However, you will be hard-pressed to find a yogurt that has enough strains of probiotics to make much difference, unless you are eating your yogurt by the gallon. The other downfall is that yogurt has so much added sugar and so many other ingredients that you can often do more harm than good if you are eating it in excess.
The exception, of course, would be if you were eating unflavored, no sugar added yogurt, but seriously, who wants that?
Why is it that probiotics are the buzzword of the time? Because we have stopped eating food that is good for us.
In my grandmother’s day, when food was fresh, unadulterated, and often grown in the backyard, probiotics weren’t lacking in the average person’s diet.
Why you ask? Because of fermented foods.
Our grandparents and great grandparents used a vast array of processes to preserve foods, one of which was to ferment them. Think sauerkraut and pickled anything (beets, cucumbers, peppers, you name it) these were a staple at most tables just 50-75 years ago.
When we moved away from a diet rich in fermented foods, and replaced those with convenience, boxed foods full of sugar, preservatives and fillers, we began a problem. We then coupled that problem with the overuse of antibiotics to treat viruses on a wide scale and we made a mess out of most of our gut flora.
What happens is that when you use antibiotics you do indeed kill off the bad bacteria that is causing your illness, but antibiotics are non-discriminatory and they act like a napalm bomb killing off everything, the innocent and good bacteria is collateral damage.
Therefore, your body has to work to build up the good bacteria again in order to maintain a healthy balance in your GI tract and during this time your immune system is often depressed as a result.
Another consideration is that probiotics are effective in treating diarrhea, yeast infections and even eczema. If you aren’t getting enough beneficial probiotics in your diet (and very few of us are) it isn’t a bad idea to supplement, especially in the winter months when we are fighting through cold and flu season and we really need our immune system to be working at its optimum potential.
The use of probiotics does have proof in boosting immunity as has been noted in a number of medical studies. It appears that when our gut is functioning at its optimal level it is doing so with very little inflammation. Probiotic supplementation has been shown to reduce gut inflammation.
So what does all of this mean for those of us who are trying to live a more natural lifestyle? We should be trying to incorporate fermented foods into our diets. By eating things like sauerkraut, kimchee and pickles; drinking things like kombucha and kefir we can naturally ingest probiotics. Also, supplementation is ideal especially during the winter months when we all want to be healthier. Look for a supplement that has several strains of active cultures in it as the more different probiotic strains you have, the more likely your GI tract will have the right strains to repair any inflammation.
Healthy kids and healthy adults are definitely what I want at my house. I have been on this bandwagon for awhile but what really convinced me is when I started taking my children to a more naturally minded pediatrician. She is a big proponent of probiotics and, as a protocol, even advised me to immediately put my newborn on probiotics at birth as his Down Syndrome diagnosis makes him more prone to having a lowered immune system.
Here are a few of the supplements you will find at my house.
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