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Make Your Own Probiotics: DIY, Super Easy Gut Health

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On a recent foray to my local health food store to find some powerful probiotics I endured a little sticker shock. A one month supply of probiotics was going to cost me from $30 to $79 dollars. I care a lot about my health, but spending almost $1000 bucks annually on a single food supplement isn’t going to work for me, especially when I can make my own probiotics, which just happen to be way better, for about $2 a month. You can too.

The bacteria in our bodies equals the number of cells we have. We are like a walking biodome for trillions of these living creatures. If we don’t take care of our microbiota, then our health truly suffers.

If bad bacteria take over our guts, we are likely to develop chronic gut inflammation that can lead to depression, heart disease, joint pain, obesity, more frequent colds and flu, and even neurodegenerative diseases. No thanks!

Colonizing the gut with probiotics is super important, but these live bacteria and yeasts which live in our digestive systems can be placed there by the foods we eat – and sauerkraut is one of the easiest, cheapest, most probiotic-friendly foods on the planet. We don’t need to pay a small fortune to get our probiotics in pill form.

Here are just a few things that our good gut bacteria do for us:

  • Help to metabolize sugars, carbohydrates, and proteins
  • Are involved with vitamin production
  • Help us to absorb vital minerals we need
  • Help us detox substances which are harmful like pesticides and heavy metals
  • Prohibit many diseases from forming in the body

Bad gut bacteria do the following:

  • Release endotoxins, causing us to become “polluted”
  • Cause us to want to eat bad foods like simple carbs and sugars to feed them
  • Increase fat storage and obesity
  • Cause inflammation
  • Drive other non-beneficial metabolic changes

Why Fermented Foods Are Way Better than Probiotic Capsules

Here’s why this single natural fermented food, sauerkraut, is a trillion times better than probiotic capsules:

Probiotic supplements usually contain approximately 10 billion colony-forming units per capsule – a single 1/2 cup serving of fermented vegetables contain 10 TRILLION colony-forming healthy bacteria!

Using the process of natural fermentation, we can create our own healthy bacteria in our guts. This is because all organic fruits and vegetables and the dust and soil they come from (assuming they haven’t been doused in agricultural chemicals like pesticides and non-organic fertilizers) are covered in Lactobacilli. If we use cabbage as an example, for the easiest vegetable fermentation process – we hardly need to do anything to it to get these natural healthy bacterial colonies to grow – because they are already there!

How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut

Ingredients:

Organic red or green savoy cabbage

Salt

A large glass mason jar

A wooden spoon

Optional –  add chilli peppers, carrots, garlic, celery, cauliflower, herbs, peppercorns, etc. to change the flavor of your sauerkraut

First, get your organic red or green cabbage, and chop up the leaves. You will need to add a ½ teaspoon of organic sea salt (Himalayan or other) to stop putrefactive bacteria from growing.

If you are adding vegetables other than cabbage, you will want to grate them so that they look like coleslaw.

The Lactobacillus will begin to multiply on their own and produce lactic acid. This is a powerful natural antiseptic. It kills off unhealthy microbes in the cabbage, and it will do the same in our bodies when we consume it. This also allows us to store (unopened) sauerkraut for up to six years without it spoiling or rotting. Once it is in your fridge and you are eating on it daily, you can expect it to last about two weeks.

Set the cabbage and salt mixture aside temporarily. The salt will start to cause some of the juice of the cabbage to come out. You can add about ¼ cup of cold water to your cabbage and salt mixture if you want to help this process along.

Once you have allowed the cabbage/salt/water (and optional vegetables) mixture to sit for about ten to twenty minutes you can simply start to pack the mixture into your large glass mason jar. You want to pack it in as much as you can so that the liquid covers the cabbage leaves completely. You also want to get as much of the air out as you can and allow the juices to submerge all the solid contents.

You can pack until you are near the top of the jar, and then use one cabbage leaf to cover the top to help the mixture stay in its own juices. You want it to be submerged so that it can ferment properly.

This mixture will then simply sit at room temperature for a little over a week. You can taste it daily to check for sourness, and when it reaches a level that pleases your taste buds, simply pop it in the fridge. This acts as a “hold” on the fermentation process. The more sour you can handle your sauerkraut, though, the better, because this indicates a higher level of beneficial bacteria have grown.

It’s this simple!

Just one word of caution. Start eating your sauerkraut in small doses, because all those healthy bacteria can cause the die-off of unhealthy bacteria in your gut, causing a Herxheimer reaction, otherwise known as a healing crisis. This can be felt in the form of nausea, headaches, skin eruptions, diarrhea, and more. If you go slow, and acclimate your body, the die-off is less severe, as it is spread over time. Once your gut health is restored, you can eat sauerkraut everyday if you like, building from 1-2 teaspoons to ½ cup daily.

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Health

Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People

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The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.

Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.

Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.

Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.

Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.

“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.

In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”

“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say

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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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Health

Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact

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Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.

And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.

Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.

Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.

Death Toll, by Percent of Population

In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.

Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.

The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.

Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.

History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning

While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.

In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.

What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?

Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics

Republished from ZH with permission.

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