empower your flora today?

Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics should be included as one of the top five supplements you take each morning along with your multivitamin, antioxidant like Resveratrol or French Melon, essential fatty acid (like fish oil) and beauty capsule such as Collagen or Keratin Booster.

Eat Yogurt
One of the best-known probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt. Stick with organic dairy whenever possible and steer clear of sugar-laden fruit blends with artificial flavoring. Opt for plain traditional yogurt or creamy Greek yogurts and mix in your own fresh fruit, honey or agave for sweetening. For a boost of prebiotics, add flaxseed granola, which will feed off of the bacteria in the yogurt.

Try Kefir
Easily found near the yogurt section in most natural foods stores, Kefir is a creamy, slightly sour drink that contains protein, calcium, B vitamins, and even more probiotics than yogurt. It’s made by fermenting milk with kefir grains comprised of yeast and gut-friendly bacteria.

Sip Miso Soup
Next time you go out for a sushi dinner, choose the miso soup. It’s made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley (and often used in Asia as a digestive regulator) and is rich in probiotics.

Try Kombucha
This increasingly popular fermented tea contains a high amount of healthy gut bacteria. The probiotic drink has been used for centuries and is believed to help increase your energy and enhance overall wellbeing.

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