Probiotics, which literally mean “beneficial to life,” are live cultures that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Most probiotics include the live active cultures often added to foods like yogurt. Researchers have studied bacteria extensively and considerable evidence indicates that there are several strains of essential good-for-you bacteria that have an ability to promote healthy gastrointestinal functions, increase immunity and help prevent the development of cancer-causing toxins throughout the body. Lifeway Kefir contains seven to ten billion CFU’s of ten live and active cultures per cup to produce a wide array of health benefits.
Why probiotics are so important?
Probiotics are friendly bacteria similar to those found in people’s guts, especially in the guts of breastfed infants who have been provided this natural protection against many diseases by their mothers. Most friendly bacteria come from the Lactobacillus or Bididobacterium groups. There are several different species of bacteria in each group. Some probiotics are also friendly yeasts.
Taking probiotics is a way to keep your friendly bacteria population up to full strength so it is always at the ready to defend you. It is a way to replenish the bacteria that are killed off by the pesticides and chlorine. If you have taken antibiotics, taking probiotics is even more important because you probably have unfriendly microorganisms living in your gut that your reduced levels of friendly bacteria are having difficulty handling. Taking probiotics will increase and strengthen your friendly bacteria population to a level that will allow it to oust the intruders.
Kefir may be the best way to take probiotics
Kefir is a creamy, drinkable yogurt style fermented milk that tastes something like buttermilk. Before you say “yuck” please note that kefir is available at health food stores in natural fruit flavors and sweetened with evaporated cane juice, as well as in a plain, unsweetened variety. If you make it at home, it can be made to taste like whatever appeals to you and out of whatever type of milk you like, such as almond milk or coconut milk. It’s full of naturally occurring bacteria and yeast living in symbiosis as the result of the fermentation process. Kefir is loaded with vitamins, minerals and easily digested protein. It can even be consumed by the lactose intolerant because the yeast and bacteria provide the enzyme lactase, an enzyme which consumes most of the lactose left after the culturing process.
Kefir is fermented by kefir grains that contain the bacteria and yeast mixture clumped together with casein (milk protein) and complex sugars. The bacteria and yeast mixture can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match. Several of the strains of bacteria in the kefir culture are not found in yogurt. The yeast in kefir is able to deal effectively with pathogenic yeasts in the body. The bacteria/yeast team cleanses and fortifies the intestinal tract making it more efficient at resisting pathogens.
Because kefir is a balanced and nourishing food, it has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer. It has a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system and is beneficial for people with sleep disorders, depression and ADHD. Kefir promotes healthy bowel movements when used regularly, and helps reduce flatulence. It also helps reduce food cravings by allowing the body to feel more nourished and balanced.