Its the first week of the New Year, and you’re done with that super awesome vacation, bonding over rich food, sinful desserts, and alcohol. You now want to kickstart a whole new health regimen – get the healthy food and exercise back into your schedule to lose all those pounds that piled on in the last month.. A great thing to accelerate and get your whole digestive track in order is to add – Probiotics!
So what exactly are probiotics ?
Probiotic foods are foods containing healthy strains of bacteria. Pro meaning affirming and biotics means life.
Why do we need them?
Well, believe it or not, our bodies are carrying a whole lot of bacteria on it and inside it. The number of bacteria we carry are 10 times the number of cells! So in effect we could say that we are more bacteria than human haha! These bacteria are not just hanging around us for nothing; they all have specific functions they help us with. The ones outside help build our immunity, the ones inside help with loads of other things.
The bacteria in our gut, also called the Gut Flora, works to digest and absorb certain carbohydrates, produce vitamins, absorb minerals, eliminate toxins and prevent various kinds of allergies. The good bacteria also inhibits the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
Biologists even go to the extent of saying that the root of any illness lies in the gut, and if our gut is healthy, it is unlikely we will be unhealthy or sick.
If you have symptoms such as bloating and gas, fatigue, uncontrollable sugar cravings, nausea, headaches or indigestion, and are also struggling with losing weight, it is likely your good and bad bacteria are not in balance.
Bad bacteria grow when they are fed their food, which is mainly sugar, refined and processed foods or alcohol and good bacteria is starved of their food which is – soluble fibre (fruits and vegetables with skin, whole grains, chia seeds, aloe vera etc.)
Organic foods have a much higher percentage of healthy bacteria than inorganic foods, because commercial pesticides, and various chemicals used in different stages of food production such as artificial ripening etc. kill the good bacteria.
Which basically means that all of us who have indulged ourselves during the vacations would do great with some high quality probiotic foods!
What can I find probiotics in?
The best probiotics are found in raw fermented foods such as Kombucha, Keffir, Kimchi and saurkraut. Other fermented foods such as idli, cultured vegetables, yogurt, sourdough bread and nutritional yeast too can give us some good bacteria. Probiotic capsules too are available off the shelf and can be taken in consultation with you doctor.
Building a healthy gut takes time, so we may need to supplement over a long period of a few months at least. Another thing that can help is to get enough soluble fibre in your diet daily, that is necessary to build good bacteria colonies.
Lastly cut back on sugar, refined foods and alcohol as it feeds the unhealthy bacteria, yeast and fungus in the gut.
Now for some action! You can make a super awesome probiotic drink right at home. No exotic ingredients, no complications. Delicious, simple and effective! Head over to my recipe blog to get the recipe of KANJI.
Photo Credits – Gargi Kukreti