Probiotics to Balance You

My new brainstorm of the week (or month) is to work on balancing my system. I keep reading about the importance of probiotics and how they balance the bad bacteria in your intestinal tract (gut) with “good bacteria” aka acidophilus or other live cultures less commonly heard of.  They improve your digestive health and strengthen the GI tract especially for those who have irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn (reflux), constipation, and other GI problems.  In my Psychology Today magazine, April 2014 edition, I found myself reading how probiotics can also balance you emotionally – improving your mental health.  So, I decided to use myself to experiment.  Of course, all my excitement about probiotics has also excited my patients.  I can’t help but get excited about the food I eat and all the information I read about nutrition.  Sometimes I wonder if my patients think I should just eat chips and not be so excited.  I do share my information – that’s why I write books!

Anyway, I looked for a probiotic that would offer a higher quality and get the balancing job done.  I found a capsule that needs to be refrigerated to keep the live cultures stable.  I found a probiotic with at least 14 strains and 20 or more billion CFUs (colony forming units).  More strains offer more protection.  Think of the flu shot and how it covers only certain strains of the flu.  The more strains a probiotic has the more coverage you will have against the bad bacterial strains.  The CFUs represent the amount of good bacteria in the probiotic.

In addition to taking the probiotic you can eat it too!  It is found in certain food like tempeh (soy), sauerkraut (high sodium) – the food I recommend is Kefir.  If you get a plain, fat-free or low-fat version it will add to the live cultures.  Actually, Kefir is a drink that tastes like Greek Yogurt.  It is lower in sugar than milk or typical yogurts(unless you pick the wrong one) and offer immune boosting probiotics.  My regimen for the month has been to take 4 ounces of Kefir and swallow my probiotic.  I do this prior to each meal of the day.

In case you weren’t paying attention, dark chocolate is a good prebiotic which will help the probiotic’s effectiveness.  Just think:  mix some dark chocolate on top of your fat-free plain Greek yogurt or Kefir!

I don’t have the results of my experiment yet so stay tuned to find out!