In our Greenville chiropractic office, we always talk about the importance of the brain and spinal cord, but another area of your body houses a very large portion of your nervous system and may not naturally come to mind for many people. The enteric nervous system, or "second brain" as it is often called, is found within the lining of your digestive system and contains about 500 million nerve cells (close to the same number found in your spinal cord).
Outside of regular chiropractic care, another way to nurture the health of your "second brain" is by creating a healthy digestive environment. You may have heard of probiotics before, and today we are going to talk about why they are so important to your overall health. There are approximately 100 trillion (yes, 100 trillion. that's 10 million times 10 million. or 100,000,000,000,000!) bacteria cells in your intestines alone. In a healthy environment, the good bacteria benefit you in a variety of ways which include aiding in digestion, metabolism, and the creation of certain vitamins. On top of that, the conditions that allow these good bacteria to thrive also help to ward off harmful bacteria - enter probiotics. In their various forms, probiotics help improve your gut health by introducing healthy bacteria to your digestive system.
Yogurt is often advertised as being a probiotic, which it is, but there are many better and more concentrated sources available. Among those are kefir, sauerkraut (or other fermented foods), kombucha, and even high quality supplements available at health food stores. Kefir is one of our favorite probiotics because it is so easy to make.
Here is all you need:
Milk kefir grains (which are available for purchase here or for free from someone you know who makes kefir) A few clean mason jars with plastic lids (you can't use metal) A nylon mesh strainer (again, no metal) Milk (raw milk or organic whole milk is best)
Pour the desired amount of milk into a mason jar. We use 2 cups of milk, but the only limit is the size of your jar. Add the kefir grains to the milk. A teaspoon is enough for 2 cups, but use more for a larger volume of milk. Set the plastic lid on the jar, but do not screw it tight. Wait about a day. During this time the bacteria in the grains feed on the lactose in the milk to produce the kefir. You will know its ready when the milk takes on the consistency of thin yogurt. Get another jar and use your nylon strainer to strain the kefir into the new jar, leaving behind the grains. Tightly screw a lid onto this jar, and store the finished kefir in the refrigerator. You can reuse the grains to make your next batch.
Now that you have your kefir, you can consume it however you like. Many people just drink it plain, but you can also flavor it with fruit or use it as the base for a delicious smoothie (our personal favorite). Check out this post from our office facebook page for a great smoothie recipe.
The best part of the kefir-making process is that your grains will last as long as you properly care for them and feed them milk. They will even grow in size and quantity so that you can pass some along to your family and friends. So kick start your gut health by grabbing some kefir grains and giving it a shot. And feel free to come by the office if you have any questions because we would love to help!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Greenville chiropractic office at (864) 640-4096 or fill out our contact form.