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4 Unusual Probiotics You Need To Try

4 Unusual Probiotics You Need To Try

Probiotic rich foods are very popular among health food buffs, but have you added them to your diet?

Most adults experience a decline in these beneficial bacteria as they age, and everything from obesity to diet and use of antibiotics can also cause these bacteria to die off. That’s why it’s important to supplement our diets with probiotic rich foods – they aid in digestion, can provide a boost to the immune system, and even help with weight management.

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So where can you find probiotics? Though some prefer to get their probiotics in pill form, many focus on foods like yogurt when looking to supplement their diet – but yogurt can get boring pretty fast. Luckily, there are dozens of other foods rich in these healthy bacteria, most of which are much more flavorful than those endless cups of yogurt. Instead, consider these four unusual sources of probiotics. You’ll be thankful for the added variety and punch of flavor in these high impact foods.

1. Poi’s Powerful Properties

You’re unlikely to encounter poi anywhere outside the Hawaiian Islands, in part because there aren’t reliable ways to mass produce the food, but in Hawaii you’ll find poi available everywhere. Made from the cooked taro plant, poi varies in consistency between liquid and a thick, doughy paste, and is usually eaten with the fingers. But what really makes poi so great is that it has more probiotic bacteria than the much-touted yogurt.

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If you want to get a taste of poi, you’ll likely have to make it yourself, but luckily, taro itself is widely available in supermarkets. From there, though, you’ll have to master the cooking and fermenting process. In terms of your health, it will be well worth the effort.

2. Say “Kimchi”

Did you know that in Korea, many say “kimchi” instead of  “cheese” when taking a photo? While linguistic differences may be at play, the primary reason seems to have more to do with the venerated place of kimchi in the Korean diet.

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So what is kimchi? Kimchi is a kind of fermented cabbage product that tastes something like a spicy pickle due to the inclusion of vinegar, chili peppers, and other spices in the fermenting liquid. Not only is it a great source of the probiotic lactobacilli, but kimchi can also reduce your cholesterol levels and reduce the likelihood of stomach cancer. It really is a powerhouse of a food, and a delicious side dish at that. And if you want to add a twist, a few breweries are also experimenting with kimchi beer.

3. A Taste Of Fermented Bean Curd

Tofu took the health food world by storm many years ago, but few people outside of Asia pay attention to the incredible flavor and healthy qualities of fermented bean curd. Known alternatively as su fu or dou fu ru, the process starts by adding bacteria and mold to the tofu and then adding it to a mix of tofu, soy paste, rice wine, salt, and spices.

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It only takes a little bit of fermented bean curd to benefit from its probiotic qualities, which is why most eat it as a seasoning component in other dishes in place of salt, or as an added taste in simple porridges. This spicy, creamy version of tofu is a treat, but perhaps an acquired taste.

4. Cool Cultured Kefir

Although kefir is also dairy-based like yogurt, it’s a much more complex food, and has a more liquid-like consistency. Though it uses a similar process to yogurt, combining milk with bacterial yeast, kefir also contains something known as kefir grains that blend sugar, proteins, and fats with the bacteria. Adding a glass of kefir to your diet is a great way to get the nutritional punch of yogurt with an added tang.

Next time you’re looking for a nutritional pick-me-up with digestive benefits, consider grabbing a jar of kimchi or tossing some fermented bean curd into your next batch of quinoa. Spicy, sour, and full of probiotic bacteria, you’ll have a taste sensation on your hands and a nutrient-packed meal in your stomach.

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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