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Probiotics and Antioxidants: What is what

Today's nutrition landscape is filled with advice; things you should eat, things you shouldn't, what's good, and what's not-so-good. There are reasons to advocate for and against certain ideals and all are backed by different studies and arguments. But one of the main elements of the nutrition discussion is simply: education.

Today, one of our 12L Nutrition Coaches aims to educate you on two hot topics: Probiotics and Antioxidants. Gain a basic understanding of what these things do, and why we need them.

Probiotics

Not all bacteria is created equal. In fact, your gut is filled with "good" bacteria that keeps the bad bacteria in check. This good bacteria, also known as probiotics, aids in digestion and has been found to have a positive effect on your health. Probiotics are not only important for optimal digestion but they also play a part in nutrient absorption, breaking down vitamins, and help to eliminate toxins.

Factors such as stress, diet, illness, and medications can interfere with the ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria and cause issues such as GI distress, inflammation, and a weakened immune system. Foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi are some examples of foods rich in probiotics we can add to our diet. Staying away from sugar, refined grains, and processed foods is also recommended to keep our gut flora healthy and balanced.

Antioxidants

We hear this word all the time, it seems! Antioxidants are substances (or molecules if you are into science) that help break up free radicals in our body. Free radicals can come from anywhere- the environment, what we eat, and some are produced naturally- which can be hazardous to cells within our bodies. Antioxidants are known as "free radical scavengers". They break up free radicals preventing them from causing damage to our bodies.

Some of the best and easiest ways to get antioxidants is by eating foods high in nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and selenium. More specifically, the best way to do this is by eating real, whole, foods: eat a healthy mix of colorful fruits and vegetables (berries, pepper, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, kale, and spinach to name a few) along with nuts, seeds, eggs, cheese, beef, fish, turkey, and chicken. Those are some great examples of foods rich in antioxidants that will benefit our bodies.

For this and more bits of helpful information, reach out to our 12L Nutrition staff to see how they can help you continue accomplishing your health goals.