With every passing decade, the importance of good health is catching up well within the masses. People these days are becoming more and more aware of the reasons to stay fit and healthy. Also, there is a growing awareness on the importance of good digestion on our overall health and wellbeing. And it is this awareness that have given rise to the demands of related health products and supplements.
One such product that was once introduced into the market as a functional ingredient in dairy and other food products like cereals and breads have now been the most sought after health product – probiotics.
What do probiotics do?
Most of us who take probiotics as a drink or food supplement does it for the sole purpose of digestive health. Actually if we look at the bigger picture and how probiotics work, you will know that probiotics helps in increasing the colonization of good bacteria in our intestines and stops the proliferation of damage causing bad bacteria.
The optimal microbial flora (colonization of good microorganisms that includes bacteria, fungi and other) in our intestine is responsible not only for better digestion but also promotes better immunity and our overall health.
How do they help in our wellbeing?
A human body is a mix of good and bad bacteria and these bacteria can be found everywhere in our body – mouth, eyes, intestine or the gut and even the skin. Each of these area specific bacterial colonies have distinct role to play and some of the important ones are:
- Better the body’s immune function
- Protect against hostile and harmful bacteria to prevent any infection to happen in the body
- Nourishes the body with valuable by-products
- Improve digestion of foods and its absorption along with its nutrients by assisting the digestive system
What more can we expect from probiotics?
Probiotics helps in increasing the number of good bacteria against the bad ones so that they can be outnumbered and a protective barrier is created between the good and the bad ones.
There are certain elements that causes imbalance in this bacterial equilibrium like antibiotics and similar stuff. These substances kill all – good and bad bacteria and thereby it further causes health problems like gas, indigestion and even diarrhea. Having probiotics on a regular basis can help in the prevention and treatment of many such conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Diarrhea, Ulcers and also Crohn’s Disease (an inflammatory bowel disease).
Where to get these Probiotics from?
Fermented food, processed and cured dairy products are good sources of probiotics. These probiotics either occurs naturally in certain foods or are being added during its preparation. Some great food sources of naturally occurring probiotics are:
- Yoghurt: One of the best sources and also good for people who have lactose intolerance.
- Kefir: A fermented milk drink product and is better in term of the bacteria as compared to yoghurt.
- Kimchi: A spicy Korean recipe made from fermented cabbage.
- Miso: A Japanese popular delicacy is very good for women and made from fermented soybean paste.
- Pickles: These are cut cucumber that have been fermented in salty water.
- Indian Buttermilk: A fermented dairy drink.
- Certain cheeses like cheddar cheese, Gouda and mozzarella are good probiotics sources.
These days with advancement in technology and research Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements in various forms like health drinks, powders in sachets, capsules and tablets.
Probiotics can and must be consumed to prevent against a lot of diseases and to promote good overall health and wellbeing. They have been consumed in diets for many years. There is no doubt that there are potential health benefits of eating foods with probiotics. However, more researches are being conducted to solidify and ascertain the claims. The best right now is to keep having them, they won’t hurt and will only help.
By: Dr. Prakash Chandra Bhatt.