by Sue Becker
“…He who lives in you is greater than he who lives in the world.” I John 4:4
This verse comes immediately to mind as I study the magnitude of the incredible “army” we have within us. The apostle, John, reminds us that though we will be confronted regularly by many opposing spirits in the world, the Spirit that lives within is greater, and will overcome these “enemies”. In the same way, our physical bodies are constantly being exposed to bacteria or “germs” living in the world around us. Bacteria are everywhere and they out number us significantly. In fact, there are more bacteria both in and on us than there are people on the earth. Thankfully, we have an ally!
The more I study the role of fiber in our gut, the more I learn of the importance of this “army within”. In our intestines live about 10 trillion bacteria, most of which work night and day to inhibit the growth of the disease causing organisms we encounter daily.
Therefore, it is important to take the necessary steps to keep this “army” supplied.
“Who Are These Guys And Where Do They Come From?”
The human intestinal tract is normally populated by millions of bacteria and yeast. Some are good, and some are potentially bad. In the right balance, however, all provide a beneficial function in the digestive process of food.
In this process, the lactic acid producing organisms known as our “friendly bacteria”, keep potentially harmful organisms under control. As the undigested fiber moves to the large intestine to be eliminated, the bacteria there begin to feed on the undigested fiber. Fiber, from foods, such as whole grains, is necessary food for our gut bacteria. Vitamin K, as well as numerous B vitamins, are produced as byproducts of this digestive process. These nutrients are absorbed through the walls of the large intestine to be used by the body.
This relationship is critical to the health of our bodies, in that we can not obtain enough B vitamins from the food we eat. We depend on this “free supplement” supplied by our gut bacteria. We are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made”. (Psalm 139:14)
Unfortunately, Americans have a problem. A healthy gut environment depends on our ingesting naturally fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut. These foods are fermented or “cultured” by the action of lactic acid bacteria. Eating these foods on a daily basis helps to restore proper balance of “good” bacteria to our colon. However, America is one of the only people groups in the world that does not have a fermented food as part of our ethnic diet.
The extensive use of antibiotics in our country also plays a role in destroying not only the disease causing bacteria but the friendly bacteria as well. As a result this delicate balance is disrupted and an overgrowth of disease causing bacteria, as well as yeast, takes place.
Most of us do not realize what a significant role this “army within” plays in our immune systems response. Their battle for domination in our guts protects us from invasion and overgrowth of the many harmful bacteria and viruses we come in contact with everyday.
Not only does this army fight off our “enemies”, but they also aid in digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and produce numerous vitamins and antibodies.
The importance of adding cultured foods, such as yogurt, to our diets can not be stressed enough. Replenishing as well as feeding gut bacteria must be done on a daily basis. Real bread is a great source of the necessary fiber to feed the army and yogurt or kefir is a great source of good bacteria to replenish the troops.
Yogurt is never mentioned by name in the Bible, yet many scholars believe that the Hebrew words for butter and curds are our modern day yogurt. Since the earliest days of the Israelites, sour or curdled milk was mixed with honey, flavored with dates, raisins, grapes or other fruit or nuts.
Similarly, yogurt or kefir can easily be included in one’s diet today. Sweetened with honey and flavored with a favorite fruit yogurt can serve as a side dish or blended with frozen fruit for a delicious smoothie. Supplementing with a good probiotic is an excellent idea for all of us, but especially for those who can not tolerate dairy. Which is why we are pleased to carry the dairy free, gluten free probiotic by NuFerm.