There has been a lot of discussions in recent years about the importance of a healthy bowel as the good bacteria in our bowel forms the basis of our whole immunity. Even autoimmune diseases such as MS or eczema have been found to have a link with lower levels of good bacteria. There is also a link between our bowel and brain (brain-gut axis), so a healthy bowel really does form the basis of our overall health, both physical and mental.
Sugar, starch and gluten are the biggest problems when trying to achieve, or maintain a healthy bowel. The only way to balance the situation is through diet, a no grain low carbohydrate diet. You can strengthen the effect by adding probiotics to your diet. As it is very unlikely that yoghurts with added probiotics actually contain any live probiotics, we usually ensure a healthy bowel by eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or cheese and other products made with unpasteurised milk. Even just a few spoonfuls of sauerkraut contain enough probiotics, so there is no need for any probiotic pills.
Fermented products have always been a part of food in many parts of the world as fermenting is a natural way to prevent food from going off in the past with no fridge to use. Natural fermentation, lactofermentation, a process in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch create lactic acid, preserves the food and all the nutrients, and creates many beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, omega 3-fatty acids and many different strains of probiotics. Fizzy drinks used to be done by fermenting. Good old fashioned ginger beer is a great example and even bread was safer to eat as baking included soaking, sprouting and fermenting the grains before using them.
Many delicious fermented foods like Sauerkraut or Kimchi are still widely used in many cultures even though not so known in the UK or America anymore. Even so, the importance of probiotics are known as there are many branded products in the shelves of most shops, such as many yoghurts or juices (that usually contain sugar), but unfortunately they usually only contain one type of bacteria that has most likely have disappeared by the time the product is bought. If you can find good Kefir or yoghurt, they can be very beneficial, but if you try to make them yourself, even better!
Another problems for bowel health is carrageenan which is a food additive used to thicken or emulsify foods. There seems to be several studies that prove how harmful carrageenan is as it causes bowel problems, inflammation, ulceration and bleeding, and that way weaker immunity, and even cancer, especially if consumed regularly. As many products, even organic products contain carrageenan, it really is worth reading those labels carefully when doing your shopping.
To maintain healthy bowel we try make our own sauerkraut especially during the cold season in Winter. It is delicious, better than anything brought from a shop.