It’s funny because bowel movements are something that no one wants to talk about, yet it’s also something that we deal with every day. And if you’re having problems with them, it can really make for a miserable time!
When your GI tract is thrown off balance, it can take a little while to get it back to normal. Normal bowel movements can be anywhere from 3 per day to 3 times per week. Everyone is a little different, but most people know what’s normal for them. And they definitely know when something isn’t right! Many times an illness, use of antibiotics, surgery or pain medication can completely throw off your normal gut function.
This leads me to today’s topic…
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in your GI tract. These friendly bacteria help the GI cells protect you against toxins, yeasts, molds, fungi, parasites, chemicals, and
other unfriendly bacteria.
The reason that you want the right mix of bacteria is
because your GI tract is actually an immune organ! Think of how many
things pass through your GI tract that it has to filter through and
decide to absorb into your blood or get rid of. By having a healthy gut,
with the right bacteria, it is better able to function and send the
right things into your blood while sending the bad things out of your
Here are 3 ways to keep a good amount of healthy bacteria in your GI tract:
- Eat a plant based diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, high fiber grains, beans, nuts and seeds. This type of diet encourages the health bacteria to grow, which limits the amount of unhealthy bacteria. This type of diet include many prebiotics, which we will talk about next time!
- Consume yogurt and milk with live L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, or bifidobacteria. Make sure it says Live Cultures on the label.
- You can purchase probiotic supplements. I would probably not choose this option unless you are sure that you need it. They can get a bit pricey! There are many strains of Probiotics, but Lactobacillus acidophilus, casei, plantarum, reuteri, salivarius, rhamnosus, and GG and Bifidobacteria bifidum, longum, breve, and infantis are the most researched and most commonly used in nutritional supplements. Most supplements with live bacteria need to be refrigerated.
Other supplements don’t have to be refrigerated but may not be as effective as
the live varieties. Sometimes your health care team might actually prescribe these for you if you are going to be on intense antibiotics.
For more on probiotics, see my post: Probiotics and Prebiotics: Do They Work?
A Reader’s Recipe:
I always love hearing from readers, getting comments, questions and recipes! It’s also fun to find out how people hear about the site. This particular person found my site from her mother, who attended some of my classes a few years ago. How fun to have that connection!
Here’s what she sent along. She says that:”It just takes a few minutes and gives me a huge boost after exercise.”
Sounds great to me!
Heather’s Spinach and Chickpea Energy Booster:
- Canola oil
- 1 sweet onion
- red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp red curry paste
- 1 can chickpeas
- 2 - 4 cups fresh spinach
- Sautée your onion in oil
- Add a few red
- pepper flakes, a teaspoon of red curry paste, and a can of rinsed
- Throw in a few handfuls of fresh spinach and stirred
- until wilted.
I would estimate that this would serve about 2 for a main dish, and 4 as a side dish. It would be great over rice and with a salad for a meal. Throw in some frozen fruit for dessert and you’ve got a healthy gut!!