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.
The other day, someone on my Facebook page posed a question to me about tempeh (pronounced “temp-a”). Honestly I didn’t know much about the product, but always heard the health benefits of tempeh are plentiful. As opposed to many other soy foods tempeh is made from whole soybeans, and possesses all the health benefits of soybeans. Also the tempeh fermentation changes the properties of the soybeans. So lets take a closer look at this nutritional powerhouse!
Tempeh And Protein:
Looking to add protein to your diet, then tempeh could be the perfect choice! Each 1-cup serving of tempeh contains 31 grams of protein, which is 55 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 67 percent for women, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Tempeh contains high-quality complete protein and provides all the amino acids you must obtain from your diet. Its protein content helps you maintain muscle tissue, and also make enzymes your cells need to function. Tempeh is also easily absorbed and utilized as protein from animal sources, such as eggs or meat, so it makes a particularly welcome addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.
Tempeh & Blood Sugars:
The protein source is excellent for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics, who tend to have problems with animal sources of protein. Like the majority of protein sources, the protein and fiber content in tempeh can also help in regards to ones blood sugar by keeping levels under control by preventing rapid spikes in one’s glucose. Why is this? Simply stated, the 31 whopping grams of protein in just one cup!
Just make sure your looking at the fermented tempeh vs non-fermented as fermented soy stops the effect of phytic acid and increases the availability of isoflavones. The fermentation also creates the probiotics, the “good” bacteria the body is absolutely dependent on, such as lactobacilli that increase the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilation of nutrients in the body.
Many studies have shown traditionally fermented soy, which is the form that is very popular in many Asian cultures-aids in preventing and reducing a variety of diseases including certain forms of heart disease.
I will definitely be checking this out on my next trip to the supermarket!
Tempeh And Probiotics:
Tempeh is full of healthy probiotics or “good bacteria” which you would typically associate with yogurt because it’s fermented. The enzymes produced by tempeh’s fermentation process helps your body fight bad bacteria, better absorb important nutrients like iron, and aid in the digestive process. Not only does tempeh’s fermentation process produce natural antibiotic agents, but it leaves desirable soy isoflavones intact. Soy isoflavones have many health benefits such as strengthening bones, easing menopausal symptoms, and reducing risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers.