How To Go Pro (as in Probiotics)

Let’s learn how to Go Pro (as in Probiotics). Throughout history, fermented foods have provided probiotic bacteria in the diet. All traditional cultures fermented their foods and lived in and with nature. This created an amazing diversity of gut microbes.

WHAT IS FERMENTED FOOD?

Food fermentation dates back more than seven thousand years to wine making in the Middle East. In the United States we are familiar with sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) and yogurt (fermented milk product). Korean-Americans probably have a jar of kimchi in their fridge. We are realizing the amazing health benefits of these microbial foods. CLICK HERE to read my previous blog about Psychobiotics: The Future of Mental Health ( the link between microbes and our mental health).

How To Go Pro (as in Probiotics)

WHAT IS FERMENTATION?

Fermentation is the metabolic process of converting carbohydrates, typically sugars, into other molecules – either alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids. The chemical conversion process needs yeast, bacteria (or both) and it takes place in the absence of oxygen. Fermented foods contribute a diverse array of microorganisms to the existing gut microbiota and thus have the potential to affect health.

NOT ALL FERMENTED FOODS ARE THE SAME

While all fermented foods are necessarily made with microorganisms, some products are subsequently processed by heat or filtration. These steps are done to extend shelf-life and make the products shelf-stable, but they also inactivate or remove the organisms. Thus, fermented vegetables, like sauerkraut or pickles packaged in jars and stored at room temperature will not contain live cultures. For other fermented products, like sour dough bread, the organisms do not survive the baking process. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for consumers to know which products actually contain live bacteria. Still, there are plenty of fermented foods with live cultures, but discerning consumers need to look carefully at the labels.

Many foods can have probiotic benefits
Cucumbers are great to pickle

WHAT ARE DIETARY SOURCES OF PROBIOTICS?

Here is how to Go Pro (as in Probiotics). Probiotics can be found in:

Yogurt – milk that has been fermented by friendly bacteria, mainly lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.

Kefir – fermented probiotic milk drink. It is made by adding kefir grains to cow’s or goat’s milk.

Sauerkraut – finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria.

Tempeh – fermented soybean product. It forms a firm patty whose flavor is described as nutty, earthy or similar to a mushroom.

Kimchi – contains the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus kimchii, as well as other lactic acid bacteria that may benefit digestive health

Kombucha – is a fermented black or green tea drink.

Pickles – cucumbers that have been pickled in a solution of salt and water.

You might also want to supplement with a probiotic supplement to help increase the number of beneficial bacteria that reside in your gut. CLICK HERE for the one I use and recommend.

Psychobiotics, The Future of Mental Health?

Have you heard the term psychobiotics? At this year’s National Wellness Conference in October, 2019, I am speaking on Your Brain and Microbiome (Psychobiotics)- New Imperatives for Depression, Anxiety and Mental Health.

YOUR SECOND BRAIN

“The second brain,” is a mesh-like network of 500 million neurons lines our entire digestive tract from the esophagus to the anus. It has the job of coordinating all the digestive functions and communicating to our “first brain” via the vagus nerve.

What an exciting time we live in. The science of the microbiome is exploding and now we are discovering that specific bacteria can have beneficial effects on mood, motivation, and cognition.

YOUR MICROBIOME
The average human has between 3–6 pounds worth of microorganisms in their GI tract. The evidence suggests that they evolved in conjunction with our body’s cells to provide vital functions that our cells can not. It turns out that our gut bacteria are powerful at regulating neurotransmitter levels.

GUT MATTERS

There is now a lot of animal research and preliminary human trials to support the fact that gut microbes influence mood and behavior. We know that gut bacteria can speak to the brain in ways that affect our mood, our appetite, and even our circadian rhythms. The next challenge for scientists is to learn how to optimize this communication.

A MIND OF YOUR OWN

I highly recommend the book A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies and Reclaim their Lives, by Kelly Brogan, MD. She says, ” “Every Functional Medicine Psychiatrist, like me has case stories of the “probiotic cure” – of a patient with debilitating symptoms, whose symptoms vanished with dietary change and probiotic supplementation.”

The science of psychobiotics explores emerging strategies for planting brain-altering bacteria in the gut to provide mental benefits.

If you would like my FREE Gut Matters eBook CLICK HERE and I will send you Gut Matters: 4 Ways to Optimize Your Digestion to Boost Your ‘Second Brain’ and Improve Your Mood

What Exactly Is CBD Oil ?

I get asked a lot about my opinions on CBD Oil. I had to research it myself because this is new to the medical and wellness world. I knew it had something to do with marijuana, but I needed to turn to my functional health community to really understand the science.

Here are some TOP TEN basics about CBD.

    1. Both hemp and marijuana are part of the plant family known as Cannabis.
    2. CBD is short for cannabidiol, that is found in hemp and marijuana. There are 60 different known cannabinoids.
    3. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) (THC), the well-known psychoactive cannabinoid.
    4. CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same receptors as THC.
    5. CBD hemp oil is made from high-CBD, low-THC hemp, unlike medical marijuana products, which are usually made from plants with high concentrations of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
    6. The reason THC is so famous is because it’s associated with the psychoactive high that people experience after smoking or ingesting weed.
    7. Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits.
    8. CBD has gained a reputation as a safe, non-psychoactive treatment for a range of health concerns. As a result, many different kinds of  CBD products have been developed, including oils,  edibles, and vaporizer liquids.
    9. While there are many different pathways driving the positive health benefits of CBD, the center of its abilities seems to be that CBD is a very effective natural anti-inflammatory.
    10. CBD products may  be sold in certain states that have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana.

Stay tuned more more articles about the health benefits of CBD.