We definitely don’t give our stomach enough credit! We pack it with food, drink, and (some of us) medicine everyday. We curse it when we don’t feel well, and take advantage of it when we do. Eighty percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. As we leave the common “cold season” behind and get geared up for spring, it’s important that you begin to reboot your system. Probiotics can be an incredible solution to a lot of the intestinal issues you are having. Our bodies contain 100 trillion bacteria. These bacteria either have the ability to prevent or encourage the development of many diseases. Ideally, our bacteria would be at a ratio of 85% good to 15% bad bacteria. Unfortunately, with the diets of most today, we aren’t replenishing the healthy bacteria that our bodies need.

Probiotics are essential for optimal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. They assist our body in producing vitamins, absorbing minerals and aiding in the elimination of toxins.

The following ailments can be a sign of lacking gut flora:
Celiac Disease
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Eczema and atopic dermatisis
Mood, psychological health and behavior
Common cold, influenza and pneumonia
Chronic Fatigue
Acne
Food allergies

Our gut bacteria is very vulnerable to our lifestyle. Foods containing high amounts of sugar, refined grains, and foods that are processed all lead to a imbalance in gut flora. Taking medications such as antibiotics not only kill the bad bacteria it intends to but also kills the good bacteria you need. It’s imperative after taking antibiotics that you rebuild your immune system or you will be even more susceptible to illness.

Ways to Optimize your gut flora:
Fermented foods
Tempeh
Kim Chee
Natto (fermented soy)
Kombucha
Probiotic Supplements

My favorites:

1. GT’s Enlightened Kombucha: I can’t get enough of this drink! Although it may take some taste buds a little time getting used to, once you love it you’ll be hooked. My brother (non-vegan…not the most receptive to most health foods) now drinks a bottle a day! It’s got a great fizz to it so if you are fixing for a soda, or beer, try this first! My favorite brand is GT’s Kombucha that you can find at health food stores and actually most Vons now. The probiotic contents are Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086: 1 billion organisms and S. Boulardii: 1 billion organisms. It also contains Antioxidants and Organic Acids; EGCG 100mg, Glucuronic Acid 10mg, L(+) Lactic Acid 25mg and Acetic Acid 30 mg. A big bonus for vegans it that it has 20% daily value of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and 25% daily value of folic acid. At about 60 calories a bottle, this power drink is sure to satisfy and help you in multiple ways!

My favorite flavors for "Enlightened Synergy" are Trilogy, Strawberry Serentity, and Cosmic Cranberry.  For "Enlightened Kombucha" my favorites are Citrus and Gingerade!

My favorite flavors for “Enlightened Synergy” are Trilogy, Strawberry Serentity, and Cosmic Cranberry. For “Enlightened Kombucha” my favorite is Citrus and Gingerade!

2. Megafood’s Megaflora: Vegan’s beware when buying probiotics as most of them are dairy based. Megafood’s Megaflora is a plant based probiotic that is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and non gmo. With over 20 billions active probiotics per dose this product is sure to support your intestinal health, bowel regularity and immunity.

MegaFood-MegaFlora

3. Miso: I usually use this as my afternoon snack when I’m ready for dinner at 4pm! Bring 1/2 cup of low sodium organic vegetable broth and 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and dissolve a tablespoon of miso paste in it. I drink it out of a coffee mug! Great way to get digestive probiotics and curb that afternoon hunger! There’s a variety of miso flavors available. Start with a mellow miso paste first that is unpasterized, organic and low sodium.

For more information of probiotics please visit the following websites:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/24/one-of-the-most-important-steps-you-can-take-to-improve-your-health.aspx

http://www.naturalnews.com/037005_antibiotics_probiotics_gut_flora.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324784404578143402702878118.html

 

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