Probiotics balance gut bacteria

Good Mood Food – Naturally Healthy Probiotics

I love pickled food, and the more sour and vinegar-y, the better. I secretly crave pickled beets, and a salad isn’t a salad without them.

Sauerkraut? Love it. Especially with a meaty sausage and tangy mustard. Pickled herring was a favorite of my dad’s growing up, so I learned to appreciate that early on.

These days, there’s so much talk about yeast and candida contributing to all sorts of pesky digestion problems. Most of these problems happen because stress, antibiotics, or a diet full of processed foods upsets the balance of healthy bacteria in our bodies.

Eating a small portion of some sort of pickled or fermented food every day helps repopulate the ‘beneficial’ bacteria, so normal digestive functions have a fighting chance.

Eating that pickle next to your restaurant hamburger could help you avoid an upset stomach, gas, bloating, diarrhea, reflux, or heartburn later tonite.

Try it!

My friend Jennifer Wilford, a self-described ‘real food advocate’, taught me all the great reasons to eat fermented foods, during a class she taught a few years ago.

Jennifer explained that pickling is not only coming back into vogue, it’s also an old-fashioned way to introduce natural probiotics into your diet. A couple generations ago, this was common knowledge.

I won’t share all Jennifer’s secrets, but she did share that the process of pickling, which is pretty darn easy by the way, encourages the growth of a plethora of gut-friendly bacteria – especially lactobacillus. Try saying that three times fast!

And get this: because a huge majority of immune system action happens in the gut, a larger colony of friendly bacteria down there can even improve your protection from illnesses going around this winter.

Take that, latest viral contagion!!

Guess what else happens in the gut? Most of your body’s seratonin is made there – a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. Improve your mood just by eating a little condiment-sized serving of sauerkraut. If you’re salt sensitive, try kefir, yogurt, kombucha, sourdough bread, or sour cream. Read more about the effect of stress on your digestion in this oldie-but-goodie  November 2012 newsletter I wrote.

Holistic health doesn’t have to be complicated. It can even save you money, when you replace expensive bottled digestive enzymes and probiotics with natural, whole foods like cabbage and beets.

Want to know how to ferment your own foods at home? Jennifer recommended Fermented by Jill Ciciarelli [here’s a link –].

As an herbalist, I like to pair probiotics with herbs for clients suffering from chronic yeast and urinary tract infections. Herbs, along with tasty, natural, probiotic foods can help you avoid the side effects of antibiotic use, such as loose stools and yeast infections.

I told you my secret craving. What’s yours? Leave a comment or email me at


Herbalist Mo