Change Your Gut, Change Your Life: Surprising Reasons Your Gut Health Matters

Do you feel like you’d go out and do more if you simply felt better? Would you be happier if you felt energized, inspired, and fit? Turns out, there is one simple change you can make to possibly benefit your mood and overall health.

Your gut health can be a major key to feeling healthy as a whole. If weight loss is your goal, you if may be difficult to get there through dieting alone. Your digestive health plays a huge part in how well the food you eat gets processed. Improving human microbiomes takes time, but it isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Are you concerned about gut health? Read here to learn how you can change your gut to potentially change your life and overall health and well-being for the better.

Beneficial Bacteria: How Might Prebiotics And Probiotics Benefit Digestive Health And Well-Being?

Prebiotic food healthy vegan breakfastHow can your gut have such an impact on the rest of your health? Well, it is your body’s basecamp for bacteria and nutrient absorption. Your gut helps you break down the food you eat. It then turns the nutrients you consume into materials your body can actually use.

Healthy Digestion With Probiotics

Probiotic bacteria are the “good-for-you” microorganisms in your digestive tract. These beneficial bacteria and microbes may help fortify your gut wall. And according to recent studies, probiotics and gut microbes could help fight oxidative stress.1

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and Greek yogurt are great sources of probiotics. But here’s the thing – you’d have to eat a ton of yogurt or sauerkraut to make an impact. So, it may be a good idea to chat with a doctor about taking probiotic supplements.

Do Probiotics Help With Weight Loss And Weight Maintenance?

Again, probiotics have physiologic functions that benefit the health of your gut microbiota. In fact, your probiotic intake can affect how much food you eat, your body weight, and your body’s metabolic function through gastrointestinal pathways.2

Although lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise are still necessary for weight loss, probiotics can support the function of your digestive system and help your body to better absorb nutrients.

Healthy Digestion With Prebiotics

Gut healthy pre- and probioticsPrebiotics are nutrients. They’re actually dietary fibers. And prebiotics feed probiotic bacteria (the good gut bacteria). Here’s how it works:

Since prebiotic fibers aren’t able to die or get broken down by your gut, they’re able to withstand stomach acid and nourish the probiotics and microbes in your gut. In a similar way to how fertilizer can help make grass flourish, prebiotic fiber helps the bacteria in your intestines to grow.3

Some excellent dietary sources of prebiotics are:

  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Green bananas
  • Flax seeds
  • Wheat bran 4

energetic healthy happy elderly people

Change Your Gut Health, Boost Your Energy

It makes sense that your gut health could help regulate your weight, but did you know a healthy gut might also mean more energy? That’s because your gut is responsible for breaking down and digesting the food you eat.

Here’s how it works: when your gut is working in the right way, the food you consume is processed more completely. You naturally increase your energy harvest from the foods you eat. So, microorganisms play a pretty important role when it comes to energy extraction and energy regulation.5

Can Changing Your Gut Change Your Skin?

woman with itchy skinWhen most people try to improve the health of their skin, they turn to balms, oils, serums, or creams. But you might just be able to have a healthier outside by nurturing a healthier inside. Sometimes, certain skin conditions may be a signal that your gut isn’t functioning as it should.

It turns out that probiotics are proven to have some benefits to help support skin health. It’s easy to forget, but your skin is the biggest organ in (or on) your body. But you’re constantly exposing your skin to environmental stressors — chemicals, bacteria, and fungi. Studies prove, however, that probiotic application can potentially help with skin health issues, too.6

So, whether you’re after weight loss or simply trying to improve your health and well-being, supporting your gut health is a great place to start. Talk to your doctor about whether probiotic and prebiotic supplements are for you.

Learn More:

Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)

7 Common Habits That Damage Your Gut Health

Quick and Healthy On The Go Veggie Bowl Recipe





Finding the Best Probiotic Yogurt for Digestion and Gut Health

Are you looking for the best probiotic yogurt out there? Well, it’s smart to do some research on probiotic yogurt – because all yogurt is not created equal.

Let’s take a look at what to look for when shopping for probiotic yogurt, and the benefits of probiotics for your digestive health in general.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotic bacteria are “friendly bacteria” which help to provide certain health benefits when consumed by a host – that host being you.

probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic America

These gut health benefits, researched in-depth across many studies, are accepted by the international medical community and the World Health Organization.1

So, what are these health benefits? Well, the main one involves gut health. Probiotics help boost the good bacteria in your gut, so they outnumber the bad bacteria. This helps to ensure a healthy digestive system.

A Healthy Gut – A Healthy Body

Now, here’s where things get really interesting. Research suggests that body health may actually begin in the gut.2 This means that having healthy gut flora is more important than ever, as it may be affecting a myriad of other health issues.

Good Bacteria: Probiotics Found in Yogurt

Regular yogurt, made from dairy or non-dairy milk, is considered a high protein probiotic food. To be a probiotic food, a food must be fermented in some way – in order to bring forth the friendly bacteria.

Other probiotic foods include fermented foods like:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kefir-style drinks
  • Kombucha

probiotic foods | Probiotic America

Now, a good probiotic yogurt contains living, beneficial bacteria. How does it get there?

Here’s the brief story of yogurt…

Fermented Milk And Live Active Cultures: How Is Yogurt Made?

