As scientific research in the area of probiotics continues, modern medicine is beginning to realize just how important a role bacteria plays in the overall health of the human body. A ration of 85% “good” bacteria to 15% “bad” bacteria appears to be the ratio at which the body is able to function optimally. Unfortunately, chronic diseases, overuse of antibiotics or simply a poor diet can greatly effect this ratio. The good news is, however, that the good bacteria can be restored through diet, especially a diet than includes any or all of the probiotic-rich foods listed below.
The idea of fermenting vegetables goes back to ancient times, when it was seen as an important way to store food for long periods of time in the days before refrigeration. However, people are increasingly coming to understand that this is not just a great way to preserve food – it is also incredibly healthy for the body. Fermented vegetables are incredibly rich in lactobacilli, a kind of bacteria that can help prevent yeast infections throughout the body and good for intestinal health. One of the best known fermented vegetables is kim chi, a spicy fermented cabbage dish from Korea.
While the most popular form of this drink is based on yogurt, kefir can also be made from water, grains or coconut water. Fermenting liquids like this results in the beverage that is incredibly rich in probiotic bacteria and consuming it regularly can greatly improve the digestive system as well as general immunity. Kefir helps to colonize the gut with good bacteria and, like fermented vegetables, helps fight off yeast infections throughout the body. It also helps improve overall health by detoxifying the liver.
Kombucha is a fermented, sweetened tea-based beverage which is becoming more and more widely available at health food stores across the country. It has, however, been a staple beverage in the East for nearly 2,000 years. Consuming it regularly will provide your body with a complex array of enzymes and bacteria. These can help to support a strong immune system and promote efficient digestion, as well as detoxifying the liver and improving the function of the joints.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is, as the name suggests, made from fermented apples and is a rich source of not only probiotic bacteria but enzymes and amino acids. Research is still ongoing into the myriad health benefits this will provide, but it has already been shown to aid digestion, promote weight loss, help regulate blood sugar levels and strengthen the body’s immunity. It is little wonder that is has become such a popular addition to so many diets!
This foods and beverages will all help to populate the body with good, probiotic bacteria that it needs to maintain optimal health. This, in general, will improve digestion, detoxify the body and strengthen the immune system so that it is better able to fight off illness and disease.
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