Probiotics are defined as friendly bacteria responsible for biological function. In this article, I concentrate on the reasons we need proboitics, and who is at the greatest risk of deficiency.
If you are looking for a broader explanation and history of probiotics, please see my article probiotics 101.
Common reasons for taking probiotics:
- Better absorption of vitamins, and minerals
- Relief from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Crohn‘s disease, and diarrhea
- Build a stronger immune system (most of which begins in the gut)
- Reducing yeast, and urinary tract infections
- Help in treating food and skin allergies
- Ability to kill off harmful microbes keeping a healthy balance in your body
There is also promising new probiotic research in areas from Autism to treating depression.
Here as some examples of probiotic foods from around the world:
Kim che (Korea)
Yogurt / Sour Milk / Buttermilk (Central Asia)
Miso / Tempeh (Japan)
Kefir (Caucasian Mountains / Russia)
Yogurt / Lassi (India)
What these probiotic foods have in common
Historically, natural fermentation has been used, and I believe in sticking to time proven methods (as fad diets tend to be just that). I also don’t recommend anything that has been pasteurized or heated above 118 degrees as this will kill off the very thing you are trying to consume.
When to take probiotics and what kind to take:
While it seems that people have always needed probiotics in their diet, today we need them more than ever. Here are some common reasons you may be probiotic deficient.
- Use of Antibiotics (prescription) – Antibiotics can kill the good and bad bacteria which can lead to loss of digestion and weight gain.
- Antibiotics from food – If you are not eating organic, grass fed meat and dairy (which is most of us), you are consuming antibiotics constantly. Most livestock are not only injected with antibiotics, but also fed antibiotic, GMO food, and may be drinking chlorinated water.
- Drinking large amounts of Chlorinated / Fluoridated tap water (many US cities) – It is well known that Chlorine kills bacteria, so if you are drinking it every day, doesn’t it make sense that it kills your gut flora as well?
- Taking Birth Control pills
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Yeast infections
- IBS or digestive disorders
There are many great ways to get probiotics into your diet. Here are a few great ways I have found. If you have time to do it yourself, here are a few great products to help.
Kefir Starter (for dairy or coconuts)
Culture Starter (for veggies)
If you want to be healthy, but lack the time or energy to begin, here is my suggestion to get started right away.
If you have more to add on when to take probiotics. Please give me some feedback below.