To make modern yogurt, naturally high-protein cow’s milk is heated, pasteurized and homogenized, then allowed to cool.

The milk is then introduced to some key yogurt starter cultures – bacterial strains that are known to be exceptionally good for the gut.

Live probiotic strains of bacteria required for fermentation of yogurt are usually Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Lactobacillus acidophilus may also be included.

This milk and culture mix is then left to ferment.

Lactic acid then forms, which breaks down the milk’s natural sugar proteins.

best probiotic yogurt | Probiotic America

This is what gives yogurt its tart taste. And lactic acid also creates its own friendly bacteria during this process.

Here’s the bad news for yogurt lovers. If your favorite yogurt is heat-treated after the fermentation process, all those good little bacteria are destroyed. They may be listed as an ingredient, but they are no longer live active cultures.4

So, the best probiotic yogurt brands are those that don’t heat-treat their yogurt after fermentation.

Sugar Alert: Plain Yogurt vs Flavored Yogurt

As long as your yogurt contains live and active cultures, you have yourself a solid probiotic yogurt. Dairy-based yogurt is also high in protein (because cow’s milk is high in protein). Until flavors are added. Then, things get a little dicey.

In order to flavor yogurt, immense amounts of sugar are often added.

Even if the label tells you that it’s “real fruit” or “natural flavor”–it will likely be full of added sugar, too.

best probiotic yogurt | Probiotic AmericaBy comparison, plain Greek yogurt is high in protein, low in sugar, and low on added ingredients.

If you find plain Greek yogurt a little boring, try flavoring it yourself. Add some fresh fruit, a dash of vanilla or almond extract, or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.5

Benefits Of Probiotics: Can A Daily Probiotic Supplement Help Digestive Issues?

Getting probiotics from foods like yogurt is always a solid choice, as you’re also getting the benefits of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, it’s likely that your yogurt isn’t getting you enough probiotics to fully benefit your health. The good news is live active cultures can also be taken as a daily probiotic supplement.

Probiotic supplements (and their live and active cultures) can benefit everyone.

But especially those who may be struggling with digestive issues and need an extra boost to their gut health. They’re also an option for those who may be intolerant of dairy.6

Now, some probiotic supplements are bulked up with filler ingredients which may include lactose milk sugars. So, always read the label properly before making a supplement choice.

CFU Probiotics | probiotic America

Here are some other great bacterial cultures that you may find in a probiotic supplement:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus – This common probiotic strain may help support normal bowel movements.7
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus – Studies have shown that lactobacillus bulgaricus may help support lactose digestion.8
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum – One of the key friendly bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of newborns, this strain may support gut health and normal digestion.9
  • Saccharomyces boulardii – This probiotic may support normal bowel movements.10

Live And Active Cultures At Work

Don’t get overwhelmed by all the different cultures when it comes to choosing the best probiotic yogurt. Try instead to include multiple probiotic foods in your diet each day and talk to your doctor about taking a probiotic supplement.

Finally, if you’re dairy intolerant, there are also non-dairy alternatives that still contain probiotics.

Learn More:
Probiotic Skincare: A New Frontier in the Pursuit of Youthful Skin
CFU Probiotic Supplements: Does Greater CFU Equal Better Gut Health?
12 Probiotic Foods to Help You Feel Great


CFU Probiotic Supplements: Does Greater CFU Equal Better Gut Health?

There are a lot of different probiotics products out there, and a lot of different colony-forming units, or CFU probiotics labels. From the low millions to billions of CFUs per dose, you are sure to find a probiotic supplement that is right for you.

Here is some information on CFUs and their association with health benefits.

Probiotic Supplements: Good Bacteria For Your Gut, Stomach, And Intestines

There are many fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and many others, that contain good bacteria. However, for most people, these foods are an incomplete source of probiotics.

This is why a lot of people prefer to get their probiotics through probiotic supplements rather than food.

The gut, also known as the gastrointestinal tract, is home to trillions of bacteria. These microorganisms, also known as the gut flora, make up the gut microbiome.

This is the environment in which all these microbes live. It’s one part of the overall human microbiome.

CFU Probiotics | probiotic AmericaSome microorganisms are beneficial, but others are bad bacteria that can cause serious stomach problems.

Probiotic supplements are designed to provide support to the good microbes. They may also provide other health benefits, such as immune system support. Your immune system helps protect you from developing many types of illnesses.1

How Many CFUs Of A Daily Probiotic Do You Need?

You’ll find a lot of probiotic products that have a wide range of CFUs. The CFU count will let you know much of the good bacteria you’re ingesting. Researchers examined several different dosages for several different strains of bacteria. Most studies have focused on dosages in the 1-20 billion CFU range.

Researchers believe that a dose of at least 5 billion CFUs per day for children, and 10 billion CFUs per day for adults, can provide significant health benefits.2 According to the researchers, there is no evidence that higher dosages will harm a user’s health.

CFU Probiotics | probiotic America

Lactobacillus Strains Of Bacteria And Digestive Health

All complete probiotic products should contain members of the lactobacillus strain of friendly bacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria have been associated with several benefits when it comes to the stomach, large intestine, and other parts of the gut.

