The Benefits of Probiotics

I was very excited to attend Energetics of Food at Maryland University for Integrative Health this past weekend.  The instructor, Paul Pitchford, is a teacher and nutrition researcher.  His book, Healing with Whole Foods, combines Eastern Asian medicine with modern nutritional traditions.  I wanted to share some of his knowledge regarding the healing power of probiotics.  As many people know, probiotics are a fundamental live organism that confers microbial balance in the intestines.  In the presence of illness, poor eating habits, and overuse of antibiotics, most people deplete these beneficial microbes and reek havoc on their digestive system and in turn can increase their risk of illness.  Of course, yogurt has become one of the more popular probiotic foods, but it’s not necessarily the highest in probiotic concentration.  If you are someone who is dairy-free, many companies now make coconut and almond milk yogurt, which is actually quite tasty.  There are several other methods for increasing your probiotic intake to keep your belly happy!  Anyone like pickles, sauerkraut, or kombucha?  All of these foods have beneficial microbes for increasing intestinal flora.  I recently tried a sauerkraut from a local Charlottesville company, Farmstead Ferments.  This yummy fermented cabbage concoction was made with broccoli, scallions, and garlic.  Other varieties include garlicky greens kraut, apple kraut, and winter soltice sauerkraut.  Needless to say, this is not your typical sauerkraut!  This sauerkraut is made with celtic sea salt. However, low salt or saltless sauerkrauts can be made at home.  

Kombucha is fermented green tea which is loaded with probiotics and offers a little “pick me up” for the mid-day slump.  Farmstead Ferments also sells both Kombucha and Kombucha started kits to make your own at home!  Another local Nelson County company, Barefoot Bucha, is wonderful and sells on tap at Whole Foods in Charlottesville and select flavors are sold at The Health Nut in Wyndhurst.  Barefoot Bucha comes in six flavors.  This Kombucha is very good… ginger is my favorite.  Just beware of drinking too much as they are made with some sugar.  I hope you will branch out and try some other probiotic foods!  Fermenting at home is not that difficult.  Explore new ways to increase your health!  

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