Integrative Health Blog

Eating the Good Bugs for a Healthy Gut

Posted by on Tue, Jan 21, 2014


Digestive health is one of the most critical pieces to obtaining and maintaining good overall health. The health of any person is directly related to the health of the bowel, as about 70% of our immunity resides in the “gut”.  Therefore, it is important to eat foods that promote a "healthy gut" and supplement with concentrated foods and sometimes herbs that clean and maintain the digestive tract and bowel.

Probiotics, Bugs with Benefits 

Probiotics are products containing living beneficial bacteria, i.e. "good bugs", which ‘colonize’ the entire lining of our intestine. The potential benefits that the bacteria living in our intestine have on our well being are only just beginning to be understood by scientists and includes the following:

  • They enable the entire digestion and absorption functions of the intestine to operate efficiently
  • They protect us from challenge and infections by potential pathogens
  • They continuously prime and condition our immune system to function properly, from the day we are born throughout our entire life.
  • They can help protect us from allergy and intolerance and can reduce the symptoms in existing sufferers.

Probiotics are found in yogurt, kefirs, fermented foods and in supplements.  Probiotics can be added to your diet and most people will benefit from probiotic supplements.

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Tags: bowel health, immune system, digestive health, probiotics

Do You Have Problems with Dairy? It's Not the Cow's Fault

Posted by on Mon, Mar 25, 2013

Real dairy is healthy and can be enjoyed by most people, but modern dairy practices have altered the type of product we now consume.

Do you enjoy dairy products but are concerned whether they are actually good for you?

Have you experienced lactose intolerance or other unpleasant side effects when eating dairy?

What if I told you, it’s not the cow’s fault- it’s the processing methods used today that may be affecting you, and that there is healthy digestible dairy out there?

The Problem with Industrialized Dairy

Dairy has received such a bad rap over the years and rightly so if we’re talking about milk, ice cream, butter and other products that you buy off the grocery shelf. These products have been so altered from the type of dairy that was enjoyed straight from the farm for many, many years and by many societies. The dairy our ancestors drank gave them great health, strong bones, vitality and longevity.

So, What Happened?

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Tags: holistic nutrition, integrative health, integrative nutrition, digestive health, probiotics

What's the Buzz About Probiotics?

Posted by on Wed, Oct 17, 2012

So what’s all the buzz about probiotics these days? Good bugs,  bad bugs, what’s the difference?

How do we get more of the "good" bugs?  Well, let’s start by looking at where the “not so good ones” come from.

A healthy body has a nice balance of microbes in the gut, but certain circumstances can cause either:

- An overgrowth of microbes that in a balanced system are harmless but out of balance they can cause dis-ease of the body

-  A decrease in the amount of good bugs decreases our  body's  ability to fight invading infectious organisms

Sadly, many of the common foods we eat and medications we use can be responsible for creating this digestive imbalance.  Some of these include:

  • Antibiotic use

  • Birth control pills

  • NSAIDS (motrin, aleve, advil)

  • Stress

  • Poor Diet

This imbalance can make your body pretty unhappy with many unpleasant symptoms such as:

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Tags: digestive health, probiotics

Make It or Buy It, But Eat It and Be Well

Posted by on Tue, Jul 10, 2012

Anita's Healthy Tips

If you live in the Washington metro area then you are all too familiar with the recent heat explosion we have had, no to mention the power outages due to last week’s storm. We were without power for 5 days at my house and so naturally we lost all the contents of our refrigerator and freezer.

Fermented Foods Are an Old Tradition

It got me to thinking that prior to the advent of refrigeration people routinely preserved their fruits and vegetables not just so that they could eat them out of season, but because they understood that fermented foods also made them healthy. Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations knew this, Europeans understand it and Asian cultures continue to ferment foods. Here in the U.S., sauerkraut is probably the most popular fermented food but most commercial preparations have been pasteurized and therefore all the beneficial bacteria have been killed off! Some have said that the relishes we use, like pickle and cucumber relish were probably originally fermented. This lost art is surely making a come back with many articles and books written on the subject like the most recent Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin.

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Tags: fermented foods, holistic nutrition, probiotics

How Probiotics Work in the Gut

Posted by on Tue, Apr 03, 2012

Good Bugs Eat Bad Bugs

The human body is an amazing biological machine.  Food is digested, converted into energy and the unusable becomes - waste.  This conversion is dependent on many factors and processes but the bacteria that create the ‘enzymes’  that help digestion take place as well as immune system protection are the most important. 

Each organ has its own unique flora or bacteria that live in the digestive organs like your stomach and intestines that contribute to its good health.  A good blend of good bacteria helps with various gastrointestinal conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome to antibiotic-induced diarrhea too.  Good bacteria, or ‘probiotics’ keep the house in order by eating the bad bacteria and increasing the good bug population which in turn increases enzyme activity, further helping digestion. 

Probiotics May Help Strengthen the Immune System

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Tags: digestive health, probiotics

Colonics May Provide Relief for Constipation

Posted by on Mon, Nov 29, 2010

Updated March 2024

Why am I constipated?

Like everything else related to your body, your constipation is a very individual thing.  In general, you become constipated because your diet does not provide enough fiber since you are not eating enough fresh green, leafy vegetables and fruit; your diet consists of highly processed, sugary, fast foods; you are not drinking enough water (juice, coffee, teas and other liquids don’t count) to keep your colon well hydrated; you do not exercise enough; you are stressed; you are holding onto toxic, negative  emotions (anger, resentment, etc.); you are taking  a prescription drug that is causing your constipation;  or any combination of these situations,  In a nutshell, there is something about your life and your lifestyle that has you “all blocked up.”

Some symptoms of constipation include:

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Tags: colon hydrotherapy, probiotics

Fetus Feeding

Posted by on Mon, Mar 29, 2010

Planning for a Healthy Pregnancy


Did you know that bacteria are a part of a healthy pregnancy?
Surely you know that women need a healthy diet and a multivitamin with additional folic acid when they are pregnant. But, were you aware that a good probiotic is essential too?
When a baby passes through the vaginal canal his/her gastrointestinal tract is sterile. The initial seeding of this tract occurs as the baby comes into contact with mom's stool (or at least microscopic remnants of it). It is essential that mom's gastrointestinal tract be colonized with beneficial bacteria to pass onto baby. Since approximately 70% of the immune system lines the gut, giving baby the proper start with beneficial bacteria helps to ensure baby's defenses.

Give Baby a Healthy Start

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Tags: pregnancy, children's health, pediatrics, probiotics, holistic doctor