The psychiatrist in your gut

Psychobiotics

Psychobiotics: Bacteria For Your Brain?

 

Every functional medicine psychiatrist has case stories of the ‘probiotic cure’ – of a patient with debilitating symptoms, often obsessive compulsive range, whose symptoms remitted completely with dietary change and probiotic supplementation. Is this voodoo or is it based on a growing understanding of the role of the microbiome in mental health and behavior? For two decades now, pioneering researchers have been substantiating inflammatory models of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.  Research has focused on markers that indicate immune distress in an important subset of patients, many of whom are labeled “treatment resistant.” Through this body of literature, we have identified that depression can be induced, in animals and in humans through inflammatory agents, that it is correlated with blood levels of inflammatory markers, in a linear way (more markers = worse depression), and that symptoms can be reversed through pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories.

Inflammatory Models of Mental Illness:

The Role for the Gut

Working with this premise, where is the best place to begin when we consider how to modify inflammatory states in the body, naturally? You guessed it, it’s the gut. Housing >70% of our immune system, the gut is our interface between the outside and inside world, separated by one-cell-thickness. The resident microorganisms, outnumbering by 10:1 by our human body cells, develop an ecosystem through postnatal exposures, in the vaginal canal, through breastfeeding, and the immediate environment.  Disruption to the balance of bacteria through medication exposures, gluten, herbicides, stress, and infection can set the stage for the innate immune system to prepare for attack. Depression, associated with compromised integrity of this intestinal barrier, becomes the swirling storm of inflammation, impairment of cellular machinery (i.e. mitochondria), oxidative stress, and inflammation in a carousel-like forward rotation. Specifically, depression is associated with elevated levels of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a nutrient-binding, inflammatory toxin produced by bacteria that are intended to remain in the gut.

If depression is a downstream collection of symptoms, and inflammation, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction are driving these symptoms, what is at the source? It appears, from data in animals and humans, that disruption to our gut ecology may be a major player, and the microbiome has stepped to the forefront of cutting-edge psychiatric research.

Enter psychobiotics: “a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness.”

A review by Dinan et al. encompasses the clinical basis for the use of probiotics in mental health with reference to animal studies in which behavioral changes resulted from exposure to bacterial strains such as bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. In placebo-controlled trials in humans, measures of anxiety, chronic fatigue, and depression and anxiety associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

The therapeutic clinical applications of probiotics have been limited to a handful of strains out of the more than 7000 at last count. It appears that colonization is not an expected outcome of probiotic supplementation, and that genomic communication between bacteria and immune receptors may account for anti-inflammatory effects.

Ancient Wisdom

Given how little is known about therapeutic applications of different strains, it may make sense to defer to ancestral practices that confirm the importance of probiotic exposures. In these foods such as lactofermented kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and other traditional vegetables, microbes are acting on the food, and the food is then acting on our microbes.

What do bacteria accomplish in the gut? Do they just help with digestion? According to Selhub et al., they:

• Direct protection of the intestinal barrier;

• Influence on local and systemic antioxidant status, reduction in lipid peroxidation;

• Direct, microbial-produced neurochemical production, for example, gammaaminobutyric

acid (GABA);

• Indirect influence on neurotransmitter or neuropeptide production;

• Prevention of stress-induced alterations to overall intestinal microbiota;

• Direct activation of neural pathways between gut and brain;

• Limitation of inflammatory cytokine production;

• Modulation of neurotrophic chemicals, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor;

• Limitation of carbohydrate malabsorption;

• Improvement of nutritional status, for example, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, dietary

phytochemicals;

• Limitation of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth;

• Reduction of amine or uremic toxin burden;

• Limitation of gastric or intestinal pathogens (for example, Helicobacter pylori);

• Analgesic properties.

Given widespread fermentation practices in traditional cultures, it appears that this dietary wisdom may serve to ameliorate gut-based inflammation and promote optimal nutrient assimilation as described in this review:

Traditional dietary practices have completely divergent effects of blood LPS levels; significant reductions (38%) have been noted after a one-month adherence to a prudent (traditional) diet, while the Western diet provokes LPS elevations .”

In addition to increasing bioavailability and production of minerals, neurochemicals, and fatty acids, fermented foods actually produce methylfolate, an activated form of folate required for methylation: brain chemical synthesis, detox, and gene expression.

Because of the complex coevolution of bacterial strains, cultivated through our food supply, and complementary to our inner microbiomes, we have an opportunity to use therapeutic foods to reeducate an immune system that has been drawn off course. Psychobiotics have the potential to modulate multiple different relevant factors at once:

“This could manifest, behaviorally, via magnified antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, reduction of intestinal permeability and the detrimental effects of LPS, improved glycemic control, positive influence on nutritional status (and therefore neurotransmission and neuropeptide production), direct production of GABA, and other bioactive chemicals, as well as a direct role in gut-to-brain communication via a beneficial shift in the intestinal microbiota itself.”

It is therefore compelling to consider the power of reconnecting to the natural world through our food; communicating through our guts to our brains, that nutrients are plentiful, our bodies are safe, and that our inflammatory systems can be put at ease. It is under these circumstances that the infinite complexity of the endocrine, immune, and gastrointestinal systems can play out, unhindered in support of mental health and wellness.

Source: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/psychobiotics-bacteria-your-brain?page=1

 


Kombucha’s multitude of benefits

 

7 Reasons to Drink Kombucha Everyday

Benefits of Kombucha
Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits. Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and cane sugar that is used as a functional food.  Kombucha contains b-vitaminsenzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic, and lactic), which have the following health benefits:

  • Improving Digestion
  • Weight Loss
  • Increasing Energy
  • Cleansing and Detoxification
  • Immune Support
  • Cancer Prevention

The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast and is commonly known as aSCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). You can make kombucha yourself at home or buy it for $3-5 a bottle at most health food stores and some coffee shops. An article published in the journal Food Microbiology has established that the following probiotics make up this health elixir.

Good Bacteria and Yeast (Probiotics):

  • Gluconacetobacter (>85% in most sample)
  • Acetobacter (<2%)
  • Lactobacillus (up to 30% in some samples)
  • Zygosaccharomyces (>95%)

Ultimately, this cocktail of good bacteria interact together in a unique way to produce some unbelievable health benefits for those who drink it.

7 Health Benefits of Kombucha Infograph

Why Every Person Should Drink Kombucha

In the newest research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food 2014, researchers from the University of Latvia say the following about the health benefits of kombucha: It is shown that [kombucha] can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of boosting immunity. We agree! In fact, according to research there are 5 main health benefits of kombucha.

