Go Pro: The Benefits of Probiotics

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests illnesses can be treated and prevented with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Studies have shown that probiotics may have an impact on many health conditions such as allergic disorders, liver disease, and the common cold. Research from the U.S. Library of Medicine has shown that probiotics can provide relief from diarrhea and benefit blood pressure. They can also help with gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance.

Probiotics are considered safe as they are already present in a normal digestive system. However, as with anything else, it is wise to be cautious.  Always consult with a practitioner familiar with you and with probiotics to discuss this dietary addition.

One of the best ways to add probiotics to your routine is by eating them. Foods like yogurt and kefir are easily incorporated into a regular diet. Food in a brine like sour kraut and dill pickles provide a healthy supply of probiotics. Just ensure they are brined in water and sea salt and not vinegar. Other sources are sourdough bread, kimchi, miso soup, kombucha, tempeh, lassi, and microalgae.

Enjoy DIY (Do it Yourself)? Here’s a super simple, inexpensive way to make your own probiotic (fermented kraut):

Ingredients:  one head of green cabbage, one TBS salt

Directions:

Cabbage. Any head of green cabbage will do.

Wash or peel outer-most leaves, but DO NOT wash the inside. Those are the organisms we want.

Shred or chop the cabbage.

For each court, add 1 tablespoon of salt to one head of cabbage shredded. Manipulate, punch, squeeze the cabbage until when squeezed, a handful of water streams out.

Optional: add other vegetables like beets or seasonings such as caraway seeds, dill seeds, pepper flakes, or fresh herbs.

Fill a 1-quart ball jar with a handful at a time and with each addition press vegetables beneath brine with your hand, submerging each addition. The brine naturally forms as the cabbage is manipulated.

Leave 1 inch of headroom in the jar. Place it on a dish to capture overflowing juices.

Lay the lid on, but don’t screw it down.

Place the jar in a relatively warm part of the kitchen.

Twice daily, take a fork or spoon and press the vegetables beneath the brine so that the kraut doesn’t get moldy.

In a few days it will bubble and rise. Just keep submerging it twice a day.

When the bubbling subsides, it is fermented. Taste and decide if you want to put it in the refrigerator and start eating it or ferment longer.  Time makes it more sour and less crunchy.

Go Pro!

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