Hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap, bleach, pasteurization, and antibiotics.
We have become a germ-a-phobic society; but are all bacteria bad?
The answer is a resounding NO.
In fact, to be healthy we need bacteria.
Bacteria in our gut break down our food making nutrients more available to our bodies, and bacteria on our skin help regulate pH, acting as a barrier or “bouncers” to harmful pathogens. Without our bacterial friends our susceptibility to disease increases drastically. These good bacteria are called probiotics– meaning pro-life.
There are 10x more bacteria in and on us, than there are human cells. It is very important we cultivate a symbiotic relationship with our microbial “bouncers”.
So what to do?
How do we build up our bacterial community to help us live a healthier life?
The answer is delicious. Many foods we grew up eating, no matter what our heritage, contain probiotics.
Yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha. Some may sound familiar to you and others may not. These are fermented and cultured foods that have been traditionally eaten for thousands of years in various cultures. Yogurt and kefir are both made from cultured milk.
Sauerkraut and kimchi are types of fermented cabbage.
Miso is fermented soybeans. Make sure you choose organic versions to avoid GMOs.
Kombucha, a personal favorite, is fermented tea.
People gravitate to some of these foods more than others. My husband, a staunch sauerkraut hater, adores kombucha and miso soup. Give each a try and find out what tickles your taste buds. Make sure you look for unpasteurized sources of these foods as the pasteurization process kills beneficial bacteria and the results are not nearly so tasty.
So where can you find these culinary marvels? Many of these foods can be found at your local grocery store, Asian market, or health food store.
Check out local resources here.
Some are amazingly simple and inexpensive to make at home. All it takes is a little time to track down the starter cultures which can be found online or from friends who already make their own cultured or fermented foods. Yogurt, kefir, and kombucha are by far the easiest to make. For those feeling a bit more patient and ambitious, homemade sauerkraut and kimchi are very satisfying.
By eating fermented food everyday, ideally a little with each meal, you can increase your immune function and vitality. Daily consumption helps to maintain a proper population of probiotics in your body, and the fiber found in fruits and vegetables will provide your bacterial friends with a healthy diet and keep them happy.
Adding probiotics to your diet is one of the many steps you can take to create a strong foundation for a healthy body and mind.
Every little bit helps, and the bonus is healthy food is delicious!
As always, thank you for reading and sharing this post. If you know someone who can benefit, please pass this information along.
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