Here are just a few of these strains to look for:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Bifidobacterium animalis

Seek Medical Advice

Feel free to speak to a doctor if you have any questions about probiotic supplements or any other type of dietary supplement. They will look at your specific medical situation to make sure it will be safe. Your doctor may also be able to recommend what CFU count will be right for your intestinal health.

Learn More:
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Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)
Surprising Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs


Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)

Last Updated: June 7th, 2019

Cheese lovers, rejoice! Now you can celebrate the taste, andaccording to new studies—also celebrate its health-boosting nutrients. You see, cheese isn’t just good for building strong bones, like we were taught in school as a kid. Certain types of cheese are chock-full of friendly bacteria, or probiotics, which keeps your microbiome happy and healthy. 1

Continue reading “Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)”

Can Probiotics Help Reduce Acid Reflux?

The churning, burning feelings associated with acid reflux can be miserable. And getting rid of the problem can be challenging.

Acid reflux can be caused by everything from eating spicy foods to stress to pregnancy. There are many medications designed to soothe the stomach and relieve symptoms, but a lot of people are concerned about their potential side effects. If you are one of them, you might be looking at other options, such as probiotics.

So, are probiotics for acid reflux the answer?

Here’s some information on the symptoms of acid reflux and the connection between probiotics and your digestive system.

Acid Reflux – The Basics

Acid reflux is, in a nutshell, a condition that occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Also known as gastroesophageal reflux, it can lead to a burning feeling not only in the stomach, but also the chest and even the mouth and throat.1

It’s similar to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), but the symptoms associated with GERD are usually more severe. They include difficulty swallowing, a significant amount of burning in the chest, and coughing.

There are powerful drugs available to treat both acid reflux and GERD, both prescription and over-the-counter. However, many of these medications have been linked to potentially serious side effects. These include nutrient deficiencies (specifically vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium), weight gain, and an increased risk of bone fractures.3

How a Probiotic Supplement May Help

probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic AmericaIf you’re suffering from acid reflux or GERD, you might be interested in trying more natural methods to find relief. And probiotics, which are available in supplement form as well as through food, could be an option.

Before you try a probiotic to address any digestive issues you are facing, however, it’s important that you know what they are.

Probiotics are “good” microbes, such as bacteria and yeast. Your gastrointestinal tract, also known as your “gut,” is filled with trillions of microbes. Many of them are bad for you, but many others are beneficial. Probiotics provide reinforcements to those beneficial microbes.4

When your digestive system works properly, and your stomach acid is in check, you typically won’t have major stomach issues. One of the reasons why is that there’s a proper balance between good and bad microbes in your gut. But when something throws off that balance, and the “bad guys” outnumber the “good guys,” you might experience stomach issues.

Many foods naturally contain probiotics, including sourdough bread, fermented milk, and sauerkraut. However, it can be difficult to get an ample supply of probiotics in your digestive system through food alone.

There are many types of supplements available that can help make sure you have enough beneficial probiotics in your stomach, as well as the rest of  your digestive system.probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic America

What the Research Suggests

There is some evidence that one of the contributing factors to acid reflux may be an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gut.6 There’s actually a name for this problem – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Because probiotics are designed to increase the number of beneficial microbes and the gut and inhibit the development of harmful ones, they may play a role in helping to stop the development of SIBO as well.7

Research on how probiotics for acid reflux may help is still in its early stages. However, early results are promising.

probiotics for acid reflux | Probiotic America

People with acid reflux normally experience regurgitation of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. This, in turn, leads to the sour taste that patients often report.8

According to one study, supplementation with a strain of probiotic bacteria known as Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 resulted in a substantial decrease in regurgitation among infants.9

Acid Reflux – When to Get Medical Help

There are some instances where someone with acid reflux will need to get medical help for severe symptoms. Here are a few warning signs that you’ll need to see a doctor ASAP:

Stomach cramping

People with acid reflux will usually experience cramping in the stomach every once in a while. But if the cramps don’t go away, or if you pass black stools, seek medical attention immediately. There’s a chance you’ve developed bleeding in the intestines, or some sort of damage has occurred in your stomach.10

Severe coughing

If you can’t seem to shake your cough, get to a doctor. It can actually be a sign you have a severe case of GERD.11 Your doctor can confirm this, and help you determine the best course of action.

Unexpected weight loss

Acid reflux, and the resulting stomach acid, may make it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs from the food you eat. Over time, that could lead to not only weight loss, but also a weakening of the immune system.12

Chest pain

Obviously, any sort of chest pain will need to be checked out immediately. You might think it’s normal to have some chest discomfort if you have acid reflux, but always get medical attention to make sure it’s not something more serious.13

Wrapping it Up

Fortunately, acid reflux can typically be controlled. And you might want to see if probiotics for acid reflux can help you to find relief. Whether you plan on getting probiotics from food or supplements, talk to your doctor first about your options. Here’s to you finding relief!

Learn More About the Benefits of Probiotics:
Probiotic Skincare: A New Frontier in the Pursuit of Youthful Skin
9 Gut-Friendly Foods That Supercharge Your Health
12 Awesome Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus (including weight loss!)

8. 9.

9 Easy Solutions to Get Rid of Constipation

If you’ve ever had to deal with the annoyance of constipation, you’re far from alone. It’s so common, in fact, that an estimated one in five people in the United States has to deal with it at one time or another.1 It can lead to serious discomfort and other symptoms, including bloating and pain.

