Let’s talk about bugs!

We hear a lot about the benefits of probiotics in the news today. What is a probiotic? Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in our gut. This good bacteria represents approximately 70% of our immune system. Why would this bacteria get depleted? There are actually many ways that these bugs can reduce in number, including antibiotic use; poor diet, particularly highly processed foods and high sugar; stress; food sensitivities; as well as infections or viruses.

To improve our good bacteria, which is essential for our overall immune health, we can make changes in our lifestyle and diet. In addition to these healthy lifestyle changes, it is often necessary to replenish our good bacteria with probiotic supplements. Not all over-the-counter probiotics are equal in quality. Often the manufacturing of the probiotic supplement affects its quality.

As health care providers, we have access to the highest quality nutritional supplements. There are many things that can affect the quality of probiotics, including temperature differences, the quality of the raw materials used to grow the good bacteria, and the quality of the packaging. With higher quality professional-grade probiotics, there is greater care taken in all these aspects.

In addition to taking daily probiotic supplements, there are other ways to support the production of good bacteria, including eating naturally fermented foods such as natural sauerkraut and kefir. Also, prebiotics, which are vegetable fibers, can be helpful by creating the optimal environment for growth of these bugs. Pickles can be naturally fermented as well. Check out this simple recipe for how to make pickles at home!

Quick Pickle Recipe:

Ingredients:
*1 TBS apple cider vinegar
* 1/2 TBS water
* 1/2 TBS honey
*1/2 tsp olive oil
*1/4 tsp salt
*1/4 tsp dill
*1/8 tsp tarragon
*1/2 clove garlic, sliced thin
*1/2 cucumber, sliced lengthwise

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients except cucumber to a half pint mason jar. Cover tightly and shake to mix well.
2. Add cucumber slices, close tightly and shake again.
3. Let sit on counter for at least 2 hours, then enjoy!
Note: Be sure to refrigerate pickles once you open jar.

Holly Niles is a licensed Clinical Nutritionist and Nutrition Director at Integrative Wellness & Physical Therapy in Bloomfield, CT. For more information about Holly and Integrative Wellness & Physical Therapy, you can call (860)519-1916 or visit www.IntegrativeWellnessAndPT.com. To order high quality, professional-grade probiotic supplements, you can visit the website products page.

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