Now for day #5. I remember back before this farmgirl was quite so crunchy...I heard a friend mention that during the winter months she gave her children Acidophilus capsules to aid in keeping them healthy (thanks for the tip K.H.!). I have to admit at the time, I had no earthly idea what she was talking about. But, I was intrigued by fewer visits to the doctor as at that time I was still heavily relying on my pediatrician's advice for most everything, and I visited the office often.
I already had the knowledge that yogurt was good for me. I knew that in cases of yeast issues be it feminine or in babies' diapers yogurt was a help. However, I was unaware of how ineffective yogurt was if one wanted to really amp up and help with gut issues. One area that stuck out to me was during antibiotic use. When one uses antibiotics all the bad is killed off, but medical specialists also agree that the use of antibiotics also kills off good bacteria in our guts as a side effect. What does this mean? The lack of good bacteria can mean diarrhea, stomach upset, constipation, compromised immune systems and a host of other gut issues.
So, not wanting to be too obvious about my lack of knowledge I began to do some research.
Here is what I found helpful... Acidophilus is a strain of probiotics (good stuff for your gut and primarly found in yogurt and some fermented foods) the difference in Acidophilus and a Probiotic is that Probiotics contains millions of different good for your gut strains and Acidophilus is a particular strain. So for me a win-win is finding a probiotic supplement that contains not only the Acidophilus strain but a few others for good measure. What is so interesting is that the amount of probiotics that you get from a supplement is exponentially higher than what you get eating yogurt...I think I remember reading that you would need to eat 10-12 containers of yogurt a day to match some of the good probiotics on the market.
(Here is another good explanation of probiotics).
So what do acidophilus and other probiotics do for you? They help with gut issues, inflammation, and get this...a healthy immune response. Well there we go, I want to be pro-active and help my kids boost their immune responses, especially in the winter months!
There are foods that are good for you and have lots of probiotics too, unfortunately the modern American diet gives little weight to these foods. They are the fermented versions of our older generations, the fermentation process is what creates the good little fighters that you want in your gut. Think grandma's saurkraut, Kombucha and Kefir drinks, cheeses, pickles, Kimchee and a few others mentioned HERE.
Well, there you have it and I was sold. Especially during the winter months I choose to provide my kiddos with probiotics. My littles (under age 5) get this particular brand of chewables and my older ones get whatever brand I find on sale at the health food store. For myself, I drink Kombucha and the occasional Kefir smoothie.