#1 Detoxification – The detoxifying capacity of kombucha is immense. A perfect example has been observed in its ability to counteract liver cell toxicity. In one study, the liver cells being evaluated were protected from oxidative injury and actually maintained their normal physiology, in spite of being exposed to the toxin! According to researchers, this was “probably due to its antioxidant activity and could be beneficial against liver diseases, where oxidative stress is known to play a crucial role.”
#2 Digestion – Naturally the antioxidant prowess of this ancient tea counteracts free radicals that create mayhem in the digestive system. However, the greatest reason kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probioticsand enzymes. Extensive work has even been conducted to test kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal leaky gut and stomach ulcers. No surprise to us, it was proven to be as effective as drugs like Prilosec, which are commonly prescribed for heartburn, GERD, and ulcers.
#3 Energy – Kombucha’s ability to invigorate people has been credited to the formation of iron that is released from the black tea during the fermentation process.  It also contains some caffeine and b-vitamins, which can energize the body. Through a special process known as chelation, the iron released helps to boost blood hemoglobin, improving oxygen supply to tissues and stimulating the energy producing process at the cellular level. In other words, by helping the body create more energy (ATP), the ancient tea can help those who regularly drink stay energized for extended periods of time.
#4 Immune Health – The overall effect that kombucha has to modulate the immune system is best seen in its ability to control free radicals through unbelievable antioxidant measures. Clinically proven to decrease oxidative stress and related immuno-suppression, a powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) has been discovered during the kombucha fermentation process that is not found in black tea alone. Also, we know the probiotics found in kombucha support the immune system. Scientists suspect that DSL and the Vitamin C present in kombucha are its’ main secrets in protecting against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, tumors and overall depression of the immune system.
#5 Joint Care – Kombucha can help heal, repair and prevent joint damage in a number of ways. Kombucha is loaded with glucosamines, which increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. This supports the preservation of collagen and prevents arthritic pain. In the same way it supports joint collagen it can also support collagen of the entire body and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
#6 Cancer Prevention – Kombucha has also been proven beneficial for cancer prevention and recovery.  A study published in Cancer Letters found that by consuming glucaric acid found in kombucha reduced the risk of cancer in humans. President Reagan reportedly drank kombucha daily as part of his regimen to battle stomach cancer.
#7 Weight Loss – Data from a study in 2005 showed evidence that kombucha can improve metabolism and limit fat accumulation.  Though we’ll need to see more studies before we can confirm these results, it makes sense that kombucha supports weight loss since it’s high in acetic acid and polyphenols which have in other studies been proven to increase weight loss.
As you can see kombucha boasts many health benefits! So drink up for your health. Have you ever made or consumed kombucha?  Do you consume it for the health benefits or for the taste?   References:

  • American Cancer Society. Kombucha Tea. Available at:http://www.cancer.org
  • Bhattacharya S, et al. Protective effect of kombucha tea against tertiary butyl hydroperoxide induced cytotoxicity and cell death in murine hepatocytes. Indian J. Exp Biol 2011; 49:       511–524.
  • Bhattacharya S, et al. Hepatoprotective properties of kombucha tea against TBHP-induced oxidative stress via suppression of mitochondria dependent apoptosis. Pathophysiology 2011; 18:221–234.
  • Banerjee D, et al. Comparative healing property of kombucha tea and black tea against indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice: possible mechanism of action. Food Funct 2010; 1: 284–293.
  • Danielian LT. Kombucha and Its Biological Features. Meditsina, Moscow, 2005.
  • Dufresne C, et al. Tea, kombucha and health: a review. Food Res Int 2000; 33: 409–421.
  • Fu NF, et al. Clearance of free silica in rat lungs by spraying with chinese herbal kombucha. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013; 2013:790792.
  • Marsh AJ, et al. Sequence-based analysis of the bacterial and fungal compositions of multiple kombucha (tea fungus) samples. Food Microbiol 2014; 38:171-8.
  • Rashid K, et al. An update on oxidative stress-mediated organ pathophysiology. Food Chem Toxicol 2013; 62:584-600
  • Sai Ram M, et al. Effect of kombucha tea on chromate(VI)-induced oxidative stress in albino rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2010; 71: 235– 240.
  •  Vīna I, et al. Current Evidence on Physiological Activity of Kombucha Fermented Beverage and Expected Health Effects. J Med Food 2013; [Epub ahead of print]

Fermented foods heal the gut and boost immunity

Fermented foods heal the gut and boost immunity

 

Wed. Oct. 30, 2013 by Jonathan Landsman

(NaturalHealth365)

The popularity of fermented foods is on the rise. And why not, these ‘cultured foods’ are not only delicious but a highly-effective way to heal the gut. And, let’s not forget, a healthy gut equals a strong immune system – which primarily resides in the digestive system.

Drinking fresh kombucha or eating raw sauerkraut, will dramatically improve your health by promoting the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria, enriching your body with B vitamins, digestive enzymes plus much more.

How do fermented foods improve digestion?

Fermentation actually pre-digests complex foods by breaking them down into readily absorbable amino acids and simper sugars. This includes the extremely nutritious but difficult to digest young cereal grasses such as wheat, barley, alfalfa and oats.

All these grains contain high levels of B vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and antioxidants – which are encased in the plant cell walls. Humans, sometimes, find it difficult to digest plant-based foods – which is why fermentation is so valuable. In addition, fermentation can help eliminate ‘anti-nutrients’ like phytic acid, a compound found in grains that blocks mineral absorption.

Can fermented foods help us prevent cancer?

According to a study found in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cabbage is a known cancer-fighting food and the fermentation process – used to make sauerkraut – actually unlocks an even stronger anti-cancer effect.

Researcher Eeva-Liisa Ryhanen, one of the paper’s authors at MTT Agrifood Research Finland, said:

“We are finding that fermented cabbage could be healthier than raw or cooked cabbage, especially for fighting cancer.”

The researchers found that the fermentation process changes the glucosinolates, in cabbage, dissolving them into a a class of enzymes that have been shown to prevent cancer. One study, that compared the incidence of breast cancer among Polish women and polish immigrants in Michigan, found that women who stayed in Poland were less likely to develop cancer. Can you guess why?

The study went on to say that the Michigan immigrants were 4 – 5 times more likely to develop cancer due to the fact that Polish women (in their native land) ate much more cabbage and sauerkraut.

Many scientific papers tout the health benefits of cabbage – especially sauerkraut – due to its ability to inhibit estrogen, which is known to fuel breast cancer.

Fermented foods are the most potent source of beneficial bacteria

These probiotics are able to help the body eliminate a wide range of toxins and heavy metals. In fact, according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride – a Russian neurologist, fermented foods help to restore our own detoxification system, which is instrumental in the self-healing process.

The best fermented foods to improve your health

To summarize, if you’re looking to improve your digestion; get more enzymes; improve nutrient absorption; reduce food costs; increase flavors plus help to prevent illness – then start eating a wide variety of fermented foods, such as:

True sour pickles – I, personally, love the pickles from a company called, Real Pickles – but you can make your own.

Benefits of Fermented Foods

Dilly carrots or ‘cultured vegetables’ can be a delicious way to boost your nutritional profile. To learn more about the health benefits of cultured vegetables.

Water or milk kefir – which is a fermented milk product derived from cow, goat or sheep and enjoyed by many cultures – worldwide – for its healing properties.

Kombucha, like water kefir, is an extremely popular health drink – especially with kids. Its sweet-tart flavor and fizzy bubbles make this beverage great for parties.

Naturally, there are many other ways to incorporate fermented foods into your diet by eating miso soup, fresh yogurt or tempeh – to name a few. Just be sure, if you can, to avoid GMOs and always use organic ingredients.

Looking for natural health solutions? Sign up now – for our free, weekly show featuring the greatest minds in natural health and science plus free gifts!

Jonathan LandsmanAbout the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of NaturalHealth365.com, the NaturalNews Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show and the NaturalNews Inner Circle – a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.

Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, as a personal health consultant, writer and radio talk show host – Jonathan has been educating the public on the health benefits of an organic (non-GMO) diet along with high-quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle habits including exercise and meditation.

– See more at: http://www.naturalhealth365.com/food_news/fermented_foods.html#sthash.NlySTf7I.dpuf


Kefir grains and kombucha available in South Africa!

Kefir Grains

So many people have enquired and at last we have sourced a Pretoria supplier of the following :

A glass of kefir at a Polish cafe in London.

The prices are as follow:

Waterkefir:

R150 for wet grains,

R120 for the dry ones,

R100 for milk kefir plants

Kombucha

Kombucha is R100,

Delivery service per order is  R100, usually within 24 hours

Kombucha

FOR ORDERS :

Please contact Ronalda directly :

Cellie : 072 606 1091

———————–

Sangjine advice regarding precious kefir grains :

Don’t Rinse Your Kefir Grains!

 

I get so many emails from people, who in attempt to help their kefir grains, will rinse them in cool water. You should NEVER EVER EVER do this. It damages them and rinses off the protective bacteria that makes them thrive. So many times they will either die, or stop reproducing or not make kefir very well after rinsing. Some kefir grains will survive this and be ok, but it still slows them down and damages them and gives me huge amounts of anxiety.

The coating of milk around the kefir grains protects them and makes them strong. Think of it this way. It is like walking around naked in a snowstorm. They need this coating to reproduce themselves, and protect themselves, because of the combination of bacteria and yeast they make up the composition of kefir grains. Rinsing them washes this away.

If you need to change milks then rinse them in the milk you are changing them too. You really don’t need to rinse them at all, but if you want to rinse them. Rinse them in fresh milk.

Please don’t rinse them. I am trying not to shout and put this in all caps, because I understand people just don’t realize that this could hurt them. I am slightly over protective of these microorganisms. I am trying to insure that these little kefir grains stay around and thrive. We need them to help us live and thrive. I’ve been labeled the kefir police, and decided I am ok with this. Somebody has to do it.

These little kefir grains changed my life, and I will go to great lengths to protect them. They sit on my counter and work on my behalf day after day and never charge me a dime. They do the work and I receive the benefits.  Just doesn’t get any better than that for me. I love them and I just don’t care if people think I’m crazy.

Resist the temptation to rinse them and tell your friends Donna said so. I will sleep so much better at night if you do. Tortures me when people tell me they’ve rinsed their kefir grains.


Cultured Veggies – immune system boosters

Learn How to Make Cultured Veggies at Home

to Boost Your Immune System

June 01, 2013 | 192,426 views

By Dr. Mercola

Your digestive tract is probably the most underappreciated system of your body, often ignored until its screams of discontent become loud enough to grab your attention.

By the time your gut reaches this degree of disgruntlement, the problems have usually been developing for months — or years — and are challenging to resolve.

Instead of waiting for obvious signs of a problem, why not perform some regular “gut maintenance” that will lessen your chances of developing a problem in the first place?

Your gut is much more than a food processing tube — it houses about 85 percent of your immune system. This is in large part due to the 100 trillion bacteria that live there, both good and bad that can stimulate secretory IgA to nourish your immune response.

When your GI tract is not working well, a wide range of health problems can appear, including allergies and autoimmune diseases. If you suffer from any major illness, you simply will NOT be able to fully recuperate without healing and sealing your gut. Balancing the menagerie of microorganisms that occupy your GI tract is a key part of maintaining your immune health, which will be the focus of this article.

Your stomach is where digestion really gets rolling, with the introduction of more enzymes and a whole lot of acid. Fortunately, your stomach is uniquely designed for this process, as it is SO acidic. Its lining must actually regenerate at a feverish pace — just to keep up with the continuous digestion of itself! You require a brand new stomach lining every few days.

Your Stomach Actually Protects You from Infections

A recent article in Scientific American1 explores an alternate explanation about how your stomach works. The “sieve hypothesis” suggests your stomach may operate as a sieve or filter, preventing some of the more harmful microbes from passing through to your small intestine. Evidence for this is not new. It comes from a 1948 study by Dr. Orla-Jensen, a retired professor from the Royal Danish Technical College — a study that has essentially been “lost” in the literature for more than 60 years.

The professor argued that your stomach uses acid to kill pathogenic disease-causing bacteria, fungi, viruses, worms and protozoa, while allowing the more beneficial microbes (which are acid-tolerant) to pass through. If your stomach is unsuccessful at killing these pathogens, then they can dominate your intestines, damaging and eroding your intestinal walls and causing illness.

Your stomach generally becomes less acidic as you age, particularly after age 70. In his study, Orla-Jensen compared the gut bacteria of young people with that of healthy seniors, as well as with seniors suffering from dementia. He found that as people age, they have a greater proportion of pathogenic microbes to beneficial microbes in their intestinal tracts. This was particularly pronounced in seniors with dementia… which begs the question about whether dementia could actually be caused by an “intestinal infection.”

A study done at UC Davis found that E. coli and salmonella bacteria in mice produce fiber-like structures very similar to the inflammatory brain plaques seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease2. Your brain is shaped by bacteria in your digestive tract. Bacteria in your gut actually control how your brain cells express specific genes.3 Other studies report that disturbed gut flora in seniors contributes to accelerated aging, frailty and premature death.

More research is needed in order to understand the exact relationship between dysbiosis and dementia. But at the very least, these studies underscore the importance of maintaining high levels of beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract. In fact, this bacterial community may be in charge of your entire metabolism.

Unhappy Gut Bacteria May Make You Fat

Inflammation from bacterial endotoxins may be a factor helping to drive the obesity epidemic.4 Junk food causes nasty microbes to bloom and friendly bugs to decline, just as sugar and refined carbohydrates feed the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for tooth decay. Sugar and processed foods make your “friendly” microbe community unfriendly — even downright hostile. Humans today have lost the microbial diversity that once kept us healthy.

When dysbiosis occurs, bacteria release noxious byproducts called endotoxins. Endotoxins increase the permeability of your gut wall (“leaky gut syndrome”) and make their way into your bloodstream, triggering system wide inflammation. It’s been shown that the hypothalamus, which houses the appetite control center of your brain, is often inflamed and damaged in obese individuals. When inflammation affects your brain, and especially your hypothalamus, your entire metabolism changes.

So, here’s how it goes…

When you consume junk foods, certain bacteria flourish and produce endotoxins, which your immune system detects and, interpreting these endotoxins as an attack, responds with inflammation. Your body changes its metabolism to redirect energy for “battle.” The result is overproduction of insulin, increased fat storage, dampening of your appetite control signals, and eventually obesity. The best way to reverse this inflammation and restore a healthy metabolism is by eliminating excess sugar and processed food, and adding more friendly, beneficial bacteria from naturally fermented foods.

Cultured Vegetables Are the Ultimate Superfood

One of the leading experts in the optimization of intestinal flora is Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who developed the GAPS nutritional protocol (Gut and Psychology Syndrome/Gut and Physiology Syndrome). For decades, Dr. McBride has successfully treated adults and children with severe illnesses, including autism, epilepsy, mood disorders, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease and many more, with her GAPS protocol.