Thankfully, though, there are many remedies designed to help eliminate constipation, without having to get medical help. Here are just a few ways to finally find that constipation relief you’ve been looking for:

Drink More Water

Constipation | Probiotic AmericaNot getting enough water can lead to dehydration. And dehydration is a contributing factor to constipation.2 If you’re all of a sudden finding it difficult – if not impossible – to pass stool, a lack of water might be the culprit.

There is some research that suggests sparkling water might be a more effective remedy than plain tap water. This seems to especially be the case for people who have chronic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.3

Up Your Fiber Intake

Increasing your consumption of high-fiber foods may not only help increase the consistency of your stool, it might also make it easier to pass through your colon, so that you can have a successful bowel movement.4 According to the results of one study, nearly 80 percent of people suffering from chronic constipation may be able to benefit from adding fiber.5

Exercise Regularly

Exercising on a regular basis is obviously good for your overall health. And there is also evidence it could reduce some of the symptoms associated with constipation.6 Before you start a new exercise regimen, however, talk to your doctor first, to make sure it will be completely safe.

Drink More Coffee

Coffee stimulates the muscles of the digestive tract, helping to move stool through the colon.7 Research shows that caffeinated coffee has a similar effect on the digestive system as eating a meal. According to the results of one study, this effect is 23 percent stronger than drinking decaf and a whopping 60 percent stronger than drinking water.8 So, a cup of morning Joe might just go a long way toward helping you find constipation relief.


Some people turn to over-the-counter or herbal laxatives when trying to find constipation relief. Of course, it is always best to consult with a medical professional before trying a laxative — there may be underlying medical conditions that need attention. But if your doctor gives you the go-ahead, try gentler herbal laxatives first.

Constipation | Probiotic AmericaMany herbal laxatives contain glycosides. These are compounds found in plants that help stimulate the nerves in the gastrointestinal tract, or “gut.” This stimulation may help you achieve a bowel movement.9,10

Talk to your doctor about what types of laxatives may be best for you. They may recommend laxatives with bulking agents to help increase the amount of water in your stool, or your doctor might suggest a stool softener. You may even be better off trying osmotic laxatives which work by pulling water into the digestive tract from nearby tissues. Just make sure you get your doctor’s permission before trying any sort of laxative.11

Change Your Diet

There are certain foods you should avoid when you’re constipated. These are typically foods that have little or no fiber, such as potato chips, meat, ice cream, some frozen or microwave dinners, and hot dogs.12 There are some instances where dairy products could play a role in causing constipation.13

If your doctor suggests that you try cutting back on dairy, just make sure you eat other foods that are high in calcium. You don’t want to run the risk of not getting enough of this vital mineral.

Eat Probiotic Foods

Constipation | Probiotic AmericaOne way in which altering your diet might help bring constipation relief is to eat more foods that are high in probiotics. You might not think willingly consuming bacteria is a good idea, but probiotics are incredibly beneficial bacteria that help support the health of the gut and colon.

You have trillions of microbes in your body. If the bad microbes outnumber the good, that can make you susceptible to many types of digestive problems, including constipation.14

There are many foods that are rich in probiotics. These include yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, and sourdough bread. The good bacteria in these products help to provide constipation relief by stimulating bowel movements.15 You can also find many types of probiotic supplements in capsule form.

Don’t Forget Prebiotics

As important as probiotics are in helping to ensure gut health, prebiotics are just as vital. Prebiotics are, in a nutshell, fibers that the human body can’t digest. These substances help to feed the good bacteria in your digestive system, so they can thrive. You can find them in foods such as bananas, onions, and garlic.16 Prebiotics have not only been shown to be an effective stool softener, they may also help increase bowel movement frequency.17,18


Prunes, or dried plums, have long been associated with constipation relief. They not only contain fiber, but also sorbitol, which is a natural laxative.19,20

Research shows that consuming about seven medium-sized prunes once a day can be an effective way to get over your constipation symptoms. As with any dietary change, get medical clearance before you start eating prunes, and if you’re unsure about the effects, start slowly, with just 1-2 prunes… all 7 may be too much.21

When to See a Doctor About Constipation

As frustrating as this condition can be, constipation is usually not serious. It will typically subside within a few days. However, there are some instances where symptoms become so severe that medical help is necessary. Here are some signs that you will need to see a doctor:

· There is blood in your stool, or your stools are black.
· You have anemia, or a lack of iron in your blood.
· You unexpectedly lose weight.
· Your symptoms last for three weeks or more.
· You experience severe stomach pain when passing stool.22

The Final Word

Hopefully, you’ll find constipation relief from one of the remedies suggested above. But if you don’t, and your symptoms persist for an extended period of time, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. They will need to rule out other potential health problems and then determine the best course of action to help you feel better.


For more digestion tips, keep reading here:
Best Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Gut Health
Want a Healthy Belly, Both Inside and Out? Try these 4 Foods
Constipated? Here are 5 Ways To Find Relief


9 Gut-Friendly Foods That Supercharge Your Health

It’s no secret… your gastrointestinal tract – or gut – is filled with billions of bacteria and microbes – aka gut flora.

While many of those bacteria are actually good for you, there are others that aren’t. When the balance between good and bad bacteria goes the wrong way, you’re at risk for a wide range of digestive problems. Fortunately, there are several foods that can help make sure you have a good supply of beneficial bacteria.

