Outsmart Tummy Troubles with These Foods!

Tummy troubles? Always tired? A bacterial overgrowth may be to blame!

A bacteria called helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) can cause tiredness, GI problems and more. It attaches to the wall of the stomach and weakens its lining, hindering nutrient absorption and allowing gastric acid to damage the digestive tract. The result: abdominal pain, bloat, nausea and fatigue. Sufferers often attribute these symptoms to other causes, so the infection goes untreated and life-disrupting symptoms remain, explains Jerome F. Levine, M.D., division chief of infectious diseases at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

Simple remedies that keep H.pylori in check and energy levels high:

Natural gut antibiotic: GARLIC. Studies conducted at Seattle's Bastyr University and elsewhere reveal that allicin, a potent bacteria-fighting compound found in garlic, inhibits H.pylori growth by up to 90%. The proven dose: two raw cloves daily. (Studies suggest that allicin in garlic supplements isn't as effective.) Try topping salads and cooked dishes with grated or chopped garlic for an antibacterial edge.

Natural gut antibiotic: BROCCOLI SPROUTS. Eating broccoli sprouts significantly reduces H.pylori levels, say researchers at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University. They contain sulforaphane glucosinolate, which the body converts into the powerful bactericide sulforaphane. Plus, broccoli sprouts reduce the infection-caused gastric inflammation that brings on pain and bloat. Other sulforaphane-packed foods: broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts.

Natural gut antibiotic: YOGURT. Probiotic bacteria rebalance levels of friendly flora in the GI tract, forcing out H.pylori, says Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., coauthor of IBS for Dummies (Wiley,2005). And eating yogurt containing live and active cultures is an easy way to populate the body with these beneficial organisms, says Dean. In fact, eating two 8 oz. servings of yogurt containing the probiotic strains Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus daily suppresses H.pylori infections within six weeks, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. One brand with the infection-fighting strains: Stonyfield Farm.

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