What Are Probiotics And Where Can I Find Them?

what are probiotics
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What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for you.

They’re good because they help keep your gut healthy. They can lower the amount of “bad” bacteria in the body and help replace the “good” bacteria when they’re lost because of taking antibiotics.

The most common type of probiotics are Lactobacillus.

Great sources include:

  • Yogurt–When you buy yogurt, make sure to look for “active live cultures” written on the package.
  • Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and salt. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for sauerkraut in a Mason jar.
  • Kefir–fermented cow’s milk; Kefir has a sour taste and is great in smoothies.
  • Kombucha is a unique and slightly sour-tasting fermented tea. Learn how to make kombucha here.

Another type of probiotic is Bifidobacterium. It is found in a few dairy products and may help treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

You can get probiotics through supplements too. They’re available in capsules, chewables, and liquid forms. I’ve tried several different brands from both Amazon.com and Vitacost. Amazon has over 3000 to choose from.

I’ve also purchased Culturelle on the advice of our pediatrician when our daughter was younger and dealing with a long-term stomach illness. It helped her so much.

I would recommend probiotics to anyone who’s dealing with an occasional stomach illness or simply wants to stay healthy. I hope this helps you in your journey towards health!

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Have you tried probiotics? Please let me know below in the comments section.

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4 Nutritional Supplements Everyone Should Take

supplements everyone should take

People take supplements for a variety of reasons.

Some target specific nutritional deficiencies.

And some people take supplements to meet health goals, like gaining lean muscle. Other supplements are recommended for people with different diseases or conditions.

If you’re curious about supplements and which ones to start with, you might consider these first.

Supplements Everyone Should Take

1. A multivitamin with minerals

If you’re like the average American you don’t eat the recommended 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Taking a high-quality multivitamin is like insurance for your diet. It helps to fill in the mineral and nutrient gaps you might be missing.

Multivitamins aren’t created equal. Look for ones that are easily absorbed in the body. There’s a big difference between the quality. Many times it’s better to spend more money to get one that will benefit your health the most.

One of my favorites is Pana C-315 Liquid Multivitamin and Mineral Superfood (and, no this isn’t an affiliate link ) 😉 . It has fulvic minerals, which my doctor recommended because my body does not absorb nutrients easily. (Read more about why here or here)

I also really like Morningstar Minerals Energy Boost 70 Mineral Supplement. This one is especially good if you’re sensitive to icky tastes (like I am sometimes). It’s clear and has no taste.

2. Vitamin D3

First of all, D3 isn’t exactly a vitamin. It’s a pre-hormone. It performs many important functions in the body. Consequently, it plays a big role in strength and preventing chronic disease and autoimmune conditions.

The best way to get D3 is by spending time in the sun. But, due to busy lives and using sunscreen, many Americans are deficient. It takes a lot of sun exposure to get an adequate amount of D3.

Experts generally recommend between 1000 IU- 5000 IU per day.

3. Probiotics

A good probiotic is essential for digestive function. They occur naturally in the gut. But many factors, including aging and prescription drugs, can kill off the good bacteria leading to many problems.

Probiotics strengthen the immune system by fighting off “bad” bacteria.  They produce key nutrients that limit yeast growth. Did you know that an overgrowth of yeast creates tiny holes in the walls of the intestines, causing leaky gut. This then allows harmful toxins to flow throughout the body. Yikes!

When choosing a probiotic look for powders or capsules containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. 

Aim for 10-30 billion live units of bacteria a day.

4. Magnesium

A lack in magnesium is linked with inflammation in the body.

Consequently, people who are deficient in this key trace metal are at higher risk for:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart attack
  • diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • cancer

Magnesium can be purchased in a capsule or powder form, or injected.

According to the Mayo Clinic, recommended dosages of magnesium vary depending on your doctor’s suggestion and based on your personal health needs. But a general guideline is to take from 320 milligrams to 420 milligrams, depending on age or gender.

Special Considerations

As always, check with your doctor to discuss recommendations based on your personal health profile. If you’d like to learn more about supplements, check out 5 reasons to take nutritional supplements

Most of all, I hope this list of 4 supplements everyone should take helps you in your health journey!

You may want to browse and/or purchase supplements here., including a special deal on COQ10

Please let me know what your favorite supplements are in the comment section below.

You may want to watch 8 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency, Dr. Josh Axe:

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5 Reasons To Take Nutritional Supplements

Mixed Messages About Taking Supplements

There are many misconceptions about taking nutritional supplements.

It seems more obvious that people with chronic health conditions need supplements.

Some people think if you’re healthy and eat a nutritious diet, then supplements aren’t necessary.

But there’s more to consider when making your decision

Even relatively healthy people can benefit from taking supplements.

supplements5 Reasons to Take Nutritional Supplements:

  1. The fruits and vegetables we eat are often lacking essential minerals due to soil depletion. The soils are deficient in key minerals. This is often due to agricultural practices.
  2. Stress from leading busy lives wears down our immune system. Taking whole-food supplements can help fill in the gaps. This helps to make sure our bodies are functioning effectively.
  3. Taking prescription drugs over time can cause the body’s nutrient supply to become deficient.
  4. Due to increasing pollution in our food and water supply our bodies may use more nutrients to help detoxify the harmful substances. Learn more about detoxification here.
  5. Many of our foods are stored for long periods of time. Others are shipped long distances before they are bought and eaten . This causes depletion of vitamins.