Here are nine gut-friendly foods that you should consider making a part of your regular dietary routine.

The Big 9 – Your Gut’s Friendliest Foods

1. Kefir

This fermented drink is typically made from goat or cow milk. You can think of it like drinkable yogurt. It’s filled with probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, that help offset the harmful ones. The result? A good assist for your gut health.

Making kefir is simple – just add kefir grains (which are actually probiotic cultures) to milk. The cultures multiply and ferment and 24 hours later you’ve got kefir. You can even take the grains from the liquid and repeat the process.

Kefir contains about 30 different strains of beneficial microbes, so it is an incredibly diverse source of probiotics. One strain, Lactobacillus kefiri, has been shown to help inhibit the growth of the harmful Helicobacter pylori strain – a strain associated with severe gastrointestinal problems.1

But it doesn’t just provide you with beneficial bacteria. It also provides other key nutrients like vitamin B12, magnesium, vitamin D, calcium, protein and phosphorous.

gut friendly foods | Probiotic America

2. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is also a rich source of probiotics and contains several types of beneficial bacteria. It’s become hugely popular in mainstream grocery stores, but you need to be careful when buying it.

Why? Because some brands might be labeled Greek yogurt, even though they’re basically just regular yogurt with gelatin added for thickness. True Greek yogurt should only have two main ingredients – probiotic cultures and milk.

The beneficial bacteria in Greek yogurt help boost your immune system and protect you from digestive problems like leaky gut syndrome. This problem occurs when the walls of the intestines become weak. Of course, when this happens, toxic microbes can enter the digestive tract. Clearly, nobody wants that.

Also, Greek yogurt is loaded with protein, which helps build strong muscles, cartilage, bones, and skin.

Furthermore, it can give you added energy. Getting enough protein is even more important as you get older. In fact, people 65 and older need about a gram more per day than younger adults. Greek yogurt’s also high in calcium, which can play a key role in helping keep your bones and muscles healthy and strong.

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is basically fermented cabbage. While you can get it in your local grocery store, you need to make sure that it hasn’t been pasteurized. Pasteurization can be an important food safety process, but while it kills bad bacteria it can also destroy your good microbes.3 If your sauerkraut is pasteurized, you won’t get the probiotic benefits.

Sauerkraut’s also filled with beneficial microorganisms that act as reinforcements to the good bacteria in your gut. There are nearly 30 beneficial strains in sauerkraut that are great for gut health. They help you avoid digestive problems like diarrhea and constipation.4 They also help your body do a better job of absorbing nutrients from the foods you eat.

4. Kimchi

Kimchi is the delicious Korean version of sauerkraut. Kimchi is made through a fermentation process that produces beneficial bacteria. The longer it ferments, the more bacteria develop. People have known for decades that kimchi can be a very effective way to reduce the symptoms of many different digestive issues.

Beyond being tasty, Kimchi is also pretty high in fiber. Of course, fiber helps promote a healthy digestive tract too. And fiber also helps lower your “bad” cholesterol levels. Also known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) bad cholesterol can contribute to heart problems. In addition, fiber helps you feel full after a meal, which will reduce the chances you’ll overeat.5

gut friendly foods | Probiotic America

5. Artichokes

Next up – artichokes. They’re a great source of prebiotics, which are fibers the body can’t digest. But guess what… probiotic bacteria can.

They serve as a critical energy source for the good bacteria that live in your gut. Artichokes also contain a substance known as cynarin, which helps produce bile. And bile is important to your digestive process because it helps your body do a good job of absorbing nutrients. If you don’t have enough bile, there’s a good chance you won’t get the nutrients you need from the food you eat.6

6. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains a lot of beneficial bacteria. Many people drink it instead of soda – and you should too. The fermentation process that goes into making kombucha not only produces good bacteria, but also several different B vitamins. Some of the bacteria in kombucha also produce cellulose, a substance that protects cells.

Kombucha also acts as an antioxidant, which helps to protect the body from the effects of oxidation. Antioxidants inhibit the growth of free radicals, dangerous molecules that can damage cells and tissues. Beneficial bacteria, such as those found in the drink, also help stop the formation of the dangerous candida yeast in your gut.7 And it’s a good thing too because candida is associated with many serious health issues.8

7. Miso Soup

Believe it or not, miso soup is extremely popular in Japan – and not just for lunch or dinner. The Japanese love to serve miso soup at breakfast. It has a salty taste and comes in a variety of colors, including yellow, red, brown and white. Miso is not only high in good bacteria, it also contains vitamin K, copper, and manganese.

gut friendly foods | Probiotic America

8. Bananas

Not only do bananas taste great, they’re filled with healthy fiber and beneficial bacteria. They’re also high in magnesium and potassium. Also, bananas have almost no fat, so they’re super low in calories. In fact, a banana only has a little more than 100 calories.

