By Dr. Masoud Shamaeizadeh
These days we hear a lot of talk about antibiotic-resistant bacteria due to the over consumption of prescription and antibiotic drugs. Unfortunately there is a side of the story that doesn't get a lot of attention which is even more problematic for our health; that is the fact that when we consume antibiotics we are killing good and bad bacteria! Good bacteria produce some of our vitamins and enzymes and also keep bad bacteria away.
Consider this, even if you are not over-consuming antibiotics, but you eat meat, you are still at risk of killing your good gut bacteria. In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed that animal agriculture consumes 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States. This means that unless you are always eating grass-fed, certified organic meat, you are indirectly consuming antibiotics that were fed to farm animals.
Why is that important?
When the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria in the gut, inflammation and allergies appear. It is the job of the good bacteria to keep the levels of bad bacteria in check.
So one way to restore the balance of our gastrointestinal tracts is by taking a lot of probiotics in pill or capsule form for long periods of time, then checking stool samples to see if the balance has returned. The problem with this is that the majority of the probiotics in a pill are killed by the acidity of the stomach, so the potency of the pill is decreased and very few probiotics reach their intended destination.
The best method to restore probiotics to the intestinal tract is by consuming fermented vegetables such as cabbage, daikon, carrots, celery, onions and turnips. You could ferment one type of vegetable alone or a mixture of vegetables such as kimchi. You can use a probiotic pill to ferment the vegetables. We also recommend having the fermented veggies as a replacement for salad dressing. This way, there is a better chance that good bacteria gets to your lower gut levels.