How do Probiotics Work?

This week we’ve been talking about the importance of gut health. One way to ensure the best gut health is to eat probiotic foods such as yogurt. But how exactly do probiotic foods work? We’ll take a deeper look at that today.

First of all, let me clarify what I mean by probiotic. I mean naturally fermented foods, which have “good” lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria are what cause milk to ferment (and turn into yogurt) or vegetables to pickle.

In your digestive system, these bacteria cause indigestible carbohydrates to ferment so your body can better process them and they keep the digestive tract acidic so that harmful bacteria cannot grow (Paleoleap.com).

Pretty cool, huh? And although naturally fermented foods are sort of a hot concept on the holistic health scene right now, the consumption of them goes way back, as Dr. Mercola’s article on fermented foods tells us:

During the Roman era, people consumed sauerkraut because of its taste and health benefits.

In ancient India, it was common to enjoy lassi, a pre-dinner yogurt drink. This traditional practice is anchored on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body.

Bulgarians are known for their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir, and for their high level of health.

Ukrainians consumed probiotics from a fermented food list that included raw yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk.

Various Asian cultures ate pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and consume these fermented treats until today.

Mercola also points out the nutritional benefits of probiotic foods beyond good bacteria, which include B vitamins and vitamin K2, which helps prevent heart disease.

There is tons of information out there on fermented/probiotic foods. I encourage you to do your research! Dr. Mercola and Paleoleap.com have some great resources.

Have you ever tried fermented foods? Did you notice any significant benefits? Would you try them? Let us know what you think!

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