Probiotics and Prebiotics: Listen to Your Gut!

Young woman eating yogurt, closeupThere’s been a lot of talk about probiotics those high-fiber foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms said to improve or maintain the body’s “good” garden of microflora (bacteria).

Research is ongoing, but studies have pointed to “gut health” as impacting not only the digestive system, but the immune system as well. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that consuming different strains of probiotics over an eight-week period could reduce body weight and BMI, which are two caution areas related to diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Studies at Johns Hopkins have revealed an altering of blood pressure when different gut bacteria are produced in mice, rats, and people. Good gut bacteria have also been known to help reduce allergy symptoms, inflammation, and skin issues, like acne. Experts have been looking at the effects of probiotics on mood and stress, too.

Continue reading

Black Bean Soup with Red Miso and Ginger

Traditional Brazilian cuisine (caldinho de feijão) with herbs on a green napkin and a traversed spoon metal spoon.Loaded with probiotic goodness, red miso (not white), a Japanese cooking staple made from fermented soy beans, is the star here (for more flavor and texture). At just 179 calories per serving, 34 g carbs, zero cholesterol, 4 g of total fat (none saturated), 11 g of fiber, and 9 g of protein, use this soup as a starter, or as a main meal with a salad, and whole-grain sourdough bread.

Note: Skip any added salt, as the miso is salty enough (743 mg). Monitor your salt intake that day, to stay under the recommended daily sodium limit of 2,300 mg (1,500, if you have high blood pressure).

Continue reading