Probiotics Help to Boost Your Immune System
Hundreds of species of bacteria live on and in your body. Nowhere is that relationship more important than in your digestive tract, starting with the saliva in your mouth and working through your entire system. This population of billions of bacteria is comprised of both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria. As long as the beneficial bacteria represent eighty-five percent of the intestinal flora, they will suppress the ability of the pathogens to do you any harm.
Many of the foods we eat, including processed foods, gluten, starch and sugar are food sources for pathogenic bacteria. When the balance surges in their favor, they release toxins that lead to inflammation, fungal infections and poor nutrient absorption. This puts the immune system into overdrive to fight the toxins that could be prevented by simply making better food choices. If the toxic condition is sustained, many of the toxins and pathogenic bacteria can pass through the intestinal wall and make their way into the body, leading to chronic inflammatory illnesses.
Beneficial bacteria feed on the healthy food that you eat and use these foods to your benefit. They assist in the digestive process by releasing enzymes that dissolve nutrients. This action discharges vitamins, antioxidants and minerals essential to supporting your immune system and cellular health. Kept in the right balance, they effectively keep the pathogens at bay and they help to remove toxins from your body before they have a chance to build up and cause trouble. This keeps your immune system working comfortably to protect you from all of the other challenges that you may encounter each day. Beneficial bacteria can also speed the recovery time from illness, as the immune system is taxed fighting infections.
Good food sources to optimize the balance of healthy gut flora include green leafy vegetables and deep-sea fish that provide essential fatty acids (omega-3). Salmon, sardines, cod liver oil and mackerel are good sources of omega-3. Certain foods stimulate beneficial microbial growth by providing soluble fiber and enzymes to keep the microbes active which in turn keeps the food moving through the digestive tract. Great vegetable choices are kale, broccoli, onion, garlic and cabbage. Seeds and nuts also provide essential fatty acids and minerals.
Sometimes, food choices are not enough and supplementation with microbe-rich foods can boost the system. This is especially true after illness or signs of indigestion. Consuming beneficial bacteria foods, or probiotics, helps to keep the balance in the favor of the beneficial population and optimizes the digestive system, nutrient absorption and release of essential nutrients to the body. Plain yoghurt and cheeses with active cultures are easy choices for most people. Kefir, which is fermented cow’s milk, is also a good choice. Fermented foods tend to be beneficial microbe powerhouses with huge active cultures of beneficial bacteria far beyond any other food source. Fermented vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles are all good choices.
A wide variety of probiotic supplement products is available. Choose products with multiple species to encourage diversity in the beneficial bacteria population. Also, look for products with high bacterial counts – in multiple billions, rather than millions. Some of these supplements require refrigeration, which is not a great concern as long as you are at home. When traveling, select a product that can be stored in your luggage without spoiling. Keep the good guys with you wherever you go and choose healthy foods to keep the pathogens away during stressful travel and holiday times.
Source by Patrick Smyth