By now, I’d imagine most have at least heard of the term “probiotics”. Depending on your level of knowledge you might still be a little lost as to what a probiotic is. In order to clear up any confusion, I’ve decided to share a definition of what a probiotic is from the queen of probiotics herself Ms. Donna Gates.
What are probiotics?
Donna describes probiotics in a number of ways. One term she often uses to refer to probiotics is “microflora”. She goes on to describe their purpose as vital “gut fertilizer”, similar to the healthy flora or bugs that fertilize soil in a garden. These energetic microflora surround our intestinal wall or (inner-garden) where they live and co-create a healthy environment for our intestines. Referring to the garden metaphor, probiotics are then our body’s decomposers, live supporters and vital protectors. Just like we need healthy, nutrient-dense soil to grow a robust and life-giving garden; we too need probiotics to have healthy inner-soil, so we too can thrive.
A few reasons why we need probiotics
Now that we know what probiotics are; metaphorically speaking, I want to share with you a few specifics of their importance to our health!
- Probiotics make sure we are well nourished- In order to be well nourished a lot must go on. Sticking specifically to our gut-health, we must not only consume high-quality food but we must also make sure we are metabolizing, extracting, assimilating and absorbing the nutrients in our food. Probiotics nourish us in a holistic manner by making sure we extract nutrients to eliminate nutritional deficiencies. Any kind of nutrient deficiency can lead to imbalances in our hormonal systems, endocrine system and even cause accelerated aging.
- Probiotics assist in digestion- When consuming probiotic foods like sauerkraut or kefir we get a boost of enzyme activity that aids in digestion and assimilation of foods. Probiotic foods are enzyme-rich and release the burden from our bodies to produce so many enzymes to digest our foods. Many people are enzyme deficient and struggle to digest their food well. Eating or drinking a fermented food rich in probiotics and enzymes will act as a digestive-aid. Digestive enzymes are incredibly important to staying healthy and young. Enzymes are our life-force and without sufficient enzyme production we will not properly digest our food and always feel sluggish. You can either take high-quality digestive enzyme support with food and add fermented foods to each meal to enhance digestion and start healing!
- Probiotics produce vitamins!- There are certain vitamins; like B vitamins and vitamin K that are produced deep inside of our bodies. Though we can get these nutrients from food sources, they are actually are more readily available for us within us. Probiotic foods are not only a source of B vitamins but they are responsible for making them! Kefir and kombucha for example have a great deal of energizing B vitamins. This is because during the fermentation process they are produced. Likewise, when our guts are teaming with probiotics we have a constantly supply of B vitamins that keep us energized and beautiful. Many women are scraping the shelves for Biotin in attempts to get more beautiful hair. However, without a gut filled with probiotics, Biotin will not be absorbed sufficiently! Also, ample amounts of Biotin will be created in the gut of a healthy individual and resulting in those luscious locks! If you want to be beautiful on the outside, you have to be healthy inside! Health is beauty! In addition to eating fermented foods, you can take a daily probiotic as maintenance.
- Probiotics extract and retain minerals from food- Minerals are the beauty nutrients. In addition to being catalyst for nearly every cellular function, minerals provide building blocks for our hair, skin, nails, teeth and bones. So many people seem to be obsessed with calories, macro-nutrients and vitamins and leave these important corner-stones out of the picture. However, without minerals our food is practically empty. Calories are simple energy, macro-nutrients provide energy and hormonal function, but minerals make all this possible. It us usually a small mineral deficiency that throws off our entire system. A magnesium deficiency for example is prevalent today and leads to adrenal fatigue, constipation, hormonal imbalance, anxiety, and insomnia! Getting adequate minerals is not only key to physical beauty, but our over-all health. Probiotics actually are responsible for making sure our minerals are extracted from our food during the digestive process.
- Probiotics prevent digestive disease- Most digestive disease happens when the intestinal wall begins to be damaged. Disorders such as IBS, IBD, Crohns and colitis are nothing more than years of intestinal damage from stress, dehydration and accumulated toxins. A healthy gut is loaded with healthy bacteria which keep inflammation and intestinal damage at bay. They decompose waste from foods that would otherwise turn to toxic material in the gut. They also keep any unhealthy bacteria or parasites from overgrowing and making our intestines toxic in that way. They are anti-carcinogenic, and detox genotoxins that damage our DNA. Though I could go on for pages about their protective power, in short, they are our best defense from disease by keeping things in balance.
- Probiotics are the base of our immunity- Because our microflora and inner terrain are still so foreign to us we do not fully understand how they effect us. However, the information so far has been discovered and more is unfolding. All of these discoveries correlate to a profound positive impact on our immune response. Science has discovered that 70-80% of our immunity is located in our gut. We now know that the gut is the home of these bacteria where they proliferate and protect us against disease in many ways. Thereby, acting as an internal army of healthy bacteria for our entire immune system.
These are just a few of the many reasons how and why probiotics keep us healthy. The trick then is actually ingesting probiotic and prebiotic food to nourish our own microflora. Though managing our lifestyle holistically is important for the health of our gut, I find consuming these foods to be one of natures greatest gifts to us!
Let me know about your experience with probiotics in the comments below!