What’s the Deal with Probiotics?

probiotics-fermented-food-ulcerative-colitis

WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?

Probiotics are a healthy bacteria that balances our gut flora. Our gut contains trillions of good bacteria and also some bad… ya know, for balance or whatever. Sometimes the bad bacteria is like, “I love it in here let’s make more of us!” The lonely good bacteria is like “Guys…. Guys?… Where’d you go?!”… Then you feel gross and toilet troubles may occur. Probiotics prevent that harmful bacteria from reproducing. It also promotes the beneficial kind of bacteria that keeps our gut working smoothly. Healthy balance of gut flora is needed to properly digest food, produce vitamins, detox bad intruders, and boost immunity.  After all, over 70% of our immune system lives in our digestive tract. If you’ve got Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis you know all too well that shitty (pun intended) feeling when your disease is flaring and your whole body feels sick – not just your gut! The struggle is real, my friends. Basically what I’m saying is that when we care for our gut we are also caring for our entire bodies via the immune system.

So here’s the scoop.

Probiotics can be taking in two forms; in food or a pill supplement. We’ve all seen those cute Activia commecials with women giggling over their probiotic yogurt. Sure, some yogurts are made to contain probiotics but dairy is not part of the paleo diet. And if you’re sensitive to dairy all that lactose might have opposite effects. So what other foods contain probiotics?

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PROBIOTIC FOOD

(click each item to be linked to a recipe or product)

KOMBUCHA

 

SAUERKRAUT

 

KIMCHI

or any fermented vegetable!

 

BEET KVASS


KEFIR (if you do low-lactose dairy try goat or sheep kefir)

 

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SUPPLEMENTS: Million vs Billion Culture Count

Even though millions of probiotic cultures sounds like a lot, it’s not. So a recommended medium dose is considered 1-2 billion. It sounds like a lot, but anything less than that might not be enough to impact your health. Everybody’s bodies (woo fun words) are different. So you can start off with a lower dose and see how you feel. Remember not to take these supplements with a drink, like sugary soda, which will throw your gut bacteria out of whack. The supplements are not a band aid to your poor diet. They enhance it.

There is also a probiotic supplement specifically designed for ulcerative colitis patients. VSL #3 targets the GI tract and contains over 100 billion live bacteria. 8 different lactic acid bacteria strains. Some other supplements only contain 2. Personally I have yet to try it but I am posting this hear in hopes to receive feedback. You’re encouraged to share your personal experience in the comments!

TIP! Refrigerators are probiotic’s best friends. Heat kills most of the bacteria. So buying fermented foods or probiotic supplements from shelves at room temperature isn’t the best idea. Try to find ones that have always been refrigerated.

15 thoughts on “What’s the Deal with Probiotics?

  1. samanthaplourd

    I love probiotics! I use Garden of Life RAW probiotics. They are refrigerated and have 50 billion live cultures. They are a tad pricey, but with the way my gut feels (and almost immediately after taking the first pill), they are totally worth it!

  2. olpampam

    Ah, this makes sense. I’ve been drinking water kefir for about a year now and my family and I haven’t been sick the entire year. Mind you we are also eating way less processed foods and green smoothies every morning. But I only started the green smoothies in November.

    1. mangiapaleo Post author

      It’s very possible that the probiotics/kefir is certainly helping. 🙂 If anything it’s not hurting, right!? 🙂 Good to hear you have improved your health this past year.

  3. Vincene

    I have heard good things about VSL #3 from folks with UC. I have spoken to my GI doctor about it too and they have gotten positive feedback from patients, but some patients don’t tolerate it well. My GI doctor offered to give me some samples to test it out before buying it since it is pricey. I haven’t had the time to pick the samples up, but your post has motivated me to do so! Also, I hear that there is a stronger prescription version of VSL #3 too.

  4. jana

    I’ve found sauerkraut and kombucha to be helpful. I love that sauerkraut and sausages is a quick easy meal, too! Usually I’ll also throw in a little something for sweetness: apples, or sweet onion.

  5. Ellen

    Since the bacteria do best (stay alive) when they are kept cool, wouldn’t it be better to drink sauerkraut juice raw, rather than eating cooked sauerkraut? The juice is available over here, though rather pricey. Don’t really understand why, since the kraut is ridiculously cheap and the juice is a waste product, but never mind that. Mind wondering off again. 🙂

    1. Mangia Paleo

      Supposedly, yes. We have the juice here and I really like this company: http://farmhouseculture.com/ Maybe there is a process to the juice we don’t know about? Or it could be just supply/demand. Like when butchers realized more people were buying bones for cooking they increased the price when prior to that they gave them away for free!

What do you think?


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