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Tuesday
Oct132009

The Importance of Good Digestive Bacteria

 

Digestive bacteria are essential

Digestion is more than just stomach acid and enzymes.  Our digestive systems rely upon a healthy balance of bacteria to break down the food in our intestines.  Without these bacteria, digestion simply won’t work well. 

They are fragile

We shouldn’t take their presence for granted.  Our digestive bacteria are sensitive to the type of environment we provide for them and can be killed off by poor dietary choices we make.  The worst offenders are antibiotics, drugs, and intestinal “cleanses” which are very harsh and will massacre our intestinal flora.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Eating too much of the wrong foods can be problematic too.  The delicate bacteria can be damaged by excessive acidity in our diets, irritants like hot peppers and caffeine, and fermentation from chronic indigestion.

Provide the right environment

Theoretically, if we’re eating a healthy diet the natural bacterial balance should flourish on its own.  New bacteria should be continuously introduced from outside sources, such as home-grown produce, and multiply happily in the ideal environment our intestines provide. 

Supplementation

Unfortunately, since none of us eat a majority of our food straight off the plant anymore, we no longer get a steady intake of good bacteria.  In a weird sense, our food has almost become too clean for our own good.  This is why it’s a good idea to take a probiotic supplement that reintroduces the good digestive bacteria into our system. The one I recommend is a brand called “Udo’s Choice”.  They have a range of several probiotic supplements that are tailored to specific age groups — adults, children, and seniors — all supplying an excellent range of beneficial bacteria in 100%-vegan capsules.  You’ll find them in most health food stores in the refrigerated section.  It costs about $30 for ninety capsules, which will last you between one and three months, depending on how frequently you take them. 

Establish and maintain

Probiotic supplements are not something you'll need to take indefinitely.  Once you start your raw-vegan diet, it’s a good idea to supplement and get everything well-established, but after a while, depending on how well you eat, you shouldn’t need to worry too much about it all the time.  I’ll generally buy a bottle once or twice a year just to help things out, but that’s about all.  The key is simply to give your "guests" what they need to be happy, once you get your system in good order.  As long as the foods you eat provide a healthy environment for you digestive bacteria, they’ll continue to multiply effectively on their own.

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

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