Probiotics and Fermented Foods

Probiotics are the healthy or beneficial bacteria that live in and on our bodies. There are as many as 100 trillion bacteria comprised of 1000 different species or strains in the intestinal flora alone. Research shows that these beneficial bacteria assist in proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, as they help produce enzymes. They stimulate the immune system ( 70% of the body’s immune system response originates in the gut), they produce anti-microbial substances and they compete against other micro-organisms trying to invade. The healthy bacteria in the intestine are the first line of defense against microbes and other infectious bugs.

The consumption of processed food and modern preparations, antibiotic use, chemicals, pollution, poor diet, stress- all of these can diminish the beneficial bacteria in our bodies.

Getting your probiotics through supplementation, either in liquid or capsule is incredibly beneficial and there are some great products on the market, all with varying strains and quantities, delivery systems and quality. And while I do very much love and value the use of probiotic supplements, and I take them myself, today, I would like to discuss getting probiotics through our diet.

Traditional cultured foods commonly consumed are yogurt, wine, beer, bread, mead and kefir. Raw foods fermenting into flavorful, aromatic, nourishing, anti-oxidant rich, easy to digest foods is a worldwide practice. Cultured food is basically fermented food. It is the chemical process of breaking down complex substances into more simple parts, usually occurring with the help of fungi, bacteria like lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidus or yeast such as brewers yeast.

Commonly eaten in Japan and China for centuries, Miso is a probiotic and enzyme rich fermented soybean paste with a slightly salty taste and buttery texture. Miso is made by adding a yeast mold known as koji to soybeans and other ingredients and allowing them to ferment for a period of time ranging from months to years, depending on the specific type of miso being produced. When the fermentation process is completed, the mixture is ground into a paste similar in texture to nut butter. Fermenting the soybeans makes them rich in isoflavones considered to be cancer preventative.

The research and wisdom behind these bacteria is extensive. The anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer activity, the bioavailability, the cardiovascular benefits, the immune enhancement, the detoxifying properties- the list goes on and on. I encourage you to introduce more and new fermented foods and beverages into your diet.  The incorporation of probiotics into the diet whether in supplement form or cultured food form can provoke deep and profound benefits to your health and wellbeing.

If you would like more information on probiotic supplementation, how or where to purchase cultured foods or preparing cultured foods at home, please visit my website at

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