A key component of the GAPS program is the daily consumption of fermented foods. Fermented foods are potent chelators (detoxifiers) and contain much higher levels of probiotics than probiotic supplements, making them ideal for optimizing your gut flora. In addition to helping break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from your body, beneficial gut bacteria perform a number of surprising functions, including:

Please click this link to watch a video on How to do your own

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/01/fermented-vegetables.aspx

Introducing Cultured Vegetables into Your Diet — The Right Way

Download Interview Transcript:

http://mercola.fileburst.com/PDF/ExpertInterviewTranscripts/InterviewCarolineBarringer.pdf

Now that you understand the importance of optimizing your GI flora, let’s take a look at just how easy it is to accomplish this task by making fermented vegetables at home, in your own kitchen. If you aren’t accustomed to these foods, you may have to work them into your diet gradually. Many folks really enjoy the taste of fermented vegetables, which really have a pleasantly salty-tart flavor.

According to nutritional consultant Caroline Barringer, just one quarter to one half cup of fermented veggies, eaten with one to three meals per day, can have a dramatically beneficial impact on your health.

If you’ve never eaten fermented foods, too large a portion may provoke a healing crisis, which occurs when the probiotics kill off pathogens in your gut. When these pathogens die, they release potent toxins. If you are new to fermented foods, you should introduce them gradually, beginning with as little as one teaspoon of sauerkraut with a meal. Observe your reactions for a couple of days before proceeding with another small portion, and increase your dose gradually, as tolerated.

Realize that many food preferences develop very early in life, so the sooner you can introduce fermented vegetables to your child, the better. Traces of the flavors of the foods mothers eat are perceptible in their breast milk and amniotic fluid. Babies whose mothers eat things like garlic or broccoli while pregnant tend to be more likely to enjoy these foods later in life.

Making Cultured Veggies at Home: Equipment Checklist

Culturing your own vegetables is not difficult, but as with anything, having the right tools makes the job much easier and more fun. I have spent the last six months streamlining the process and refining my basic recipe. One of the key ingredients though is the starter culture. We are in the middle of a very extensive testing process to provide a culture that will give you large amounts of vitamin K2 in your fermented vegetables. We hope to have that available later this year if all goes well. In the meantime, you can use the following kitchen tools to make your own fermented vegetables:

  1. Food Processor: You’ll be cutting up large quantities of raw vegetables, which is very labor intensive without a food processor. Make sure yours has a shredding disc, as a typical S-blade will result in too fine a chop, which makes for a pulpier, mushier end product.
  2. Juicer: My own experimentation has resulted in selecting celery juice as the basic brine for my cultured veggies, making a juicer necessary.
  3. Good Knives: Make sure you have a set of good quality, sharp knives for prepping your vegetables.
  4. Cutting Board: A large, sturdy cutting board is a must.
  5. Very Large Bowl: This bowl should be large enough to hold the entire batch of shredded veggies, so a large capacity stainless bowl is a necessity.
  6. Canning Jars: Basic wide-mouthed 32-ounce Mason jars are all that is necessary for both fermenting and storing the vegetables. These are inexpensive and easy to find at your local hardware store, grocery, or online. Make sure they are wide-mouthed, as you’ll need to get your hand or a tool down into the jar for tightly packing the veggies.
  7. Krautpounder: This solid wood tool that looks like a small baseball bat is very handy for tightly packing the shredded veggies into your jars and eliminating air pockets.

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Making Cultured Veggies at Home in Six Easy Steps

The following are the basic steps to making wonderful cultured vegetables at home. For additional information, refer to our previous article on this topic.

    1. Vegetable and Herb Selection: The first step is gathering up your veggies. Make sure they are all organic. Cabbage (red or green) should be the “backbone” of your blend, comprising about 80 percent (I use green). Choose dense, tightly packed heads. Five or six medium-sized cabbages will yield 10 to 14 quart jars of fermented vegetables. Remember to reserve some cabbage leaves for the jar tops (see Step 3).

Add in hard root vegetables of your liking, such as carrots, golden beets, radishes and turnips. Peel your veggies as the skins can impart a bitter flavor. I also enjoy adding red bell pepper, Granny Smith apples, and even a hot pepper, like a habanero (make sure you wear gloves!). One pepper for the entire batch is plenty.

Aromatics can be added in small quantities — a little goes a long way, as fermenting concentrates the pungent flavors. Tasty additions include peeled garlic, peeled ginger, and herbs such as basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, or oregano. Onions tend to overpower the mix, no matter how little are used, so I avoid them.

Finally, you can add sea vegetables or seaweed to increase the mineral, vitamin, and fiber content. You can add pieces of whole dulse, or use flakes. Wakame and sea palm do not have any kind of fishy flavor but need to be presoaked and diced into the desired size. Arame and hijaki DO have a fishy flavor.

  1. Culture and Brine: For your brine, I recommend using a starter culture dissolved in celery juice. One quart of celery juice is adequate for 10 to 14 quarts of fermented veggies. While you can do wild fermentation (allowing whatever is naturally on the vegetable to take hold), this method is more time consuming, and the end product is less certain. Inoculating the food with a starter culture speeds up the fermentation process. I currently recommend using two of our Complete Probiotics as the starter culture until we get our refined version which will make more vitamin K2.
  2. High Vitamin K2 Starter Culture As I said above, we are in the middle of a very extensive testing process to provide a culture that will give you large amounts of vitamin K2 in your fermented vegetables and we hope to have that available later this year if all goes well. In the meantime i recommend using two of our Complete Probiotic Capsules for every quart of fermented vegetables as that is very close to what our final culture will be.
  3. Packing the Jars: Once you have your shredded veggies and brine mixture combined in your large bowl, tightly pack the mixture into each Mason jar, and compress using a masher to remove any air pockets. Top with a cabbage leaf, tucking it down the sides. Make sure the veggies are completely covered with brine and that the brine is all the way to the top of the jar, to eliminate trapped air. Put the lids on the jars loosely, as they will expand due to the gases produced in fermentation.
  4. Fermentation: Allow the jars to sit in a relatively warm place for several days, ideally around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. During the summer, veggies are typically done in three or four days. In the winter, they may need seven days. The only way to tell when they’re done is to open up a jar and have a taste. Once you’re happy with the flavor and consistency, move the jars into your refrigerator.
  5. Storage: Refrigerating your vegetables drastically slows down the fermentation. They will keep for many months this way, continuing to mature very slowly over time.
  6. Enjoy! Always use a clean spoon to take out what you’re eating. Never eat out of the jar, as you will contaminate the entire batch with bacteria from your mouth. Make sure the remaining veggies are covered with the brine solution before replacing the lid.

Source : http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/01/fermented-vegetables.aspx


Improve Digestion Naturally

Ways to Improve your Digestion

Naturally with much Ease

A slow digestion makes you sit with an upset stomach. Trying some ways to improve your digestion is a good way to treat a distressed abdomen. Doing simple changes in your lifestyle can help you out in this case. Choose organic foods over junk foods and canned foods. Boxed foods contain harsh preservatives and very less nutrients and vitamins. Mix raw and cooked foods; for example, combine raw salad and cooked carrots. This helps in incorporating the enzymes that are important for a healthy digestion process. Here are some more wonderful suggestions to ease an ill digestive health.

Important Tips to Improve Digestion Naturally

Water– Drink a good amount of warm or hot water as it treats constipation. This problem causes imbalances of food and harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. There occurs inflammation in the intestinal lining called intestinal permeability. Increased water intake to reduce this digestive illness.

