Ok, so there I was researching some information the other day for a particular blog post, and I came across an article pertaining to probiotics. The fact that I’m not great at multi-tasking, I was immediately side tracked and became submerged in the world of probiotics an all their amazing health benefits. So what are these little gems all about? How do we go about getting them in our diet? What about other alternatives to increasing the amount that we get? Lets take a closer look!
Well, first off, what are probiotics? Probiotics are microorganisms—such as bacteria, viruses and yeasts—that can be seen only under a microscope and that are often referred to as “healthy” or “good” bacteria. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and defined by the World Health Organization, probiotics are “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. The benefits of incorporating probiotics into one’s diet have been widely speculated, as little evidence exists to support the long-term health benefits. Despite the lack of formal evidence, the probiotic trend has swept the health and diet industries for their potential cleansing benefits, immune boosting powers and nutritional value.
Benefits Of Probiotics:
Probiotics are believed to protect us in two ways. The first is the role is how probiotics play in our digestive tract. We know that our digestive tract needs a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria, so what gets in the way of this? It looks like our lifestyle is both the problem and the solution. Foods high in probiotics (Kombucha, Kefir, pickles, tempeh, just to name a few) are an amazing way to start getting more into your system, but poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.
When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. On the flip side, it takes in the things that our body needs (nutrients from food and water) and absorbs and helps deliver them to the cells where they are needed.
The idea is not to kill off all of the bad bacteria. Our body does have a need for the bad ones and the good ones. The problem is when the balance is shifted to have more bad than good. An imbalance has been associated with diarrhea, urinary tract infections, muscle pain, and fatigue.
I fielded a question the other day on my Facebook page regarding the effects gestational diabetes has on the body. Well, I’ll be honest with you. Even as a type 1 diabetic, dealing with the daily highs and lows, I wasn’t 100% sure, so lets take a closer look!
Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that comes on during pregnancy. It affects about 4% of all pregnant women, according to the American Diabetes Association. Gestational diabetes is often diagnosed on screening tests done between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.
While doctors aren’t sure what causes gestational diabetes, it is believed that hormones from the placenta may block the action of insulin in the mother. This means that the mother needs more insulin and sometimes her pancreas cannot make enough to transport the sugar in the blood into the cells for energy. The mother’s blood has high levels of glucose, which can cross the placenta, giving the growing baby a high blood sugar level.
Gestational Diabetes & Pregnancy:
Gestational diabetes is caused by a change in the way a woman’s body responds to insulin during pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone. It moves glucose out of the blood and into the body’s cells where it can be turned into energy. During pregnancy, a woman’s cells naturally become slightly more resistant to insulin’s effects. This change is designed to increase the mother’s blood glucose level to make more nutrients available to the baby. The mother’s body makes more insulin to keep the blood glucose level normal. In a small number of women, even this increase is not enough to keep their blood glucose levels in the normal range. As a result, they develop gestational diabetes.
Signs & Symptoms:
The symptoms of gestational diabetes are not very prominent and are similar to that of pregnancy. Hence, they are not easily distinguished. Listed below are few of the symptoms you can experience during pregnancy.
- Feeling thirsty often
- Frequent urination
- Bladder infection
- Vaginal infection
- Blurred vision
- Visible loss of weight
I have to admit, as a type 1 diabetic, even though fitness is a passion of mine, I never really understood how important it was to maintain proper pH levels in your body. Proper pH levels is vital if your looking to maintain optimal health! Why? Well, lets take a look!
A alkaline diet is meant to help keep a good balance of acid and alkaline in your body. A good, or “neutral” balance is 7.35. A pH of 1 is the most acidic and a pH of 14 is the most alkaline. When your body is in a constant state of acidosis, meaning your pH is too low, it is difficult to stay healthy and energetic, advises Brendan Brazier, author of “Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide. ” Some foods such as bell peppers, melons and leafy green veggies are alkaline-forming in the body, whereas others like pasta, white rice and cheese are highly acid-forming. Some pH diets advocate an 80- to 20-percent balance of alkaline- to acid-forming foods.
Benefits Of A pH Diet:
The body functions optimally when its pH level is somewhat alkaline, and scientists have discovered that as the body becomes more acidic, a person’s health gets worse. When people eat foods that create a more acidic internal environment, bacteria and viruses can take charge and wreak havoc. Disease, bacteria and yeast infections tend to prosper in acidic environments, so if you are not utilizing a pH balance diet, you may unwittingly be increasing your vulnerability to illness.
Higher pH Levels Greater Energy:
When your body isn’t working so hard to keep the balance of its acidity, you will have more energy to spare for your life. Think about it, when you run your car for some time in the idle position, it isn’t going anywhere, but it’s still using gas. If you were to actually stop idling, you would get more from the gas in the tank.
The same can be said for the introduction of a pH balanced diet. When the body doesn’t have to spend so much time getting rid of waste and of fungus, then this energy can be used for other tasks – like exercising and enjoying your life. Many people who have tried this particular diet have noticed a marked difference in their energy levels due to the fact they can sleep better when they are eating this healthy diet. Instead of spending your time in bed digesting foods, your body can focus on repairing itself and restoring good health.