Probiotics are my #3 SuperFood I am discussing this week. My superfoods are not ranked by importance, just selected. My 5 Superfoods are ALL SUPER important 🙂
What are probiotics anyway?
Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that are similar to organisms that occur naturally in the digestive tract. Certain strains or types of probiotics have been linked to all sorts of health benefits, from helping with irritable bowel syndrome and traveler’s diarrhea to boosting the immune system. They’re sometimes used with antibiotics to combat the diarrhea that may result from taking antibiotics. The digestive system is home to more than 500 different bacterial species. They help keep intestinal linings healthy and assist in breaking down food. Beneficial organisms are also believed to help regulate healthy immune response.
My health started declining after I had an appendectomy in 1998. In the 90’s the belief (by the medical community) was that the appendix served no real purpose to the health of the human body. Looking back, it’s hard to believe doctors were taught this theory. I trusted my doctor and my appendix was removed as a standard procedure to stomach pain on my lower right side of my abdomen. What I didn’t know then was that I was intolerant to gluten and casein proteins. When my diet is full of sugar, gluten and casein my ovaries create cysts. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome when I eat the Standard American Diet. I was not diagnosed with the condition until 10 years after the unnecessary surgery. My appendix was removed in 1998 and the doctor reported that I did not in fact have appendicitis. My right ovary most likely suffered from a big cyst (which is where the right sided pain came from). They reassured me and told me not to worry. Why? The appendix “served no purpose”. My health began getting worse after this surgery, and for 10 years I would suffer from many other unpleasant ailments ranging from Kidney Stones, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Constipation, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Chronic Candida, Bacterial Infections, PCOS, Fatigue, Infertility, Endometriosis, Food Allergies, Foggy Brain, etc.
Guess what? It turns out the appendix does have a purpose and it is pretty important. THE APPENDIX PROTECTS US FROM GERMS AND PROTECTS GOOD BACTERIA.
The appendix most likely is there to protect us from bad germs by creating and protecting good germs, say scientists from Duke University Medical Center, USA. Most doctors and scientists have believed that the appendix was a redundant organ – serving no purpose at all.
After assessing several experiments and observations, the scientists believe that the good bacteria in the appendix that help our digestion can survive a bout of diarrhea that cleans out our gut, and appear to repopulate the gut. The authors explained “While there is no smoking gun, the abundance of circumstantial evidence makes a strong case for the role of the appendix as a place where the good bacteria can live safe and undisturbed until they are needed.”
Its exact function has been a topic of debate by doctors – however, we have known that it contains immune system tissue.
Different microbes that help the digestive system break down foods inhabit the gut. The gut rewards these microbes by feeding them and keeping them safe. The scientists believe that the immune system cells located in the appendix have the function of protecting the good bacteria.
The authors explain “Our studies have indicated that the immune system protects and nourishes the colonies of microbes living in the biofilm. By protecting these good microbes, the harmful microbes have no place to locate. We have also shown that biofilms are most pronounced in the appendix and their prevalence decreases moving away from it.”
I remember reading this news report after the birth of my first son in 2008 and my heart sank. I sat down and I had a good cry. Why? I had an unnecessary surgery and my gut health started to decline shortly after. I was not told to take extra probiotics or probiotics at ALL to help compensate my PERMANENT loss of good bacteria. About 5 years after the surgery my gut health was severely suffering. I just thought I had bad genetics or something. Sick with conditions that could have been prevented with proper diet and nourishment…. my body was STARVING and SUFFERING on the inside. I cried that day, not just because of my own health issues, but also for my 5 month old son. My baby was showing signs of the same problems. He was colicky, had chronic yeast infections, and also had leaky gut syndrome. I immediately started us both on a high grade probiotic (and I was still breastfeeding). I started to clean up my diet.
Probiotics have become my best friends. Which is a great way to describe them. There isn’t a day that I don’t consume “friendly bacteria”. My gut has healed slowly over time. No more PCOS, Leaky Gut, Kidney Stones, IBS, constipation, foggy brain, etc. I attribute much of my health today to probiotic rich dairy products, beverages, vegetables, foods, etc. Ask all my family, if you have dinner at my house you will be forced to drink some sort of probiotic beverage that I have brewing at the time 🙂
How to tell if you need probiotics? Check out this article here.
My opinion is that EVERY American today needs probiotics. Probably everyday. Antibiotics are overused and people are sick. Kids are taking antibiotics more and more. Kids need probiotics. Our immune systems need the extra support and good bacteria working on “our side” of this bacteria battle. Bacterial Infections are on the rise. I know which side of the fence I want to be on…. the question is how to secure our individual gut health.
Foods that contain probiotics: Kefir, yogurt, milk (raw), fermented vegetables (make sure it says LIVE cultures if you buy it), raw cheese, Kombucha, water kefir, there are lots of probiotic beverages at most local health food stores- just ask!!
Great blogs to learn more about fermented foods:
Great books about Gut Health:
Probiotic Cleanses that I have done:
“Let food be thy medicine” Hippocrates
GreenBootGirlMEDICAL DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your doctor or health care practitioner before using herbs, homeopathy, essential oils or other natural remedies. PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.