When choosing high-quality nutritional supplements, make sure they’re free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

Focus on all natural, whole-food supplements.

You might want to start with taking these 4 essential supplements.

Do you take nutritional supplements?  Have you noticed an improvement in your health from taking supplements?

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Thoughts On Nutritional Supplements

Do you take nutritional supplements? Which ones should you take? Are they even important?

These are all questions I’ve heard over the years, and I have to say that my perspective has done a 180 since becoming chronically ill with Lyme disease and a myriad of autoimmune issues.

thoughts on Nutritional supplementsAs a child, my parents gave us a multivitamin every morning, usually with a glass of orange juice. My mom always cooked delicious and nutritious meals, and my parents were health conscious. I’m so thankful for that!

I grew up believing that taking my daily vitamin supplement would improve my health.

Out of innocence I took my excellent health for granted.

Marriage And Babies

Later, after getting married (to my amazing husband), I had 4 babies in 6 years.

At that time I was careful to take my prenatal vitamins, hoping they would help give the proper nutrients for our babies’ development. I soon learned too, that pregnancy and breastfeeding can take a toll on your body if you aren’t extremely proactive about living a healthy lifestyle.

Even so, I cherished those precious years when our kids were young and dependent on us for everything. I loved the baby stage!

Sometime after our family was complete I became busy in a different way, with toddler playgroups and ballgames, music lessons, trips, and a full-time teacher career. It was during this time that I stopped taking my daily multivitamin.

Because I was young and healthy I thought eating a healthy diet was enough.

Chronic Illness And Supplements

Now, just a few years later and my health and life have changed so much. I take anywhere between 25 to 40 supplements per day, out of necessity (depending on what issues I’m dealing with at the time).

I’m continually learning more about the importance of buying quality supplements and no longer choosing the generic brand or buying whatever is on sale like I used to.

If I could share one piece of advice with you that might help it would be this: Be proactive about making your body the strongest and healthiest it can be. Don’t assume that just because you’ve always been healthy, you’ll always be healthy.

I realize some times we can’t control the hand we’re dealt, just like when I got Lyme disease. But if we can do anything to prevent illness and disease, let’s do it!

Here are some things you can do right now

  • Eat a variety of healthy, whole foods, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and protein.
  • Get plenty of quality sleep each night.
  • Find effective ways to deal with stress, such as going on a walk or talking to a friend.
  • Work out regularly.
  • Take high-quality supplements.

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1st Time to Trader Joe’s And Health Food

health food

Health Food

health foodI’ve wanted to go to Trader Joe’s for a long time. If you’re one of the lucky ones who lives close to a TJ’s it’s probably not a big deal. But for me, it was. I love trying the latest health food.

That, and I tend to get excited about the little things. 😉

If you’ve never been they have fresh produce and all sorts of health foods and gluten free items. The prices seemed very reasonable too.

We bought some apples and the best natural peanut butter I’ve ever tasted. David (my dear husband) and I talked about how we can’t believe there’s not a Trader Joe’s in Springfield (and he started dreaming about opening one of our own). I love my entrepreneurial guy!

Do you have a favorite place to shop for healthy food? Have you been to Trader Joe’s?

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5 Easy Ways To Detox

easy ways to detox

Whether you’re “as healthy as a horse” or dealing with chronic illness, detoxing is essential in helping the body get rid of harmful toxins.

Before getting Lyme disease I’d heard the term “detox” thrown around once or twice. But once I became chronically ill, detoxing quickly became a necessity in my ongoing journey back to health.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help your body get rid of harmful toxins.

5 Easy Ways To Detox:

1. Drink lots of water with lemon. It’s great to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but drinking at least 2 liters a day is even better!

Water helps to flush toxins out of the body. Lemons can help support the immune system and stimulate the liver to help remove toxins.

2. Dry brush your skin before showering. This helps shed dead skin, encourages blood circulation and assists with lymph drainage. You can buy a dry skin brush on Amazon for very little money. This is the one I have and it works great!

3. Sweat the toxins out of your body by taking a hot bath, sitting in a sauna, or exercising hard enough to break a good sweat. After researching portable saunas for a couple of years, my sweet husband bought me this one for Christmas and I love it.

4. Eat a variety of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Nourish your body with whole foods.

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Easy Ways To Detox

5. Emphasize the positive. We all have those days (or weeks) when we don’t feel our best or feel exhausted from a busy schedule. I’ve found that if I look for things that I’m grateful for throughout the day it changes my perspective and can help me cope with potentially stressful situations.

There are several other ways to detox, but hopefully this will give you some things to think about and try. I hope you find this list helpful!

I’d love to hear what works well for you! Please share in the comment section below.

For more information, you might like to check out:

to learn more about detoxing your body for better health.

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