Fermented foods– Start taking fermented foods. They contain bacteria that aid in a good digestion. It treats constipation problem. These bacteria help to absorb vitamins and minerals. A reduction in cholesterol level in the body occurs.

Figs

Fiber– Increase the intake of fiber-rich foods. They reduce inflammation from the digestive tract, and improves all over digestion process. You can get this nutrient from foods like apples, flaxseed, beans, and dried fruits like dates, figs and prunes.

Papaya– Small portions of papaya add natural enzymes in your body. They help in carrying out a fine digestive process. You can enjoy a papaya dessert or just eat its raw form.

Take a glass of water and add lemon juice and salt, and then drink this mixture. This will remove extra bile from your liver. It helps in breaking down food and aid in a healthy digestion. Do around 15-30 minute workout daily. It helps in carrying out a normal and easy digestive process. However, if you are suffering from a severe form of any digestive illness then consult a good medical professional.

Suggested Reading:
how to boost metabolism – know the tips to remain healthy forever
junk food destroys control over appetite making you eat more  

top 10 diet tips you can’t afford to miss to remain healthy


Natural Probiotic – kefir DIY

Kefir – the ‘free’ probiotic boost!

Kefir grains and kombucha vailable in South Africa:

Hi, I live in Pretoria and have a very happy huge Kefir culture which I will gladly start to sell. I make not only the Kefir but also use use Kefir as an alternative to buttermilk. I am no starting to use the same Kefir to make my own cream cheese ! I also have a couple of Kombuchs cultures available. This is a great drink I use as ice tea and are easy to make. My kids drink this rather than fizzy drinks and love it. Goes to school with them as an extra drink instead of juices and fizzles. My email : hillieoh@yahoo.com

by Heidi du Preez

Modern society has become reliant on pill-popping to stay healthy, whether it be conventional drugs or natural medicines. Why would you fork out an ‘arm and a leg’ for probiotics if you could instead enjoy a healthy inexpensive home-made drink providing the same benefits? Wholefoods provide us with all the necessary nutrients to maintain good health and by fermenting these foods, the health benefits are further increased.

What are probiotics and why do we need them?
The human body is like a complex ecosystem – a social network – containing trillions of bacteria and other micro-organisms that inhabit our skin, genital areas, mouth and especially intestines. In fact, most of the cells in the human body are not human at all. There are 10 times more microbial cells in the human body than human cells! Nonetheless, this mixed community of microbial cells does not threaten us, but offers vital help with basic physiological processes – from digestion to growth to self-defence.

Although we do potentially harbour disease-causing pathogenic micro-organisms, the majority are beneficial bugs doing us good. It is important that these beneficial micro-organisms outnumber the bad guys. If this is not the case, we have an imbalance of micro-organisms that is referred to as a dysbiose, which could potentially lead to disease.

The beneficial flora (micro-organisms) are like our personal bodyguards, protecting us against unfriendly bacteria, viruses, pathogens and foreign invaders. They are therefore imperative to maintain a healthy immune system. Antibiotics kill the good flora and with our defence system down, we easily become infected by parasites and other unfriendly micro-organisms like disease-causing bacteria, yeast and fungi. When we take beneficial flora in supplemental form to boost our own good guys, we refer to them as probiotics. Probiotics can either be in capsule form or taken through eating a live wholefood product like kefir or fermented vegetables. Most friendly bacteria come from the Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium microbial groups. There are several different species of bacteria in each group. Some probiotics also consist of friendly yeasts.

Furthermore, beneficial flora plays a very important role in digestion, ensuring that we absorb the nutrients well from the food we ingest. Dysbiose will result in digestive upsets like rumbling in our digestive tract, gas, cramping, belching, constipation or diarrhoea. If digestion really gets bad, one will become malnourished and this sets the stage for degenerative disease.

What is kefir?
Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your inner ecosystem. It is a creamy, drinkable yoghurt style fermented milk that tastes something like buttermilk. It is believed that kefir was first developed in the Caucasus Mountains of western Russia. The shepherds there used to carry milk in leather pouches. Sometimes the milk would sit for several days and ferment. The fermentation gave it an effervescent taste that was cool and refreshing. They later found that kefir made a great natural medicine that was used to help digestive disorders, low energy and compromised immune function. The Caucasus peoples enjoyed longevity of over 100 years.

Traditionally kefir is prepared by fermenting milk with kefir grains. The word ‘grains’ is a bit misleading. They look like little cauliflower florets and have absolutely no relationship to cereal grains. Many refer to it as the kefir ‘plant’ instead. It is composed of clusters of beneficial micro-organisms held together by a matrix of a firm gel-like mass of proteins, fats and polysaccharides, and reproduced in a dairy medium. The organisms found in kefir can be divided into 4 genus groups: Lactobacilli, Streptococci-Lactococci, Acetobacter and Yeasts. Kefir, prepared with a kefir plant, contains as many as 35 different strains of beneficial bacteria and yeasts.

What is the fuss about kefir?
Kefir is more nutritious and therapeutic than yoghurt, it supplies complete and easily digested protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and valuable B vitamins. It can be used instead of probiotics to restore the inner ecosystem after antibiotic therapy, and is simple and inexpensive to make at home. Kefir is excellent nourishment for pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and those with compromised immunity.

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 tranquilising effect on the nervous system and is beneficial for people with sleep disorders, depression and ADHD.

Poor bacterial balance (dysbiose) can cause blood sugar imbalances, sugar cravings, weight gain, poor immunity, low energy and digestive disturbances among other things. Kefir addresses all of these problems by restoring balance to the micro flora of the body. Kefir`s active yeast and bacteria help assimilate nutrients in the gut and enhance the usage of certain trace minerals and B vitamins. Kefir promotes healthy bowel movements when used regularly, cures constipation and helps reduce flatulence. It can lower blood pressure, reduce food cravings and control blood glucose. The bacteria in kefir are potent detoxifiers.

Moreover, kefir grains produce a polysaccharide known as kefiran. Research in Japan found that rats with tumours, which were fed kefiran, had reduction in tumor size. Kefiran is also proving to have anti-inflammatory properties. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in kefir that has been shown to possess anti-cancer activities in in-vivo animal models and in-vitro cell culture systems.

Nutritional value of kefir
In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains minerals and essential amino acids that help the body with healing and maintenance functions. The complete proteins in kefir are partially digested and therefore more easily utilised by the body. Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir offers an abundance of calcium and magnesium, which are also important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir in the diet can have a particularly profound calming effect on the nerves. Kefir’s ample supply of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in our bodies, helps utilise carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy.

Kefir is rich in vitamin B12, B1, and vitamin K. It is an excellent source of biotin, a B vitamin which aids the body’s assimilation of other B vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and B12. The numerous benefits of maintaining adequate B vitamin intake range from regulation of the kidneys, liver and nervous system, to helping relieve skin disorders, boost energy and promote longevity.
Can’t I just eat my yoghurt?
There are a lot of comparisons between yoghurt and kefir. Kefir, however, is considered the probiotic powerhouse for several reasons. It contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yoghurt: Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species and Streptococcus species. It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body like Candida Albicans. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

Yoghurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean, but kefir organisms can actually colonise the intestinal tract, a feat that yoghurt cannot match. Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yoghurt by aiding digestion and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yoghurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly nutritious food for babies, the elderly, and people experiencing chronic fatigue and digestive disorders.