And bananas help to regulate blood sugar levels and control appetite too.9 There’s even evidence that eating bananas can also help with weight loss.10

9. Blueberries

One of the best superfoods out there, blueberries not only taste great in muffins, they also contain beneficial bacteria and a lot of vitamin C. Of course, vitamin C can help improve the texture of your skin and also protect you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.11

The fruit might also help improve your cognitive functioning. One study involved a group of people who were in mild cognitive decline and ate blueberries each day for four months. According to the results, they not only showed improved cognitive performance, their brains functioned better overall.12

Blueberries are also rich in magnesium, calcium, and potassium which can lower the risk of developing high blood pressure.13 They can also help make your heart healthier because they contain anthocyanins. These substances not only give blueberries their unique color, they might also reduce the risk of a heart attack.14

One Last Thought

You never want to start any new dietary routine or take any sort of supplement without talking to your doctor first. Even though you can benefit from an increased supply of good bacteria, you don’t want to take the risk of eating something you might be allergic to. Your doctor will let you know what you can eat safely.

For more health tips, keep reading:

5 Simple Ways to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics

Got Stomach Pain? Maybe Your Diet is to Blame


7 Common Habits That Damage Your Gut Health

You might not know it, but there are probably a few things you’ve been doing for years that could be hurting your gastrointestinal tract. Your gut health has a lot to do with your overall health. Some of your bad habits could be doing some severe damage.

Here’s just a bit of background about how the bacteria in your body play a role in your gut health – and how your bad habits might be causing big problems.

What’s Going On Down There?

The gut is home to trillions of bacteria. Some of them are bad for you, but some of them are actually very good for you. When you’ve got the right balance between your good and bad microbes, your digestive tract will work as it should.

But, when there are too many bad bacteria, that’s when your gut health can suffer. As a result, you could end up at a high risk for a lot of different digestive problems.

Now, your gut microbiome is the collection of bacteria and other microbes in your gastrointestinal tract. And your gut health is extremely important because it has a lot to do with how you feel every day. You see, if your microbiome is disrupted it can lead to problems like leaky gut or intestinal permeability. That’s where the walls of your intestines become weak and allow toxic bacteria and bad microbes to enter. When this happens, you’ll probably have to deal with a lot of problems in your digestive tract.

Seven Common Habits that Damage Your Gut

Not all habits are bad, of course. Showering and brushing your teeth every day are clearly great habits. But far too many of us fall into unhealthy routines that can harm our gut health.

1. Using Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

When you have a headache or some other type of body pain, it’s only natural to reach for an over-the-counter drug. It’s the easiest thing to do when you’ve got pain and want to stop it fast. But, the most common OTC drugs are ibuprofen and aspirin, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While these can be very effective medicines, they can also do quite a number on your gut health.

Turns out, NSAIDs work by blocking the cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzyme. This enzyme is largely responsible for causing inflammation that can lead to pain.

However, COX also plays an important role in gut health. The stomach produces powerful, corrosive acid. And this acid can actually do a lot of damage your stomach. But COX helps protect your stomach from its own acid. So, when an NSAID inhibits COX, the enzyme can’t do its job. As a result, you’ll be at a higher risk of developing leaky gut. NSAIDs have also been linked to the development of ulcers.1

2. Using antibiotics –

Antibiotics are extremely effective medicines that have saved the lives of millions of people around the world. But unfortunately, they not only kill harmful bacteria and other microbes but beneficial microbes as well. This can have a major impact on your gut health.

So, if you take antibiotics you should also take steps to replenish the good bacteria in your system. One way to do this is to take a probiotic supplement. Your doctor can tell you more about how probiotics can help maintain your gut health during your antibiotic regimen.2

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3. Stress –

While you already know that stress isn’t good for you, you might not know the role it can play in damaging your gut health. Stress can weaken your immune system, which is responsible for helping to keep you protected from infections and other problems. But it can also disrupt what is known as the “gut-brain axis.”

Now, a lot of the same hormones that work in the brain also work in the intestines. In fact, scientists often refer to the gut as “the second brain.”3 This is a large reason why when something is wrong in the gut it can affect your entire body.

4. Drinking too much alcohol –

Overindulging in alcohol can be especially damaging to your gut. Drinking too much can lead to the accumulation of harmful bacteria and that can lead to a leaky gut.4

If you do drink, make sure you do so in moderation. In moderation, there’s evidence that drinking a moderate amount of red wine could actually help your gut health. In fact, one study shows that red wine can increase the supply of a beneficial form of bacteria known as bifidobacterium.5

5. Eating too many grains –

There’s evidence that even gluten-free grains contain substances that can make it very hard for you to obtain nutrients from the food you eat. The lectins found in these grains bind to your intestines and inhibit your body’s ability to absorb important nutrients.6

6. Eating too often throughout the day –

You might be damaging your gut health if you tend to snack a lot at different times over the course of your typical day. Eating when you’re not hungry can disrupt your gut bacteria. The reason is that you’re putting your digestive tract under a ton of stress. It has to work very hard to break down all the food you’re consuming.

But taking a break can be really good for you. Research indicates that intermittent fasting helps ease the workload of your digestive tract. It promotes a process known as autophagy. In a nutshell, autophagy helps cells detoxify themselves. It even helps remove unneeded proteins and clear out damaged cell components.7

7. Overdoing it with caffeine –

As much as you might love your coffee (or soda), when you take in too much caffeine it can wreak havoc on your gut. Overindulgence in caffeine stimulates stress hormones. These hormones contribute to a “fight or flight” response in your body. This diverts energy to the heart – increasing your heart rate – and taking it away from the gut. And this type of stress response – over time – can lead to an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in your gut.8

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Kicking Bad Habits that Wreck Your Gut

Now, eliminating a bad habit is no joke – it can be really tough. Issues such as alcohol abuse and overeating develop over years and years. As a result, it can take some time to break them.

