Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Natural Remedies: The Use of Probiotics

 We’ve all had those times where we don’t feel well from a yeast infection, stomach bug, or eczema.  Maybe those issues go away quickly…other times they just stick around for what seems like, well…forever.

I am not big into taking medicines, but there have been a few times I have really needed antibiotics or strong medicines to get me over an illness.  These are always great because I get better from my first ailment…but I have found that taking such strong medicines mess up my system.  In particular, my digestive system.

You see, our bodies get sick when we get too much bad bacteria…but our healthy bodies have a balance between good and bad bacteria naturally living within us.  The trouble with antibiotics is that it kills the bad bacteria AND the good bacteria.  When this good bacteria is killed off, it leaves our bodies off balance and then we don’t feel well and have a new type of “sickness.”  

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I found the one of the ways to help my body recuperate from this loss of good bacteria is the use of probiotics.  There are many things which probiotics can help remedy including:
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Any type of Yeast Infection
  • Muscle Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Allergies
  • Inflammation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Eczema (especially in infants and children)
  • Colds and flus
Probiotics can be found in foods, but are usually easiest found in pill form.  However, if you are looking to eat those probiotics through your diet, check out these food items:
  • Yogurt:  Look for live-cultured yogurt, particularly those that are made from goat’s milk.  In your average grocery store you can find “Activia” brand yogurt that has probiotics in it.
  • Dark Chocolate: Yes, ladies, you just found an excuse for eating dark chocolate.  Believe it or not, dark chocolate is high in probiotics.  Make sure it is a high-quality form of dark chocolate, however, or you may be getting the low end of the deal.
  • Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is rich in live cultures and also high in vitamins A, B, C, and E.  Sauerkraut is also thought to help reduce allergies and allergy symptoms.
  • Kefir: A popular health drink in Europe, this drink comes in dairy and non-dairy forms.  It is high in probiotics and can be used as a healthy milk alternative in smoothies, sauces, and any recipes calling for milk!
  • Pickles: Surprisingly, pickles are said to have plenty of probiotics.  Supposedly, if you make your own pickles they will have an increased number of probiotics in them.
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There are many other places to find probiotics within a diet (although many of the foods are considered very unusual to our culture) but that gives you an idea that you CAN find them through eating food. 

You can also find probiotics in pill, or powder, form.  There are dozens of probiotics…all for slightly different purposes.  Just to name a few (and these are the ones I currently am taking) there are:
  • Acidophilus
  • Kyodophilus
  • Jarrowdophilus (A combination mix…similar to a multivitamin, yet with probiotics.)
  • Zymex (Also a combination mix)
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 When I am actively trying to combat getting my “good bacteria” back inside my normal flora, I take 2-3 of each type of pill every day.  When I am “stable” (or simply maintaining the healthy balance) I take 1 of each daily.  I just make sure that I have those pills with my normal vitamins in the morning!  It is really a simple process.

Have I made you curious yet?  I hope so.  There is much information out on probiotics, so it is really impossible to give you the full picture of the use of probiotics.  However, I hope this post will make you curious and that you will be able to find a place for the healthy use of probiotics in your life!  Happy researching!

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PLEASE NOTE: These are only natural home remedies that no professional has reviewed or written.  This is not to take the place of professional medical advice, it is merely to aid you at home.  If you are concerned, it is best to call your doctor and follow instructions given by him/her.

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