What if I’m dairy or lactose intolerant?
If you are lactose intolerant, the initial 24-hour fermentation will remove about 50% of the lactose present in milk, which acts as food for the organisms. Ripening the kefir after straining for an additional 24 hours at room temperature or for several days in the refrigerator, will remove almost all the lactose. Many people who are lactose intolerant are able to drink raw milk even without fermenting, as the enzyme lactase is still present.

Those intolerant to dairy mostly react to the milk protein casein, which is predigested in kefir, thus sparking less of a reaction in sensitive individuals. Milk kefir grains can be used to ferment alternative milks such as soy milk, seed/nut milks, quinoa milk, coconut and rice milk. The grains will not grow in such mediums and will eventually stop fermenting, and kefiran is not produced. One does, however, reap all the other benefits, especially the probiotic benefits of fermenting milk. Another alternative is water or coconut water kefir. Water kefir grains are like squishy colourless crystals and are used to ferment sugar, water and fruits. The water kefir starter grains, sometimes called Tibetan Mushrooms or Kefir Fungi, are a little more difficult to obtain than milk starter grains.

Kefir and Candidiasis
Kefir can greatly aid in the elimination of Candidiasis. The beneficial yeast in kefir is able to deal effectively with pathogenic yeasts like Candida albicans in the body. Candida albicans is a normal part of microbial flora in the intestines and only causes problems when its growth gets out of control. Candida is normally a smooth rounded bud and is harmless in this stage. When the colony reaches a “critical mass” in the large intestine and is running out of food, Candida has the ability to morph from the round bud to a thread-like shape. It then migrates to the small intestine in search of food and this is where the threads are able to wreak havoc by poking holes in the small intestine. Instead of vital nutrients being absorbed by the small intestine, approximately 80 toxins produced by Candida are given direct access to the bloodstream. This phenomenon is called leaky gut syndrome. Undigested food particles, toxins and other chemicals all cause inflammatory reactions once outside the protected confines of the intestines and this inflammation is the cause of myriad diseases and syndromes. Unfortunately, mainstream medicine refuses to recognise the role of Candida in inflammation.

The beneficial yeasts and bacteria present in kefir and other lacto-fermented foods are actually able to displace Candida on the intestinal wall allowing these holes to heal. Once the leaky-gut is resolved and toxins no longer pass into the bloodstream and tissues of the body, healing can begin.

How to introduce kefir into your diet
Some people thrive on kefir right from the start, and others may need to proceed more slowly. Remember those with candidiasis lack milk-digesting bacteria, so may have to build up their “tolerance” of kefir. Start with about 100 ml in the morning on an empty stomach. Every second day increase the amount until you are able to drink a full glass.

Where can I find kefir grains?
Enquire at your local health shop or google for suppliers in South Africa – kefir grains or plants retail for anything from R50 to around R85. Make sure you purchase from a reputable source.

Commercial powdered starters are available but contain fewer organisms, while the commercial bottled kefir you buy in the store contains even fewer beneficial flora. Most bottled kefir contains only bacteria as the selling of beverages with live yeasts is usually not allowed. If you want kefir for its probiotic value, it makes the best sense to culture your own.

How to make kefir
Raw, organic full-cream cow, sheep, or goat milk are great mediums for kefir fermentation. Ideally, the animals should have been grass-fed. Milk from grain-fed mammals is highly inflammatory due to abnormal essential fatty acid ratios. The milk should preferable not be pasteurised or homogenised, as these processes damage the integrity of the amino acids and critical enzymes in the milk.

Add about ½ cup to 1 cup milk to a clean large mouth glass or ceramic jar with a lid. Use a plastic spoon to transfer the kefir plant into the milk. Lightly screw on the lid so that gasses can still escape and leave the jar for about 12 to 72 hours at room temperature (ideally between 18°C and 30°C). The fermentation time will depend on the temperature, but usually the longer the better. By ripening kefir for 48 hours, the content of folic acid is increased 116%. Ensure that it is not exposed to direct sunlight, as direct heat would kill the kefir plant.

When you see a line running horizontally on the side of the bottle or when it resembles the consistency of yoghurt, the kefir is ready to use. Remove the kefir plant with a plastic spoon or stain through a plastic sieve and transfer the plant to a clean jar with milk to ferment again at room temperature. Do not consume the kefir plant, only the fermented milk. Either consume immediately or store it in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.

If you are going on holiday or don’t want to make kefir for a couple of days, leave the kefir plant in milk in the refrigerator. This will slow down the fermentation process. However, change the milk every couple of weeks to prevent disintegration of the plant. Never touch the kefir plant with metal utensils, it will die. Only use plastic utensils and a glass or ceramic jar and work as hygienically possible. If properly cared for, the kefir plant will outlive you!

Any or a combination of the following ingredients can be added to give the kefir more zing:

  • 1 teaspoon unrefined oil such as flaxseed, hempseed or argan
  • Lecithin, which aids fat digestion, to taste
  • Fibre like oat bran, psyllium husk or apple pectin
  • Natural flavourings such as stevia, raw honey, unrefined sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon or vanilla extract
  • Fresh or frozen organic fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwi or mango

Blend together for a delicious, nutritious breakfast, lunch or snack and enjoy!

Source : http://www.naturalnutrition.co.za/articles/diet-and-nutrition/kefir-%E2%80%93-the-free-probiotic-boost/


Probiotics – may help with cancer

Probiotics

probiotics

Research presented in 2009 at the 3rd International Immunonutrition Workshop in Spain demonstrated a link between milk fermented containing the probiotic strainLactobacillus helveticus and delayed growth of breast tumors. The study found that fermented milks can inhibit tumor growth by reducing the inflammatory response in cases of hormone-dependent breast cancer models and induced colon cancer.

Probiotics are also known as lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus), Bifidobacterium bifidus and lactic acid bacteria. These are all healthy bacteria that are similar to the good bacteria that resides in the intestinal tract. Sometimes people do not have enough good bacteria in their system. Probiotic foods can increase levels of healthy bacteria. However, only live strains help. The ideal probiotics are those that contain large amounts of living microorganisms, such as multiple Bifido and Lactobacillus strains. At least three billion live bacteria per serving is best.

Probiotics and the immune system

Probiotics help to strengthen the immune system and prevent diseases. By improving gut health, probiotics boost the body’s immune defenses, which in turn fight infections. The intestinal tract is home to between 70 and 80 percent of the body’s immune cells. If the immune cells are functioning well the body is more resistant to infection. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, the human papillomavirus (HPV) and Helicobacter pylori are the four primary infections linked to cancer. Combined, these four infections cause around 1.9 million cancer causes annually. Probiotics are particularly helpful in reducing vaginal and urinary infections.

Probiotic supplements, foods and doses

Yogurt is the food most commonly associated with probiotics but there are several others. Unfermented and fermented milk contain probiotics. Kefir is another dairy product that is a probiotic food. Non-dairy sources include tempeh, miso and some soy drinks and juices.

Probiotics are also sold in supplement form. Probiotic supplements come in tablet, capsule and powder forms. Supplements may contain 1 to 10 billion bacteria.