You see, research indicates that bad habits are an odd way of “rewarding” yourself. They release a chemical in the brain known as dopamine. The more dopamine you get, the more you want. It’s a vicious cycle. In fact, studies show that in many cases you don’t even derive any pleasure from the habit itself. You get your pleasure from the dopamine instead.9

So how can you help yourself? Well, exercise is one way you can get rid of bad habits. Studies suggest that physical activity releases endorphins – chemicals in your brain that also bring pleasure.10 Exercise can also help suppress a hormone known as ghrelin, which plays a major role in making you hungry.11

Increasing Your Supply of Good Bacteria

In addition to working out regularly, you can also promote good gut health by consuming more good bacteria. Certain foods are good sources of beneficial bacteria. But it can be hard to get the amount you need through food alone.

That’s why a lot of people turn to probiotic supplements. These are products filled with beneficial bacteria. They come in a lot of different forms, but capsules are the most efficient. The reason is, they protect microbes from the harsh environment of the stomach. The good bacteria survive so they can reach the gut and do their jobs.

Wrapping it Up

If you work on eliminating the bad habits that can damage your gut health, it won’t be long until you’re reaping serious benefits. But since it can be tough to go it alone, be sure to talk to your doctor first.

More ways to add probiotics to your diet:

Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)


Think You Might Have a Parasite? Try These DIY At-Home Cleanses

You haven’t been feeling yourself lately. Your stomach hurts and you feel tired all the time. Could a microscopic enemy be at the cause?

Parasites are organisms that need another living organism to survive. Parasites often harm the other organism, or host. Did you know? More than 1,000 types of parasites can exist within or on human hosts.1

Though many people think of parasitic infestations as only happening in third world countries, they are common in all parts of the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control, parasites are responsible for five common diseases in the United States, including toxoplasmosis, Chagas disease, toxocariasis, neurocysticercosis, and trichomonas.2 These diseases affect millions of people each year, with devastating health effects.

Intestinal parasites, such as giardia and cryptosporidium, are also common. They can live for years in the human intestinal tract without any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause.

Symptoms of Parasites

Parasites can cause a wide variety of symptoms in their human hosts. Some of the most common symptoms include stomach problems, such as gas, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.3 Additional symptoms may include problems sleeping, aches and pains, allergies, and anxiety. Some types of parasites may cause an increase or decrease in appetite.

If you’re showing signs of a parasites, a cleanse can help your body get rid of these unwelcome visitors.

DIY Parasite Cleanse

Here are some foods that help your body cleanse itself from harmful parasites:

Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin parasite cleansePumpkin seeds are a simple and delicious method of ridding your body of parasites. A 2012 study done in China showed that eating pumpkin seeds can rid the body of tapeworms.4 Unlike the two main medicines used for treating tapeworms, pumpkin seeds are well-tolerated and readily available.

To use pumpkin seeds for a cleanse, eat about one cup per day. You can eat ½ cup in the morning and ½ cup at night. Pumpkin seeds are great in trail mix, on top of salads or even blended into smoothies.


Garlic has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy. It can also effectively kill certain parasites. Several studies have proven garlic’s effects on giardia and many other types of parasites.5 Garlic is also anti-bacterial and antimicrobial.

For parasites, fresh, raw garlic is best. Crush some raw garlic into your salad dressing or mix it with butter on toast. If you don’t like the taste of garlic, you may prefer to take a supplement. Garlic can interact with some medications, such as blood thinners, antiplatelet medicines, and protease inhibitors.6 Consult your doctor about taking garlic if you are taking these medicines.


probiotic parasite cleanseYour body is not only a host to parasites, which can harm you, but also to beneficial bacteria and yeast that help your digestion and many other aspects of your health. These helpful microorganisms make up your gut microbiota. Probiotics are either the same or very similar to the helpful microorganisms that already exist in your gut microbiota.

The health benefits of taking probiotics for stomach problems and yeast infections are well-documented.7 There is also some evidence that probiotics can help fight a parasite infestation. A case study of a 12-year-old girl published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal showed that probiotics can treat the parasite cryptosporidium.8

Probiotics are available as supplements. They are also present in many healthy foods, such as plain yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut. Eating these foods regularly can help you live healthier and parasite-free.

Oregano Oil

oregano oil parasite cleanseOregano oil is essential oil made from the oregano herb. It is commonly available as a supplement. In a 2000 study, researchers gave oregano oil supplements to 14 people who had tested positive for three types of intestinal parasites. After six weeks, a majority of the patients no longer tested positive for the parasites, and most had improved stomach conditions.9

Taking 200 mg of oregano oil as a supplement three times daily for six weeks may help to kill parasites.10 You could also opt to take a few drops of oregano oil each day mixed with water or juice. If you have diabetes, a bleeding disorder, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor before taking oregano.

Papaya Seeds

A 2007 study of 60 Nigerian children found that an elixir of dried papaya seeds and honey successfully got rid of a majority of the kids’ intestinal parasites.11 This method also did not lead to negative side effects. You can purchase dried papaya seeds from large grocery stores or online. You could also eat fresh papaya seeds alone or in a smoothie. Aim to consume about one tablespoon per day.

