There is a famous quote saying “You are what you eat.” Today’s generation is obsessed with a slim figure, fat to fit, six packs abs, various diet plans and much more. However, it boils down to one thing, i.e., eating healthy food. The Harvard healthy eating pyramid represents nutritional science which signifies the importance of food for our body in ascending order, i.e., base order constitutes proteins & plant-sourced fats which signifies healthy foodstuffs; refined carbohydrates, packaged or processed foods. Red meat is on the upper end signifying to consume sparingly
Recently it is found that probiotics constitute the significant part of healthy living as it provides numerous health benefits. The word Probiotic is derived from two Greek words namely Pro: Promotion and Bio- life. It means ‘Promoting Life’ to our health. Probiotic are bacteria that constitute our digestive system. They help in absorbing nutrients, production of specific vitamins & minerals. They are also used to fight off infections in our body and confers many more benefits which are still unknown. It gives you a healthy gut & thus a healthy body.
Here, listed few reasons how probiotics are beneficial for our body & why is it essential to add to our balanced diet.
Maintains Gut Health
Our Gut is a reservoir for millions of bacteria. These bacteria are both good bacteria and harmful bacteria which live in harmony. It is estimated that there are ten times more good bacteria in our body then our cells. However due to some reason if there is an imbalance of bacteria various diseases are surfaced, and their etiology is unknown. Hence to maintain the balance of Gut probiotics are consumed. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, probiotics are given with Antibiotic Associated Diarrhoea, as antibiotics trigger the imbalance of good bacteria leading to diarrhea.
Improves Immune System
Can you specify which organ has the immune system? It is difficult to point out the organ, but an astounding 80% of our immune system is in our gut.
Various idiopathic diseases such as psoriasis, autism, fatigue, joint pain & thyroid imbalances, etc. originate through the gut. Digestive health affects our physiological system of our body. Hence it is essential to have enough of probiotics in our gut to avoid such illness.
Other Gastrointestinal Illness
Probiotic therapy helps to reduce the symptoms of various gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel diseases. Specific probiotics like bifid bacterium & Lactobacillus strains are known to alleviate mild Crohns Disease
Calcium Deposition in Bones
Postmenopausal women suffer from osteoporosis (calcium loss from bones) very often, hence intake of probiotic leads to better calcium absorption as well as bone calcium accretion leading to better bone mineral density.
Just Like gastrointestinal system vagina also has some amount of good bacteria which offers protection to the vagina. Usually, Lactobacillus strain produces an acidic environment which makes it difficult for harmful bacteria to survive and thus rendering protection from them. However, due to some illness or disorder, these probiotics are disturbed which causes “bacterial vaginosis.” Therefore a probiotic therapy confers proper health of vagina.
Helps in Weight Loss
Yes, it is good news for all weight losing guys, you can lose your weight by consuming rich organic probiotic food. One of the methods known is, it can help in absorption of dietary fats in the intestine which will aid in weight loss, or it can make you feel fuller leading to less storage of fats. Some studies have proven that it helped in reduction of belly fat as well.
However, it does not imply that all the strains are useful in weight loss as some strains are also valuable for weight gain. Hence, it is necessary to choose probiotic with proper consultation for weight loss.
Protects Heart Health
Probiotic are known to break down fatty acids. Certain strains reduce cholesterol by breaking the bile in the gut which aids in digestion. Breaking bile secretion prevents it reabsorbing in stomach & entering blood as cholesterol. Thus it is serving as an essential factor to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood, and therefore it prevents atherosclerosis. Some studies also say that it is known to lower blood pressure to some extent.
Protects from Allergies
Probiotics are present with us since our first breath as we get those from our mother’s body after delivery. Hence pregnant ladies should consume probiotics to pass its benefit to her child. Studies have also revealed that consumption of probiotics during pregnancy leads to 50 % lesser allergy incidence in children.
Improves Mental Health
Our Gut is also called our 2nd brain. Disorders such as depression, autism, anxiety & stress are common problems these days. Hence if the gut flora is balanced, it could improve mental health as well.
Function of Probiotics in our overall health
Better Absorption: It absorbs Vit B 12, fatty acids, glucose & certain minerals
Productions of certain vitamins: Probiotics produce vitamin K, specific enzymes & B complex Vitamins
Modulation: It modulates immune systems, bile secretion & inflammatory response.
It is the well-understood of the role Probiotics in our day to day life, but how to get on our dining table is also essential.
List of Food Containing Probiotics :
It is an axiom for probiotic food. The yogurt from sheep, cow & goat has all beneficial probiotics in it. The best probiotics could be the one where the animals are grass fed. It is one of the most common foods probiotic with live cultures of probiotics. Some probiotic strain found in yogurt is Streptococcus, Lactobacillus & Bifid bacterium.
It is milk like product with a tart & resembles yogurt in taste & flavor. Kefir is made from yeast & bacteria (kefir grain), and it is sour. Lactose intolerance people can also consume it. It has 10 to 35 strains of probiotics & besides benefiting as probiotic it has high amount of Vit A & D
It is a dish that is made with a fermented cabbage consisting vitamins, minerals and probiotic culture. It is a natural source of lactic acid bacteria, Lactobacillus. Sauerkraut also contains vitamin C which helps to get rid of digestive problems like leaky gut, constipation or diarrhea.
It is a famous Japanese dish made from fermented Soybeans. It can be used with any palatable ingredient & consumed as soup. It has the rich source of probiotic, rich source of minerals and also some phytonutrients and antioxidants. Japanese often start their meal with a bowl of thick probiotic cultured Miso soup.
It is a Korean derived dish with main ingredient Chinese cabbage hence also known as the cousin to Sauerkraut. It was discovered thousands of years when people used to store vegetables for 3-4 days during harsh winters. Kimchi is easy to prepare as it requires cabbage, carrots, red pepper flakes & other spices which need to be kept 3-4 days for fermentation. The name is derived from Lacto Bacillus Kimchi
Natto is one of the famous dishes that is prepared in Japan. It constitutes one of the essential probiotic strain Bacillus Subtilis which is an immunomodulation (boost immune system) and aids in the digestion of K2. Natto is also known to have high source of protein obtained from plants
Raw cheese is packed with probiotics such as thermopiles, bifido & acidophilus. Cheese prepared from milk derived from sheep & goat is very beneficial. Pasteurized cheese has less to offer than raw cheese.
If due to some reason it is impossible to consume the above listed probiotic food one can always get probiotics in supplement form.
It is necessary to ensure specific things when buying supplements:
Look for a label which has a genus name, a species name, and its strain. If a probiotic has all these present in it, then you can very well purchase it. But if there is no specific name for bacteria it should be avoided.
Yes, the marketers are coming up with a various dried probiotic culture which is of little use, hence go for capsule or liquid suspension which have viable cultures of probiotics.
High CFU Count
Colony forming units (CFU) means each viable strain must be in top counts. Purchase a probiotic supplement rich in CFUs. They are available from 15 billion to 200 billion CFUs
Strain variability: Purchase a probiotic which has at least 10 – 20 strains of bacteria
Survival factor: As the culture is live & viable they have to be passed through the gut to be effective. A culture which can be killed by stomach acid is of no use. Hence choose a stronger culture which can survive gut acids
The top product which is a barrier for probiotics efficacy:
- Rampant use of Antibiotics.
- Fluoridated & chlorinated water.
- Tap water.
- Stress (Emotional Disturbance).
- Chemicals & medications.
Thus our physical & mental health depends upon our Gut health and Probiotics can improve our Gut health.