The Unexpected Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics are something that we all have in our body and most of us have heard of. There’s been a great deal written about the microbiome (of which probiotics are a part), and there’s a great deal of ongoing research investigating their benefit. These microscopic organisms, “friendly” bacteria, can help regulate our bowels and our digestive patterns, improve nutrient use in our gut, boost our immune system, fight off pathogens in our gut, and help with depression and mood regulation… just to name a few!

There’s one strain that is of particular interest for us here at 120/Life. I’ll get to that in a moment.

First off, it's important to realize that although these ‘friendly” bacteria naturally make up an integral part of us, the amount of these bacteria strains found in our bodies can sometimes fall to very unhealthy levels. This is often due to extended and/or frequent use of antibiotics/acid reflux meds, improper dieting, and stress. Furthermore, this drop in our probiotic population may put our gastrointestinal, immune, mental, general health, and blood pressure at a higher risk for health issues over time.

Wait, did I just include blood pressure in my last sentence?

Yes, I did!

There have been several studies looking at the inclusion of a particular strain of probiotic called Lactobacillus Helveticus. Some preliminary research appears to associate it with a reduction in blood pressure without negative side effects. It also appears to be essential to the promotion of good health in many other ways (including but not limited to those listed above in our first paragraph).

It does so much good. How can you incorporate it into your diet?

It’s smart to fortify your microbiome and to also include Lactobacillus Helveticus in that fortification. Here’s a list of some of the foods that contain this particular bacterium.

NOTE: I’ve bolded and *starred the ones to avoid except in small amounts (considering the need to manage our sodium intake).

L. Helveticus is found primarily in dairy and in fermented food products. Here are some of them along with their sodium content:

  • Milk: 105-120mg sodium/cup
  • Kefir: 80-150mg sodium/cup (FYI, some people with lactose intolerance can tolerate Kefir)
  • Buttermilk: 127mg sodium/.5 cup
  • Cheddar: 174mg sodium/1oz
  • Mozzarella low sodium: 4mg sodium/1oz
  • Swiss: 74mg sodium/1oz
  • Gruyere: 95mg sodium/1oz
  • Emental: 86mg sodium/1oz
  • Parmesan: 76mg sodium/Tblspn
  • *Pickles: 447mg sodium/1 small
  • *Olives: 250mg-500mg sodium/10 small
  • Sauerkraut: 235mg sodium/ .25cup drained
  • Kombucha tea: 10mg sodium/cup
  • *Kimchi: 747mg sodium/cup
  • *Umeboshi plums: 690mg/1 plum
  • *Miso paste: 246mg sodium/tsp

*Avoid except in small amounts

Try incorporating some of these in into your daily diet while keeping your own appropriate sodium content front of mind. There are supplements available that are specifically for L. Helveticus, as well as supplements that are broad spectrum probiotics.

At this point in the research journey, if you’re considering supplementation, I would suggest a good broad spectrum probiotic along with the incorporation of some of the foods listed above, to assist you in increasing your intake of L. Helveticus.

We’ll keep you updated as we keep our eyes open for new research on this promising topic!

Here’s to your health!

P.S. We strongly recommend that you check with your medical practitioner before taking any supplements.

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