While our intestinal bacteria can withstand a lot, stress, poor diet (one high in sugar, alcohol and processed foods) and numerous medications (especially antibiotics) can cause an imbalance of bacteria and weaken the immune system. Probiotics can help you get back on track and feeling better faster.
What Are Probiotics and What Do They Do?
The digestive track naturally contains “good” or “friendly” bacteria. These beneficial bacteria help digestion, the absorption of nutrients as well as the synthesis of vitamin B12. Probiotics are the edible forms of these friendly bacteria that help to keep the gut flora healthy and in balance while supporting the immune system.
Food Sources with Probiotics
It’s a good idea to choose food sources with probiotics such as fermented dairy foods (yogurt and kefir products and bacterially cultured cheeses), kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts. Probiotics are heat sensitive as they are live cultures, so avoid cooking these foods to utilize their nutritional benefit.
The following is a simple recipe for a Greek yogurt sauce called Tzatziki. Tzatziki is often served with grilled meats or makes the perfect appetizer dip!
Yields~ 1½ cups
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 English cucumber, seeded, finely grated and drained
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Chill.
- For some extra flavor, add some olive oil and some coarsely chopped fresh mint.
- Serve with crudities at your next party. Brush a pita with some olive oil and sprinkle za’atar (an herb mix) on top.
- Bake in the oven until crispy and serve with the Tzatziki sauce.