MIXING IT UP FOR GOOD HEALTH
By Dee Woods
The list of health benefits derived from having adequate “friendly” gut bacteria is always growing. I’ve written about the importance of maintaining healthy gut flora via probiotics such as acidophilus (which by the way, means “for life” in Greek). Studies are discovering there are more benefits than ever realized in having the immune support provided by maintaining friendly gut bacteria.
Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections are responding to the power of friendly bacteria. C. diff is a fungus growth that has been shown to wreak havoc on the immune system and cause severe illness and even death. Another problem that responds to acidophilus is one known as Candida albicans — a type of yeast infection. Candida can develop very quickly if one is taking certain prescription drugs, taking antibiotics without balancing them with probiotics, eating too much sugar, drinking chlorinated water, eating starches or too many processed foods, or just fighting various illnesses. Symptoms of candida are sugar cravings, headaches, allergies, migraines, chronic fatigue and simple bloating.
Dr. Joseph Mercola suggests including fermented vegetables in the diet and drinking a delicious yogurt-type drink known as Lassi. I love Lassi and use it in my protein shakes. I can’t seem to find it around these parts any more.
Fermented sauerkraut is another very healthy food and, of course, there’s kefir. Mercola suggests unpasteurized kefir, which is loaded with probiotics.
Mercola suggests persons who decide to introduce a great deal of healthy probiotics through eating large quantities of fermented foods may suffer what he refers to as a “healing crisis,” or a Herxheimer’s reaction. “The reason for this is because when the probiotics kill off the pathogens, those pathogenic microbes release toxins,” he states. “These toxins are what’s causing your problem to begin with; be it depression, panic attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or any other symptom. When a large amount of toxin is suddenly released, your symptoms will also suddenly increase. So, if you’ve never had fermented foods before, you need to introduce them very gradually.”
The fact is, if we eat the average American diet we need probiotics and digestive enzymes as well. I find it easier to take a quality probiotic supplement along with digestive enzymes on a daily basis. There are too many bad habits that deplete our much-needed stores of probiotics. Too much sugar or drinking chlorinated water may create such problems because chlorine kills bacteria, even friendly bacteria. We all know it’s next to impossible to eat an ideal diet at all times, but we need to understand to what extent a lack of friendly bacteria can disrupt our immune system.
The latest findings indicate adequate friendly bacteria can help us fight off disease and fungal growth. Each of us should add a high-quality probiotic and digestive enzymes to our regimen.