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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 July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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