Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial in maintaining good health. The body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are bacteria that are beneficial as they promote a good and healthy digestive system. They also bring with them several benefits that are linked to an individual’s overall well-being and keep diseases away.
There are several kinds of bacteria that are classified as probiotics. However, the two most common groups include the following:
Bifidobacterium – This is a bacterium that is found in a few kinds of dairy products. It is beneficial in easing out the symptoms of several kinds of digestive conditions.
Lactobacillus – Lactobacillus is one of the most common kinds of probiotics. It is widely found in food products that are fermented; however, a large portion is found in yogurt, a dairy product. It is extremely beneficial and aids in treating irregular bowel movements.
Here are some of the health benefits that come with regularly consuming probiotics:
Aids in weight loss – Probiotics help in making one feel fuller for longer. They also burn calories and prevent the body from storing fat. This is because it prevents the absorption of dietary fats and flushes out the same through one’s bowel movement. However, it is necessary to understand that not all probiotics aid in weight loss. There are some that can even lead to excess weight gain.
Boosts the immune system – A strong immune system keeps infections and other diseases at bay. Probiotics help in boosting the immune system and increases the production of natural antibodies in the system. They also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut.
Helps in digestion – Many people suffer from digestive issues and probiotics have a good effect on the same. It is helpful for people who suffer from irregular bowel movements and conditions related to it such as bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain.
Women’s health – The vagina stays healthy due to a combination of good and bad bacteria. When this balance is off, there are various problems that can be caused, such as infections. These infections sometimes go on to create more severe problems. Probiotics, just like in the digestive system, can help in keeping a good balance between the bacteria that is present in the vagina. Also, a woman’s body goes through several changes over the course of pregnancy. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of vaginal infections, and probiotics can serve as a boon for maternal health.
Urinary infections – Probiotics are found to be very beneficial to people who suffer from urinary tract infections or UTI. The consumption of regular probiotics can help in preventing bad bacteria from entering the urinary tract. It also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the tract.
Reduces allergies – Probiotics have the ability to control the severity of allergies and other infections. This is especially true in the case of children. Also, it is believed that pregnant women who consume probiotics have kids who are at a lower risk of developing allergies in their early years.
Here are 5 foods that contain probiotics:
Pickles – While this is a very uncommon known fact, pickles do contain probiotics. Pickles such as carrots, cucumbers, and other vegetables are fermented in brine, and this packs them with a probiotic boost. The Internet is filled with easy recipes and one can make their own probiotic pickles at home. Pickles that are commercially produced contain vinegar and these should not be confused to be probiotic pickles.
Soy – Fermented soy comes with large portions of probiotics. This is an ingredient that is widely used in different cuisines especially Asian cuisine.
Kefir – Kefir is a type of a fermented drink. It is a little different from yogurt and contains a whole lot of probiotics. This drink is prepared using kefir grains that are fermented with animal milk. This drink is also credited for packing various health benefits and improves bone health.
Kimchi – Originating in Korea, Kimchi is a spicy fermented dish. It is mainly used as a side appetizer during or before meals. Made from cabbage, it includes several vitamins, minerals, and high lactic acid bacteria that benefits in digestive health.
Buttermilk – Buttermilk refers to the left-over liquid that is found after making butter. It contains loads of probiotics that have a very good effect in the digestive process. This drink is mainly consumed in countries like Nepal and is also widely known as grandma’s probiotics.
It is best to consume foods that naturally contain probiotics. However, one can also consume supplements that are available over-the-counter. Before consuming supplements, it is a good idea to consult a doctor as people with certain medical conditions should not consume these supplements. There may be side effects that come with excess consumption and this would include stomach pain, allergies, etc.
Consuming probiotics can thus be one of the best ways to promote a gut and digestive health.