Probiotics… prebiotics… antibiotics… macrobiotics – the media is full of contradicting information on these topics. But, you don’t need to spend the next millennium decoding labels. Here, the ‘biotic’ list is simplified:
These are living organisms that safely reside in your gut. They work to ward off infection and balance harmful yeasts. You can take these in the form of pills or food supplements in order to maintain a proper balance of them in your gut. Probiotic foods are more bio available and can be assimilated more efficiently. Probiotic pills, on the other hand, can possibly be broken down and killed by your digestive acids before they reach their destination.
Cultured veggies, raw milk kefir, coconut kefir, and raw kombucha tea are all healthy probiotic choices. All of these can be made at home with some effort. Kombucha tea is probably the most popular choice these days and is available at most health food and vitamin shops.
These are food for the good bacteria that already resides in your digestive tract. Consuming raw apple cider vinegar and FOS (inulin) – a fiber taken from chicory root, empowers your friendly flora to do their job better. These can be taken in pill form as well. Florastor is a popular brand that can be purchased at any drug store. When the body has a hard time accepting probiotics, it is often a good idea to introduce prebiotics first.
It is easy to incorporate prebiotics in your food by following a healthy diet. For example, you may add grains like millet, quinoa (very popular nowadays), amaranth and buckwheat flour in your diet and these will provide food for the microflora in your gut. Of course, all fruits as well as the sweet tasting vegetables like yams, beets and baked sweet potatoes can provide sugar for the good bacteria of your gut’s microflora.
These were a God-send at the time of their discovery. Antibiotics destroy all bacteria in the body, and can be very helpful during serious infections. If used only when absolutely necessary – and followed with a series of pro and/or prebiotics, antibiotics can be a healthy choice. However, when over-used, antibiotics cause more pain than pleasure. They undo the benefits of the pro and pre biotics, and help manifest stronger diseases.
This is a diet plan that has proven beneficial to everyone from monks to modern celebrities. While not directly related to the above three terms – it’s pros and cons have a direct affect on our digestive tracts. This diet groups together foods based on their energy producing characteristics. The goal is to balance foods that cause our bodies to expand with those that cause our bodies to contract. This varies during times of stress etc.
People who practice macrobiotics may need to take caution with meal combining. The word “macro” (large) refers to the consumption of staple foods (macronutrients). Suggested meals often contain heavy amounts of grains. Without a strong gut, one needs more vegetables and herbs to help break down grains.
Gina Laverde is a Chicago-based writer and researcher whose expertise in natural health stems from her experiences with Body Ecology Diet, Blood Type Diet and homeopathic remedies. Gina believes that we’re in the midst of a serious world health crisis, and that the key to survival lies within our guts.