(NaturalNews) With estimates that the body has 10 times more bacteria than cells (approximately 10 trillion), it becomes pretty clear that maintaining a proper bacterial balance is vital for long-term health. An important factor in that balance is plenty of probiotics (good bacteria) in order to keep the optimal balance of 85 percent good bacteria to 15 percent bad bacteria in check. These probiotic foods will help achieve just that.
Man has been fermenting vegetables for thousands of years as a way to preserve their harvest (much like pickling). However, it has been more recently accepted that fermented vegetables are not just a good preservation system but also an exceptional way to ingest high quality and live probiotics.
Consuming fermented vegetables keep bad bacteria and yeast in check, as the lactic acid producing lactobacilli in these foods alter the acidity in the intestine which helps prevent the overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria, molds, and candida.
One of the most commonly fermented vegetables is sauerkraut, which simply consists of cabbage, salt, and a culture starter if desired. However, nearly any vegetable can be fermented and can be stored for months and even years under the right conditions.
Kefir is a fermented drink that can be made from milk, water, grains, and coconut water. Although it is not a good preservation method, the fermenting of these mediums can produce a probiotic-rich beverage that is not only delicious, but also healing for the digestive system.
Consuming kefir will ensure your body is fed a wide variety of beneficial bacteria that will enhance hydration and recolonize your gut and mucous membranes. It also contains beneficial yeasts that are known to hunt down and destroy pathogenic yeasts in the body, as well as detoxify the liver and fortify the immune system.
All the ingredients you would need to make kefir are your desired liquid, small amount of sugar (not required to start dairy kefir), and a kefir starter (probiotic).
Made from sweetened tea that's been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a SCOBY, or also known as the "mother" because of its ability to reproduce), kombucha has been around for more than 2000 years. However, it didn't gain popularity in the West until recently.
Consuming kombucha will introduce a wide array of enzymes and bacterial acids that will detoxify your liver, aid in digestion, improve your joint health, and boost your immune system.
The only ingredients you need to make kombucha are black or green tea, some sugar, and a kombucha starter culture or SCOBY.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented apples and has pale to medium amber color. It can be substituted in many food preparations for white vinegar, with exponentially more health benefits.
Consuming apple cider vinegar will introduce beneficial enzymes, probiotics, and amino acids that will improve digestion, relieve heartburn, stimulate the lymphatic system, help get rid of candida, and help strengthen the immune system.
Making apple cider vinegar is a double fermentation process. First, apples are fermented and reduced to cider, and then the cider is fermented to create apple cider vinegar.
With all these foods, one can expect to introduce beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and a host of highly digestible vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. This will effectively clean up the digestive system, which will in turn strengthen the immune system as well.
These foods just may be the cheapest and best form of healthcare.
About the author: Derek Henry, B.Kin, is a highly revered holistic health coach and world renowned natural health blogger and educator who created Healing the Body to help people understand the fundamental principles to exceptional health so they can overcome their own health challenges.