We all know that bacteria can be found most anywhere - on door handles, sinks, kitchen cutting boards, toilet bowls (gross) etc. However, what some of us are not so aware of is that bacteria is also found in our digestive tract - in the trillions! GOOD bacteria is VERY important to our health, but the sad news is that most of us have an overgrowth of the bad. This is due to a variety of reasons: stress, sugar and processed foods, food additives (colourings & preservatives), chlorinated water, antibiotics, oral contraceptives and environmental toxins which all make it very difficult for good bacteria to thrive.
Research shows that a good balance of friendly bacteria in our bodies helps to reduce disease (even some types of cancer), maintain a healthy digestive tract, build a strong immune system, may even aid in weight loss and of course, kill the bad bacteria like Salmonella and Clostridium. Your gut is a bacteria zoo! Here are some tongue twisters to remember: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and others these are your friendly bacteria! You can find them in a good quality probiotic supplement, yogurt, milk, kefir, sour cream and fermented foods.
If you need more reasons to get your probiotics then read on about the power of probiotics.
IMPROVES NUTRIENT ABSORPTION
Perhaps you eat a quality diet of complex carbs, lean protein and high quality fat (olive oil, avocado) AND take a quality supplement, but yet you still do not feel energized and often get sick. A healthy dose of probiotics produces digestive enzymes that increase the digestion and absorption of protein, fatty acids and vitamins such as B1, B2 and folic acid.
Bowel diseases and issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohns, ulcers, constipation/diarrhea, gas and bloating may be a result of a low level of good bacteria and an overgrowth of bad. Think of the good bacteria as the soldiers in your gut; they kill the bad guys and promote a healthy active digestive tract.
Did you know that 70% of your intestinal bacteria is responsible for your immunity? Did you also know that good bacteria helps to manufacture macrophages and lymphcytes (your immune system cells). Awesome! Good bacteria slows down and prevents the bad guys from crossing the barrier (your intestinal lining) and being absorbed into our blood stream, making us sick.
PREVENTION OF INFECTION
Simply put, bladder, kidney, ear and yeast infections are often the result of a low level of good bacteria, so the bad bacteria and yeast can take over and can lead to a variety of problems.
As well as dietary and lifestyle factors, high cholesterol can be the result of poor gut health. Having a healthy gut helps prevent the re-absorption of cholesterol back into the bloodstream by helping to break down cholesterol and eliminate it.
For all these reasons, it is very important to make sure you get your daily dose of good bacteria to keep your gut flora healthy and thriving!