Probiotic foods and supplements may help with cancer prevention as well as several other conditions. Probiotics can help with diarrhea and other digestive problems. They may also assist with elimination, allergies and weight management.

Sources for this article include:
http://journals.cambridge.org
http://breastcancerconqueror.com/probiotics-and-cancer/
http://www.breastcancer.org


Probiotics – what are they?

Health Basics: What are probiotics?

Probiotics – health basics

probiotic

by S. D. Wells

(NaturalNews)

Probiotics are Nature’s truest form of antibiotics.

These microscopic organisms (microflora) help the body build long-lasting immunity to a host of illnesses and diseases, including allergies, irritable bowels, viruses, bacterial infections, and yes, cancer!

No vaccination or prescription medicine in the world could ever come close to this safe and beneficial way of balancing the body’s billions of microbes.

Probiotics not only help create this balance but also help maintain it for years and years, hence the name probiotic, which means “for life.” (http://www.usprobiotics.org/basics.asp)

This all natural way of supplementing your defense system is vital in today’s frightening, non-nutritional jungle of toxic food and medicine. Many people, especially in the United States, are surrounded by bad influences, and though the number of organic enthusiasts is on the rise, there exists a wealth of information regarding immunity and natural defense against chemicals and toxic food “agents” which slips past the guards and invades our system, attempting to inflict damage on our DNA. (http://www.bioinventia.com/probiotec.html)

Probiotic cultures prevent damage before it occurs

Probiotic cultures not only prevent damage from being done to our cells, they strengthen our immune system and beat down cancer cells before they ever have a chance of multiplying. Probiotics weaken mutagenic activity, so your good cells keep winning the battles, and most importantly, the DNA war.

The majority of microbes in the intestine are not harmful, but rather play an important role in normal growth and development, but when the balance or pH is thrown out of whack, especially in the intestines, major problems begin doing “structural” damage to our system, and reinforcement is often needed, above and beyond a healthy diet. Also, probiotics can be used to counter the over-consumption of antibiotics so typical in the average American diet, which is often chock full of non-organic meats and dairy products that come from animals shot up with varying forms of antibiotics. Antibiotics are also prominent in municipal drinking water, because it’s “too expensive” for cities to filter them out.

It has been estimated that there are more bacterial cells (microbes) in the human body than there are cells. If you know high school math, there are bacterial cells numbering around 10 to the 14th power, or 100,000,000,000,000. Break that down into an estimated 1,000 different species, which make their homes in humans. Like all animals, humans have microbes on our skin, in our mouths, in our stomachs, our digestive tracts, and in other private places. But wait, before you go internet hunting for pictures of bacteria located in the intestines or the colon, watch out because you’re computer may need updated “virus” protection too!

Eliminate ignorant fear and learn about your inner ecosystem

Just as Earth and Mother Nature have a delicate balance which needs to be maintained, our bodies have their own “inner ecosystem,” which is like having a rainforest in your digestive track. When your ecosystem is balanced, your intestines are teeming with beneficial bacteria and micro flora to keep your immune system strong.

Consuming probiotics native to the human digestive tract encourages the production of antibodies, which in turn protects the system from allergies, infections (viral, fungal and bacterial), IBS, and cancer. In fact, probiotics build defense against disease by enabling your body to build a natural defense, unlike vaccinations.

Vaccines are now often crossbred viruses, bacterial strands, mixed up with aluminum and formaldehyde, which shock the system into a panic type of reaction, which is a form of “wild guess” methodology for establishing only short term immunity at best.

Populating your “gut” with beneficial micro flora improves your skin, helps maintain healthy weight, and provides energy and overall well-being. Many people who have never heard of probiotics or don’t understand their function may be “turned off” to the concept if educated improperly at first. (http://www.renewlife.com)

Benefits of a healthy gut

The second someone reads a typical probiotic label or description reading something like, “Over 6 billion bacteria in each tablet,” it seems overwhelming, and some consumers might set the product back on the shelf, but at that point, they’re selling themselves short of a healthy gut.

Probiotics benefits: here’s where a little education goes a long way:
• protects babies and children from future allergies.
• aids in digestion.
• fights off viral, fungal and bacterial infections.
• helps saliva enzymes in the mouth, throat, and esophagus break down food before it ever reaches the stomach and intestines.
• balances chime (gastric juices in stomach) which complete the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates before food leaves the stomach!
• helps body absorb nutrients (opposite action of soda) in first 4 to 6 hours, before gastrointestinal acids reach them.
• helps expel food within 24 hours, before it starts becoming a toxin in your system, affecting your immunity.
• aids with lactose intolerance, helping intestinal microbes produce vitamins (very important for people with IBS and Crohn’s disease).
• builds resistance to pathogenic bacteria.
• acts on pre-carcinogenic and mutagenic compounds that induce genetic mutation.

Smart shoppers look for enteric coated probiotics, which have a special coating so they are protected as they pass through the stomach and reach the intestines, where most of the microbial balancing is needed. Other conditions that may improve quickly from probiotic supplementation include: diarrhea, elevated blood cholesterol, hypertension, kidney stones, necrotizing enterocolitis, oral health, and vaginosis.

If all of these descriptions boggle the non-medical mind or aren’t easily “digestible,” just remember that probiotics equip your entire body with DNA armor against toxins that try to attack your cells. In fact, artificial sweeteners are one of the greatest cancer causing food agents because they trick the body into ingesting them because they taste sweet. Beware of the big three: Aspartame, Sucralose and Sorbitol, especially!

Disease is no joke. Your body needs armor to fight the good fight. Supplement with Nature’s best kept secret and never let the “Trojan horses” of the food, drink, and medicine world sneak into your temple (body) and attack your Royal forces.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.usprobiotics.org/basics.asp

http://www.bioinventia.com/probiotec.html

http://nutritionbyte.wordpress.com/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0905c.shtml

http://www.usprobiotics.org/basics.asp

http://www.naturalnews.com/031293_probiotics_children.html

http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/probiotics.htm

http://bodyecology.com


Ancestral Secrets to Developing Healthy Babies

Ancestral Secrets to Beautiful, Healthy Babies

2nd June 2012

By Raluca Schachter

Guest writer for Wake Up World

If in ancient times a woman gave birth to a baby with health problems, people used their common sense, careful observation and wisdom to understand and make the connection that certain foods were missing from the mother’s diet. They were actually “designing” babies using special feeding before conception, aiming for healthy, bright, happy babies, all necessary traits to the community long-term survival. Mothers were also advised to have children 3 to 4 years apart, in order to let their body replenish all the necessary nutrients before the next conception. Babies were breastfed for about two years.

But today, we are taught by mainstream media and conventional medicine that beautiful and healthy people are just a matter of luck and genetic chance. In reality, healthy, beautiful babies don’t happen by “accident“. In reality, what we eat and what we are exposed to in our environment directly affects our DNA and its expression. Epigenetic factors (“beyond the control of the gene”) are directly and indirectly influenced by the presence or absence of key nutrients in the diet, as well as exposures to toxins, chemicals, pathogens and other environmental factors.

The “genetic material” a mother transmits to her baby is made up of very complex factors, but they all come down to the answers to these simple questions: What did the mom eat? What was her lifestyle? What were her health problems?

