Friendly Bugs

During this time of year, especially, I have a daily ritual of making afternoon smoothies for my children.  And, since starting school this year, my son seems to always bring a friend – or two – from school with him.  So, my smoothie making has become more like a production…But it’s all good!  Here’s why:  The smoothies contain – amongst other good things – probiotics and prebiotics.  Yes, I am talking BUGS here!  Our intestines are actually filled with bugs, in fact, by weight, these bugs weigh more than the cells in our body (I know this is gross but bear with me here)…

Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. They are also called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria.”  Probiotics are available in foods and dietary supplements (for example, capsules, tablets, and powders) and in some other forms as well. Examples of foods containing probiotics are yogurt, Kefir, miso, tempeh, and fermented foods.  Most probiotics are bacteria similar to those naturally found in people’s guts, especially in those of breastfed infants (who have natural protection against many diseases). Most often, the bacteria come from two groups, Lactobacillus orBifidobacterium. Within each group, there are different species (for example,Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus), and within each species, different strains (or varieties). A few common probiotics, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, are yeasts, which are different from bacteria.

Prebiotics are food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial microorganisms already in people’s colons. When probiotics and prebiotics are mixed together, they form a synbiotic realtionship in your gut.

So, what about the smoothie then?!?  That smoothie is my children’s first line of defense from illness.  It has loads of vitamin C *thanks to the berries, beneficial Omega 3′s, thanks to the Hemp Oil, and lots of probiotics and prebiotics, thanks to the Kefir, probiotics powder and inulin.  You see, all these ingredients conspire to make for a healthy intestinal flora and strong immune system.  When the virus or bacteria hits their bodies, their immune system is powerful enough to knock those bad guys right out!  And as I say to my son, the bad guys are escorted out with your poop!

Go make friends with some good bugs.

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Tania Hayek Mercer

  • Board Certified Holistic Health Coach, Certified Living Foods Chef & Instructor