WHEN WE THINK about being healthy, we often look to how physically fit we are and what types of foods we're eating, but many of us are avoiding one key aspect of true overall health. Turns out that the amount of healthy bacteria that's in our gut is crucial because scientists are finding it can affect not just your digestive health, but also your mood, skin, energy levels and your ability to fight infections, viruses & disease.
WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS & WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?
Although most of us associate bacteria with being harmful, there are actually good versions like probiotics, which are beneficial microflora also known as active cultures that reside in the digestive tract. They help us digest foods, absorb nutrients, produce vitamins like B and K and suppress the growth of more harmful micro-organisms. All of this happens in the gut, which not-so-coincidentally is where 70 percent of the immune system is found. When this area is overrun with large amounts of bad micro-organisms, it can make you more susceptible to developing illnesses and getting sick.
And if that wasn't motivation enough to start looking into your gut health, The New York Times released an article this summer in which scientist Mark Lyte explained that micro-organisms in our gut secrete a large number of chemicals that are the same substances used by our neurons to communicate and regulate mood. This means that these little guys, if unhealthy, could be associated with mood disorders and depression.
HOW CAN I ADD PROBIOTICS TO MY DIET?
The good news is that there are ways you can populate your gut with probiotics, from eating foods naturally rich in them to taking supplements. Foods that are natural sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sour pickles, kombucha, tempeh, kimchi and miso.
If none of those sound appealing, you can go for a product infused with probiotics or take a supplement. JUS by Julie has a line cold brew coffee that's infused with a specially patented strain of probiotics called GanedenBC30. The coffee is the very first of its kind and is a great option for getting your daily dose of probiotics since it's something most of us drink at least once a day. What makes this probiotic strain so special is that the GanedenBC30 spores wait to germinate and grow until they reach the intestines where the conditions are just right. This protective shell also gives GanedenBC30 the ability to survive manufacturing processes, product shelf life and finally, the journey through the digestive system – most other probiotics just can’t survive these stresses.
You can also add probiotics to any hot or cold beverage and meal with JUS by Julie's Probiotics + Prebiotics Food & Drink Mix. A tin of the product comes with 30 single serving packets of flavorless powder mix infused with 2 billion CFUs of GanedenBC30 probiotics plus prebiotics that are essentially food for the probiotics. The packets great for on the go and for use at home. All you have to do is pour a packet into whatever you're eating or drinking and stir.