Today I wanted to chat a little bit about the topic of gut health and the benefits of probiotics. A few years ago I was stuck in a bit of a bad cycle with my stomach. I would be fine for a couple of days. I would stick to my usual meals and snacks with no issues. Out of nowhere I would find that my stomach would be “set off” for apparently no reason. I was in a situation where nothing could make me feel right. Eating started to feel a little stressful, because I was not sure how it would make me feel. What was safe? With so much information floating around the internet it is easy to become confused. Do you throw out the raw health foods and succumb to a life of crackers and pasta? Old wisdom always tells us to default to the white foods, but I was a little skeptical.
When this happened, I made a few adjustments in my diet that had a big impact. I started a food diary and started to look for trends of what was not working for me. What did I discover? I cannot personally tolerate tons of salads and raw veggies. Nowadays I will never typically eat more than one a day. I also started washing my produce regularly – hello, salad spinner. Cutting back on dairy was a also a big help to me. I used to be over generous with whey protein, milk, cheeses and yogurt. Now I eat way less. I switched to milk alternatives and vegan protein powder. These tactics made a big difference. One other way I turned the tables on my gut was through probiotic supplements.
Benefits of Probiotics
I am not a huge fan of taking tons of supplements, but if they work I will do it. I have read enough and experienced enough about Probiotics to be a full-fledged believer. It works to keep stomach inflammation at bay. When I was having those cycles, it helped me to get back to a healthy baseline.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are very beneficial for your digestive system. Your body has good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are good bacteria and help to promote gut health. Supplements are often recommended to individuals with digestive issues.
Their key function is to replace good bacteria in your body which you can lose. It is very common to have this happen after a course of antibiotics. Probiotics create balance, and lower the bad bacteria in your system that can create infections and other kinds of inflammation.
What do they do?
Probiotics work to move food through your system. New research is indicating that it can have a host of other benefits other than improving stomach conditions including skin conditions like eczema and preventing colds.
It is my personal choice to consume them n supplement form so that I do not have to eat any certain amount of a food. However, new studies are showing foods like sauerkraut are a rich resource. This article was a really fascinating read about what a super food sauerkraut can be.
Types of Probiotics
There are two categories that probiotics fall into. It is best to check with your doctor to see what is best for you to add to your regime.
This is the most common probiotic. It is what is found in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains help with stomach issues or digesting lactose (the sugar found in milk).
Also typically found in dairy products. It may also help ease the symptoms of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
My current brand of choice is Garden of Life which I buy through Amazon. I keep them in the refrigerator and take two pills first thing in the morning with a glass of water. The goal is to take them on an empty stomach. Since I drink a variety of snacks and drinks through the day eary morning is the best time for me. Before I forget!
I find they are an easy and effective way to keep my stomach in balance which allows me to eat the healthy foods I crave.
Linking up with Amanda today at Running with Spoons. Have a great day and I will see you tomorrow with some faves! It is Friday after all…
Question(s) of the Day: Do you take probiotics? Have you ever kept a food diary??
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