The Power of the Pickle

Many of you may have seen my Instagram post about the health benefits of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar “with the mother,” or heard me talking about its benefits around the gym. If not, then you likely have heard about Sonic’s new pickle juice slushie. Now before you turn your nose up at what might seem like an odd combination, let’s discuss the world of good bacteria known as probiotics.

Probiotics 101
Probiotics are living organisms that can provide health benefits when consumed. The benefits come from the probiotics ability to reset the natural balance of gut bacteria. Things like illness, medication, antibiotics and poor diet can alter this natural balance. An imbalance in gut bacteria usually presents itself in the form of digestive issues, allergies, obesity and even mental health issues. So, listen to your gut next time; it might be telling you something important.

The Gains
Let’s cover the benefits of probiotics. First, probiotics, when taken in sufficient amounts, can help with the severity of diarrhea. However, be careful with the amount of sodium in your probiotic of choice as too much salt can make diarrhea worse. Second, Studies from the National Center for Biotechnology have shown probiotics to help with mental disorders and mood; among these disorders include anxiety, depression, and OCD. Finally, probiotics boost the immune system by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. This list of benefits is by no means an exhaustive list; for more information the benefits of probiotics click here.

I know what you are thinking, how do I get my probiotics and not just with pickle juice. Of course, there is always the probiotic supplement that comes in liquid or pill form. However, I am an advocate of getting your micronutrients from food whenever possible. Therefore some excellent sources of healthy gut-restoring bacteria include fermented dairy products, Kefir, pickled vetebles, tempeh, miso, kimchi, Kombucha, buttermilk and some types of cheeses. Fair warning, some probiotics are destroyed by stomach acid before they ever reach the intestine. Thus, it is crucial to consume sufficient amounts of probiotics to reap the benefits.

The Last Drop
In short, probiotics are live active organisms ingested to alter the gastrointestinal tract for health benefits. The health benefits of probiotics are numerous. Studies have shown that specific probiotics can be beneficial in reducing blood pressure, decreasing cholesterol and increasing fat oxidation. Probiotics can come from many different sources like miso, sauerkraut, and other pickled or fermented foods. And while it still isn’t clear if Sonic’s new Pickle Juice Slushie has all the immune boosting power of probiotics, that shouldn’t deter you from giving it a try or making your own.

To Your Continued Success,
Coach Don


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