What is a Probiotic?

What is a probiotic you may ask?  The answer is a natural way to strengthen your immune system, help with digestion, reduce cholesterol and even help with heart disease.  A probiotic is a healthy bacteria you  introduce into your system through supplements, food and even a milkshake or tea.

I've been taking probiotics for years now, and honestly wouldn't know what to do without them.  They keep the nasty yeast infections away as well as help with digestion.  I've also noticed that I don't get sick nearly as often as I used to.

So What is a Probiotic?

Probiotics are just one of an arsenal of ways you can strengthen your immune system and resist illness. 

As I mentioned before, they reintroduce healthy bacteria into your system to help with digestion and ward off illnesses.   

Best of all, they can be found naturally in all kinds of foods, including yogur, fermented foods and both milk kefir and water kefir.

What is a probiotic?  It is the bacteria found naturally in fermented foods like kefir (find it here).

What is a Probiotic and 
What's So Important About Bacteria?

Here's the thing about bacteria.  Not all of it is bad, and some of it is crucial for digestion and good health.  Bacteria is what breaks out food down and helps convert it into fuel for our bodies. 

Most of us are born with plenty of the good bacteria that helps protect our immune system.  Unfortunately, most of us have taken antibiotics, which can cause long-term problems.

The discovery of antibiotics was both a blessing and a curse.  My mom told me that before the discovery of antibiotics, folks were in bed with an illness for two weeks or more.  There are times when antibiotics can be a good thing. 

Unfortunately, most people are now taking way too many of them.  These days it's hard to avoid it, especially if you buy commercially produced meat, milk and eggs.  Farmers provide their livestock with feed loaded with antibiotics to keep their animals from getting sick and dying. 

That and the over-prescription of antibiotics has killed the healthy bacteria in our systems, weakening our immune systems and making us vulnerable to superbugs.

Plus, without healthy bacteria our bodies can't keep the growth of yeast under control, causing yeast infections and brain fog.

That's why it's a good idea to reintroduce the healthy bacteria in your system through fermented foods such as sauerkraut and yogurt or making either water or milk kefir. 

What is a Probiotic?
The Healthy Bacteria Found in Fermented Foods

Make your own sauerkraut or kimchi, and you have a delicious, healthy food that will help your digest foods better and build your own immune system.

What is a Probiotic?  
The Healthy Bacteria Found in Kefir

Kefir (pronounced Kee-fur) are jelly-like grains that turn water or milk into a fermented drink.  If you use milk kefir grains, you simply add the grains to a clean jar of fresh milk. 

Cover the jar with a clean coffee filter held in place by a rubber band.  After about three to four days you have kefir, which you can drink alone (yuck! - in my humble opinion) or add it to a shake.

Water kefir is just as easy to make, although you will need sugar in addition to water. 

I take a half gallon jar and fill it about three-quarters full of water and add one-fourth cup of sugar.  I use coconut sugar, but ordinary sugar will work just as well.

Add the sugar to the water and stir well, until the sugar is completely dissolved.  If you skip this crucial step, the kefir grains will stick to the sugar and be damaged. 

Then add the kefir grains.  You can also add a couple of apple slices if you want.  Wash the apple well first, so it is free of pesticides and remove the peel from the slices.  

Or add a couple of pieces of dried fruit, well washed to remove any preservatives.  You can also add a tablespoon of molasses.

Cover the jar with a coffee filter held in place with a rubber band and set the jar on your kitchen counter.  By the next day you’ll have kefir.  You’ll know it’s ready when some of the kefir grains begin floating to the top.

Strain the kefir grains through a plastic filter - a metal filter might damage the kefir grains - and toss the pieces of fruit into your compost pile.  Keep the strained kefir drink in the refrigerator and drink a cupful a day.

By the way, you'll want to start another batch immediately, as your kefir grains need to be in sugar water constantly, or they will starve and die.

Related article:  Learn how to make kimchi with this easy recipe.

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