A Healthy Diet Wards Off Bugs

Make your body less attractive to parasites by eating a healthy diet. Cut out processed simple carbohydrates, such as refined sugar and white flour. Replacing these foods with healthier complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can make your body a less hospitable place for parasites12 Complex carbohydrates also contain dietary fiber, which is necessary for proper digestion.

When to See a Doctor

If you experience severe symptoms, contact your doctor right away. Your doctor can diagnose parasites by blood test, fecal test, endoscopy, colonoscopy, or x-ray.13

Parasites can infiltrate your body and negatively affect your overall health, so if you suspect you’ve been infected, take action as quickly as possible. Try these natural cleanses to clear these unwelcome invaders from your system.

For more tips on digestive health, keep reading:

Stretch Your Way to Digestive Health (3 easy yoga poses)


How Mindful Meditation Helps Digestion (and may improve leaky gut)

Is there an association between meditating and the health of your gastrointestinal tract? Scientific research seems to say that’s the case. In fact, mindfulness, or the practice of being in the moment, can benefit your GI tract in many ways. Read on to find out more about how meditation can benefit your stomach and improve digestion.

What is Leaky Gut?

how to improve digestion

Your gut contains billions of bacteria, yeast, and other microbes. You might think bacteria are all bad, but there are actually many strains that are good for you. They help keep your gut working well, so you won’t have digestive problems. But there are also a lot of bad microbes as well. If the bad/good balance becomes disrupted, you’ll be most at risk for digestive issues, like leaky gut.

When the lining of the digestive tract weakens, harmful microbes can enter, or “leak,” into the body. This can lead to problems so severe that they interfere with your quality of life.

Evidence suggests that meditation can help reduce the chances of leaky gut occurring. As a result, it might also help lower the risk of gastrointestinal disorders.

What the Science Says

Regular meditation practice may play a role in reducing gut problems. In one study, researchers wanted to know if mindfulness meditation could help people with GI problems.

Fifty people with digestive issues participated in the study. They took part in programs that addressed many issues. Among them: cognitive skills, stress reduction, and other behaviors that provide health benefits. All the participants took part in weekly sessions involving meditation. They also practiced meditation at home for between 15 and 20 minutes each day.

According to the results, all the participants showed major improvement in their symptoms. They also reported an improved quality of life and a reduction in anxiety. But these results didn’t stop with the end of the study. Follow-up visits showed that the participants were still seeing benefits three weeks later.1

How Mindfulness Meditation Works

Mindfulness meditation isn’t some recent fad. In fact, people have practiced it for more than 2,000 years. The best way to describe it is a method of focusing the mind on the moment, instead of worrying about the future or past. There are different levels of mindfulness-based stress reduction. If you’re a beginner, you’ll spend about 20 minutes meditating during any one session. But advanced practitioners spend as long as an hour.2

Advocates of mindful meditation say it’s a way to help them deal with anything that happens to them. Whether something good or bad occurs, they’re ready to deal with it. It helps them lead fuller lives, because they’re actually experiencing life.

Popular Types of Meditation


Mantra meditation

meditation for stomach problems– This involves staying in a seated position with your legs crossed, usually on a mat. Practitioners will usually repeat some sort of phrase. The most common one is “Om.” But whatever the phrase may be, it helps clear the person’s mind. The mantra, often spoken at a low volume, helps make the person more in tune with their environment.

Transcendental meditation

– Millions of people, around the world, practice transcendental meditation. It’s basically a technique that promotes a state of relaxed awareness. To try it out, sit in a comfortable position and silently repeat a mantra (words) or sound. The typical practice is two times a day for 20 minutes each session.

Spiritual meditation

– This is the form of meditation most associated with praying. People do it to find a deeper connection with their God. Christians, Hindus, and people of many other faiths practice it. Some practitioners choose to enhance their experience by using oils. These include myrrh, cedar, and frankincense.

Movement meditation

– Most people think of yoga when they think of movement meditation. But it can work with most any type of gentle motion. You can practice movement meditation anywhere. Try it while walking around your neighborhood, or working in your garden.3

Why Meditate?

A lot of people meditate, and they do it for a lot of reasons. They’re all looking to find peace, but they also do it to help reduce stress or anxiety. Some use it to improve their focus, so they can be more productive. Still others use it to try and kick bad habits, such as drinking alcohol or smoking. Some meditate to get over a stressful or traumatic experience. Others are seeking an understanding of their life’s purpose.

Meditation Myths (hint: it’s not that hard)

One of the misconceptions about meditation is that there’s only one way to do it. You have to sit in a certain way or put your body in a specific position. The reality is, you need to find the position that you find the most comfortable. Whether that means sitting in your favorite chair or lying on your bed, it doesn’t matter.

There is another common misconception that you need to work to clear your mind. The opposite is actually true. You shouldn’t force yourself to empty your mind. Let whatever feelings, emotions, or thoughts that you have flow. Let them come and go without judging them.

The Bottom Line

Meditation practice is a great way to reduce anxiety. And scientific evidence shows that it can also help improve your digestive health. Try it yourself, and find out how meditation can benefit your gut. Don’t be afraid to start what could be a fruitful, mindful journey.