“All disease begins in the gut.”
The above is a quote from Greek physician Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC), who is often referred to as “the father of medicine.”
Fast forward over 2,000 years and we now know that Hippocrates was right. In fact, 70% of our immune system is housed in the gut. Since the food and beverages we consume today consist of chemicals, food additives, hormones and other things potentially harmful to our well-being, a healthy gut is more important than ever. But what are probiotics?, and why are they vital to our survival?
Probiotics are living microorganisms, mostly bacteria, but one strain of yeast (saccharomyces boulardii) also functions as a probiotic.
While bacteria are often thought of as something bad for us, they are central to our survival. Here’s why: There are “good bacteria” and “bad bacteria,” A balance of 85% good bacteria to 15% bad is considered healthy..
Bad bacteria are not probiotics. Bad bacteria enter our bodies through food and environmental toxins. They can cause pneumonia, meningitis, strep throat and food poisoning, among other infections. Bad bacteria are the reason it’s necessary to wash your hands and keep your kitchen and bathroom clean.The trillions of good bacteria living in our gut break down food to produce energy, synthesize vitamins, prevent bad bacteria from making you sick and absorb nutrients.
Because of their health benefits, probiotics are used in the production of some food. Foods containing probiotics are generally thought to be safe except for people who have immune system issues or other serious health conditions.
The following eight foods are rich in probiotics:
Prebiotic foods feed the good bacteria in your gut. Foods that contain prebiotics to strengthen your immune system (as well as many other benefits) are onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, oatmeal, red wine, honey, maple syrup and legumes.
If you heed the words of Hippocrates and listen to your gut when making food choices, you’ll prime your immune system to fend off the “bad germs” and protect your immune health. As Hippocrates is credited with saying, “let food be thy medicine.”
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