These days we see “anti-bacterial” thrown on everything and we buy into this bacteria-free frenzy. But do all bacteria deserve a bad reputation?
A growing body of studies tells us that the answer to this question is NO. Bacteria are essential to the design of the body and basic human nutrition. Our gut is home to over 500 bacterial species. These beneficial microorganisms help prevent and alleviate many conditions, especially issues related to the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system. When we use antibiotics, we kill the bad along with the good. It is important to replace the destroyed good bacteria for a number of reasons. If our bacteria balance gets out of whack, we have a harder time suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria. People lacking certain beneficial bacteria in their digestive tracks will suffer from irritable bowels, bloating, and gas. Probiotics are living microorganisms that are similar to the beneficial ones that are naturally present in our gut. We can get probiotic microorganisms from consuming traditional foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut, miso and kimchi.
The probiotic qualities of kimchi are amazing. In terms of nutrition, kimchi ranks pretty low on the calorie and sugar scales. It contains high amounts of fiber, vitamins A and C, and vital minerals like calcium and iron. It has high levels of beta carotene and its fermentation process actually doubles the levels of B1, B2, and B12. If that’s not enough, kimchi also reduces indigestion and gas by ridding the body of its excess bad bacteria. For those of us who are watching our food intake, kimchi helps you feel fuller because the beneficial microorganisms will stabilize blood sugar levels. Most medical research on probiotics focus on the effects of supplements and pills. The point we want to get across is that we can easily replenish the good bacteria in our body by adding foods with probiotic qualities to our diet.
To learn more about probiotics and how they can serve our body, be sure to check out this new webisode. Dr. Sara Gottfried and Dr. Pedram Shojai discuss the science behind probiotics and the different foods that are concentrated with these good bacteria.