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Probiotics play an important role in gut health and creating a healthy environment for digestion and breaking down food along with brain health. The health of your gut (and amount of healthy bacteria/gut flora) are linked to brain health as your gut is your second brain. You have more brain capacity and not to mention feel better with more energy when you have a sufficient amount of probiotics in your gut.

Let’s take a look at at a few of the health benefits of having more probiotics in your diet to begin with so you can understand why these foods are important. Probiotics are good bacteria “pro” meaning positive and “biotic” meaning life. Anti-biotics are “anti-life” as they kill all bacteria (good and bad) in the gut and body. This is why if you have ever been on any anti-biotics in your life it is especially important to get more probiotics in your diet to replenish these levels.

Probiotics are one of the best ways to boost immunity because they stimulate the immune response. In one study students were giving a probiotic enriched milk and during this time their level of lymphocytes (an immune marker response) increased showing their immune system was more able to handle incoming threats.

Probiotics have been shown to reduce allergies.  A study found that women taking probiotics during their pregnancy showed a 30% reduction in childhood eczema, which is an early sign of allergies. Also, infants who received probiotics had 50% higher levels of tissue inflammation which is thought to notify the immune system to activate and reduce allergies.

Probiotics have been shown to be important for both men and women but especially for women. Certain studies have sown that specific live cultures have been shown to reduce yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections. It appears that women need more probiotics and a healthy gut flora seems to be more important for them than men because of vagina health and pregnancy related matters. In fact, a baby that is born through the vagina has a better shot at not producing allergies and other health conditions because the bacteria that surrounds their body when they are born acts as a protective and immune barrier. C-section births are less healthy and supportive of the child’s long-term health.

Probiotics are becoming a more known valuable source of brain health and performance as time goes on. More and more research is showing that a healthier gut links to a healthier and more effective brain. A brain that performs better and is less likely to get brain related diseases or conditions. I know that in my life personally when I have a healthy digestive system that performs well (and I know this because of how my stomach feels and how i’m eating) that I feel better and have a more clear cognitive process overall.

Probiotics help with Urinary Tract Health. A large amount of people (especially women) get urinary tract infections because of bad bacteria build up in the urinary tract. Probiotics help to lower amounts of bad bacteria and keep the urinary tract healthy and avoid a future UTI which happens to about 30-40% of people who have a UTI the first time.

It’s clear that probiotics are an important part of overall health and well-being and we need them in our diet to benefit from them. The only thing that’s unclear is how can we get them in our diet and what if we can’t get probiotics in our diet that easily? is there another way (or ways) to still create healthy gut flora in our body without ingesting a life culture drink, food or supplement? The answer is yes! Let’s take a look at how you can get probiotics (and prebiotics, another way to inspire probiotic gut growth) in your diet.

10 Different Ways To Get Probiotics in Your Gut

1. Kefir: Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains live cultures that help to promote healthy gut bacteria. Kefir can be dairy or non-dairy. Non-dairy kefir is known as ‘water kefir’ and is usually fermented with a sugar of some sort and a grain.

2. Kombucha: Kombucha is brewed in a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) which eats sugar and ferments the tea in a jar which creates a drink (a japanese tea) that has live cultures and a range of other enzymes and amino acids beneficial for health. You can buy this in a store or brew it at home as shown here.

3. Yogurt: Some organic yogurt brands contain live cultures although this is not my favorite source personally because many yogurts have added sugar which inhibit the effectiveness of the live cultures.

4. Raw Milk: Raw milk is one of the original first ways known to most people as a source of live culture probiotics. It’s hard to come by but a beneficial source of probiotics.

5. Saurkraut: Saurkraut is a dish that originates from Germany that is simply fermented cabbage. It’s simple, good and it is a great cooling side dish in the summertime.

6. Kimchi: Kimchi is a spicy dish from asia that is a group of fermented vegetables and spices. It’s delicious and a great side dish for any meal!

7. Fermented Veggies/Fruit: You can actually ferment most any fruit or vegetables simply by understanding what to ferment it in. Most fruits and vegetables can be fermented in a jar of water with sugar and/or salt. Look up online how to ferment any fruits or vegetables to add those live cultures.

8. Artichoke: Artichokes are one of the best known sources of prebiotics which are pre-cursors to your body creating probiotics.

9. Jerusalem Artichoke Root Syrup: This is an all natural organic root based sweetener from the jerusalem artichoke. It’s rich in inulin which is an important precursur and prebiotic stimulator of healthy gut flora and probiotics. I like this brand here.

10. Prebiotic/Probiotic Supplement: If it’s difficult for you to get prebiotics and probiotics in your diet because of where you live you can always take a nutritional supplement. Personally I like the sunbiotic prebiotic+probiotic supplement as well as the garden of life probiotic supplement.

There you have it, there’s 10 solid ways to get both prebiotics and probiotics in your diet through drinks, foods and supplement routines. There’s no excuse now! Get probiotics in your diet and benefit your brain, belly and overall health! Until next time, pura vida!