With the first day of winter rapidly approaching as well as the onset of flu season, it is heartening to know that there are natural ways to boost our immune system, protect our health and increase the health and beauty of our skin.
One of my favorite ways to do all three is with a glass of unsweetened whole milk kefir and add to it two tablespoons of super berry powder with acai, POM Wonderful (pure pomegranate extract) and/or fresh fruit. I stir it up and it looks and tastes like a rich and beautiful berry smoothie. It is the perfect way to start the day–it tastes great and is loaded with vitamins like c ester!
Kefir (kee-fer) is a fermented, probiotic milk drink from the Caucasus Mountains in the former Soviet Union. The name kefir loosely translated means “pleasure” or “good feeling.” Due to its health-promoting properties, kefir was once considered a gift from the gods. Fortunately it is being rediscovered and recognized for its many health and beauty benefits.
Kefir can best be described as a sort of liquid, sparkling yogurt, with its own distinct and deliciously mild, naturally sweet, yet tangy flavor—with a refreshing hint of natural carbonation. Its unique taste and almost mystical reputation as a longevity elixir explains why people all over Europe are making kefir (along with similar fermented drinks) their beverage of choice.
Kefir is important for many reasons, including its content of active probiotics. Probiotics, which are also found in yogurt, are live, naturally-occurring microorganisms that function internally to promote healthy digestion, boost the immune system, and contribute to overall health and well being. Probiotics have many benefits, not the least of which is this: because they are a key part of the digestive tract, the healthy bacteria of probiotics aids in the digestions of food and absorption of nutrients and minerals—all of which benefit skin health and beauty.
Probiotics also provide protection from allergens, which can be a cause of skin problems such as eczema, while also protecting the body from negative forms of bacteria, environmental toxins such as pollutants, and inflammation-inducing free radicals. Probiotics keeps down the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals by the intestinal cells. Since this is a huge surface area, inflammation produced in the gut would flood the body with pro-inflammatory chemicals; therefore a healthy gut will is anti-inflammatory and translate immediately into healthy and glowing skin, elimination of digestive problems and overall better health.
Wishing you a peaceful and prosperous holiday season.
Nicholas Perricone, MD