Pre and Probiotics: kesako ?
You may have noticed that I am very much into bacteria recently and that I like to speak that weird scientific language including names like microbiome, dysbiosis, symbiosis, fermentation, prebiotics, probiotics... And my recent trip with Zendium to a two-days conference on oral health and the role of bacteria did only increase my interest in the topic. We spent a whole weekend learning new things from experts and it truly was interesting !
I consequently wanted to share here a bit more details about what I am starting to understand and how I include bacteria in my daily life so it can start to make sense to you too. Enjoy the reading and feel free to share your thoughts in comments...
Did you know that we are in fact 100 times more made of bacteria than human cells?
We are in some way a big living bacterium! And the largest microbiomes (i.e. the aggregate of microorganism like bacteria) are to be found in our guts and in our mouth. Our mouth, for example, has 100 billion bacteria that is the same number of stars in our galaxy.
Bacteria are everywhere, in large amount and not every bacterium is a good one, but some are beneficial to our health. What we want is to boost the good ones (called probiotics) and prevent from keeping the bad ones. When we manage to do so we say our microbiome is in symbiosis, and when it isn’t, we say it is in dysbiosis. That is when things can get wrong, and when we start seeing signs of imbalances like autoimmune diseases and inflammation, allergies, neurological disorders, cancers... and even anxiety! Researchers of the University of Cork in Ireland have found out that bacterial levels in the gut impacted our gene regulators playing themselves a fundamental role in anxiety illnesses. Our guts truly are our second brain!
So, it is pretty simple to understand that keeping our microbiome in good health (aka in symbiosis) is important and that the “sanitize everything” isn’t the way to go. Pasteurized food, sanitizing products are not beneficial to our health in our daily lives. Quite the opposite, we want to introduce and keep in balance the good bacteria (probiotics) and keep feeding them with prebiotics i.e. substances in food we cannot digest and that probiotics use for energy (like fibers).
Pre and Probiotics can be found in many forms and in many things:
Some everyday foods: like garlic, leeks, bananas, artichoke, asparagus (prebiotics)
Fermented food (probiotics): like kombucha, bread (yeast), miso, smoked salmon, yogurts and cheese (non-pasteurized)
Pills (pre and probiotics): remain aware that 100g of fermented food is equivalent to 166 pills of prebiotics.
And even toothpaste!
Maintaining a continual presence of these probiotics may require repeatedly re-introducing them, so i started to look at my habits and started to introduce pre and probiotics in my every routine. Starting with brushing my teeth.
Ways I found to introduce them in my daily life:
While brushing my teeth...
I am a yoga teacher and I do look after my body but what about my mouth ? Zendium made me understand the importance of looking at our mouth with as much care than we do for our body.
Even more than when we think of microbiome in our body, we often focus on the microbiome of our guts but barely of our mouth. There has been growing evidence on the link between a good oral health and decreased risk of chronic diseases (especially when considering the role of gums diseases on diabetes, pneumonia for example). Zendium prebiotic toothpaste is targeting these issues, and I was happy to finally know that there was a way to look after our mouth health without having to mouth wash every day with a fermented drink like kombucha ☺.
They created a toothpaste made of natural enzymes and proteins that play a prebiotic role to promote symbiosis in our mouth microbiome. If you try it you will see it is quite different from the regular toothpaste as it has a mild flavor, meaning despite you don’t get the minty fresh feeling, you can drink a glass of orange juice right after with no aftertaste. In addition, it contains no SLS i.e. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which is a chemical used in some toothpastes to create the foaming action and that is often linked with canker sores, skin irritation and that also is toxic for the environment. This has become my new to go toothpaste ! If you wish to know more about it I invite you to check their webpage (www.zendium.com) and instagram (@zendium).
2. Cooking fermented food...
I got to attend a workshop back in March on fermented food with a lovely duo of ladies called Marine (check her on IG @greenmarienaturo), the naturopath and Shira (@shirabioparis), the chef. Fermented food is a great way to eat probiotics. Like any fermented thing it takes time to produce, but once it is done you can keep it for a while and enjoy all its benefits. I won’t reveal here the recipes they shared with us, but if you have time to attend one of their workshops I would strongly recommend. Check also on the internet you have lots of free recipes to try.
3. My favorite fermented drink: Kombucha
I have always loved Kombucha but always found it was an expensive habit to have as I would buy 2 bottles a week and one 1L bottle would generally costs around 6EUR. So my boyfriend and I decided to produce our own. And I must say it is a success! We purchased everything online and it took us time to gather everything but I recently got in contact with an English lady who created kits to start your own kombucha (including Mother Kombucha aka the scoby). It is called Sorsa Kombucha. I am sure this kit will save you some time and efforts. The kit includes all advices and recipes you need to know.