For example, heavy metals which are very disruptive to the body since they displace “good” minerals and generate a wide range of imbalances ARE passed down to the baby. Mercury, strontium, uranium, arsenic and many more which are COMMON in most people these days, are transmitted to the baby.

Gut health: since babies are born with a sterile gut flora, the mother esentially “downloads” her gut health / flora into the baby through breastfeeding. No wonder why digestive problems are usually shown to get worse with each generation! There are also mass problems with food assimilation and breathing difficulties continually on the rise. Processed foods and antibiotics are two primary factors for a poor gut flora.

Lack of healthy fats: big brains require brain-building fats like cholesterol, lecithin, choline, saturated fat and long chain polyunsaturated fats. These are found in highest concentrations in organ meats, cold-water fish and fish eggs. How many mothers-to-be today are still consuming these to ensure their babies will have healthy brain cells and nerves?? And how many times have you heard conventional medical doctors tell you to stay away from saturated fat and cholesterol? Hmm..Food for thought…

For centuries, many ancient cultures have consumed foods that are striking us as bizzare or make our stomachs turn these days: seal, lichen (the Netsilik Eskimo), fat grubs of giant flies, lizards, pounded sago palm hearts (the Kombai), forage for insects, millet, goat meat (the Mofu).  But believe it or not, these foods’ nutritional content is very familiar to your body, it is REAL food that your body can process. Corn hot dogs, vegetable oil, aspartame, GMO foods and pasteurized dairy? Now THESE are some weird Franken-foods your body will never be able to process and recognize, but stock up as toxic build up instead. Which is again, passed down to your child…

Solution? No, you wouldn’t have to eat giant flies to have beautiful, healthy babies. Instead, here are four major “secrets” to consider, especially before conception, while pregnant and during baby’s growing years:

1. BONES and CARTILAGE

Science validates what our grandmothers knew (…). Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

Fish stock, according to traditional lore, helps boys grow up into strong men, makes childbirth easy and cures fatigue. (…) Broth and soup made with fishheads and carcasses provide iodine and thyroid-strengtheningsubstances.” (from “Broth is Beautiful” by Sally Fallon)

Why did bones disappear from the stores’ shelves? Let’s think: convenience and fast food? Yes. But also aesthetics, like it was revealed to me a while ago when shopping for bones at Whole Foods. I asked the worker there why did they have to bring the bones from their storage, since they never have them on display. He said : “People don’t really like to see the bones on display, it’s not a nice view…”

Well, I suggest we all gather our courage and face the bones, since the gelatin you obtain from them is so precious! You do want strong bones and joints for yourself and your growing baby. Here is a recipe that will ensure all the vital nutrients are obtained:

“All purpose” stock

2. ORGANS

Organ meats are just nutritional powerhouses like no other foods out there. If you have a Greek grandmother, you probably remember how she used to chase you in your childhood with a spoon full of lamb tongue and eyes soup, yelling “It’s good for you, makes you grow strong!” Well, she was right. Most cultures have a long tradition of cooking offal (organ) dishes of all kinds. If you learn how to prepare them and acquire a taste for them, you’ll notice a difference in your and your baby’s health one day.

Remember though that not all metabolisms can tolerate high purine foods like organ meats. There are metabolisms that thrive on higher carbohydrate quantities and lean protein and these foods will actually work against them. To find out how your metabolism works and what kind of foods it needs, check out more information about Metabolic Typing Testing.

For those that can indulge in rich organ meats dishes, here is my favorite recipe to cook chicken liver:

Traditional Chicken Liver Pate

Liver is very high in vitamin A, folate, B vitamins, iron, selenium and magnesium and contains many other nutrients as well. All of these are essential for a mother-to-be and a growing child.

3. RAW FOODS and DAIRY

Raw vegetables and fruits might not surprise you that much since you’ve probably heard already they are good for you. They contain lots of unaltered vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Unfortunately, many people have very poor digestion these days and a wide range of gastrointestinal problems. Although fresh veggies and fruits eaten every day are ideal, they can further irritate an already sick gut. Gut healing prior to raw food consumption is again key.

RAW DAIRY – hot topic these days…This is one of the most important foods a mother-to-be can do for her and her child. Raw organic milk from grass fed cows has very high conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) levels, biodiverse beneficial bacteria, intact active enzymes, that are required for absorption of minerals and effective digestion. It provides a source of lactase producing beneficial bacteria, reducing or eliminating lactose intolerance and it increases immunity to infection; 100 kinds of beneficial bacteria are found in raw milk at very low levels. Yogurt has only four or five!

It’s been continuously proven through historical evidence and recent scientific studies, that raw dairy helps with asthma and allergies by reducing symptoms and even eliminates them altogether. Having kids that struggle with asthma and allergies is NOT normal and it CAN be prevented.

Here is my recipe for an Immunity Boosting Shake using raw milk that your kid will enjoy and also keep him/her strong and healthy.

4. SPROUTING, FERMENTING

By loosing our ancestral heritage of food preparation, we also lost our health. The bread of today is nothing like the bread people used to eat in the past, made out of ground, germinated grains and seeds.

Grains, nuts, seeds and beans all contain phytic acid that interferes with mineral absorption and also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food. Soaking reduces some of the phytic acid but not all of it. After soaking you can place the seeds / grains / beans in a jar covered with cheesecloth and in about 3-4 days you’ll see them germinate. What can be more simple than that? For detailed instructions about sprouting you can check out SproutPeople or Sprouting. There are also plenty of recipes on the web about using sprouts in various meals. No time to do that? You can find organic, sprouted breads as well as sprouted nuts, seeds and grains bars and snacks at health food stores. You can also buy sprouted flour from To Your Health Sprouted Flour.

Fermented foods are natural and healthy sources of beneficial probiotics for your body. People stopped fermenting foods, relying instead on processed, mostly unhealthy food and so bringing the levels of good bacteria in the gut even lower down. If your kids like sour, they will love this recipe of fermented veggies. Tell them a story of how in the past century, the famous Captain Cook kept his entire crew healthy by eating sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) that has high levels of vitamin C. It will be even more fun to enjoy!

So, if you take your health seriously, I suggest you find out how to go back to your origins, find out what foods your grandparents and great-grandparents used to eat back in the days. They knew exactly how important these were to keep them healthy and make beautiful, healthy babies. You can do it too.

 

Article Resources

Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, MD

The Human Genome Project

Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing

S.K. Duckett et al, Journal of Animal Science, (published online) June 2009, “Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content.”

British Journal of Nutrition (vol. 105, issue 01)

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, online August 29, 2011.

About the Author

Raluca Schachter is a passionate Nutritionist and Metabolic Typing Advisor®, with a background in both nutrition and communication/PR. She believes in traditional, unaltered food, ancestral wisdom, sustainable farming and living. Raluca was able to naturally reverse chronic health conditions she was struggling with most of her life, and now uses her knowledge to help as many people as possible do the same. Her health programs and diet plans offer a very unique and comprehensive approach to health, where individual nutritional and biochemical requirements are firstly met using specific nutrients and foods that each metabolism thrives on. This approach reveals why and how ‘one diet/herb doesn’t fit all’ and why ‘one man’s food is another one’s poison.’ Raluca currently resides in Garden Grove, CA and offers her services for local and distance clientele. For more information visit her website and blog guide2health.net or join Raluca on Facebook