What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) that are good for you. These are found in the human gut. They are often called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria”. When they are consumed in adequate amount, confer a health benefit on the host.
You can get probiotics from dietary supplements and foods.
How do probiotics work?
Probiotics have various effects on the body and they may act in different ways.
They help to balance the digestive tract with good and bad bacteria to keep your body working.
Probiotics also help the digestive tract return to normal after getting disturbed by the use of antibiotics or disease.
Different types of probiotics
There are many types of bacteria under probiotics. They contain commonly two types of bacteria. (1)
- Lactobacillus – They are commonly found in yogurt and other fermented foods. They may help in diarrhea.
- Bifidobacterium – They are also found in some of the dairy products.
Each of these two group includes different types of bacteria.
Are probiotics really popular?
According to the year 2012 US data, In dietary supplements consumption, probiotics were in third place after vitamins and minerals. (2)
Probiotics were among the top three natural products used by children in 2012 in the US.
In India, now many brands come up with probiotics supplement.
How effective are probiotics?
Researches show that some probiotics are helpful in preventing diarrhea and improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. But it is still unanswered that which probiotics are helpful and which are not.
Are they safe?
In most of the countries worldwide, probiotics are considered a food product rather than medicine. So they do not need to pass rigorous testing as medicine. (3)
Still, it is always advisable to ask your doctor about suitable products for you.
Top probiotic foods in the world
Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics. It contains good bacteria that can improve your health.
In different parts of the world, it is called by a different name. For example in Arabia, it is called leben. In India, it called dahi, lassi, mattha. In Scandinavia, it is called gouddu.
It is fermented probiotic milk. It is made with a yeast fermentation called kefir grains.
Kimchi is a Korean side dish which the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus.
Its main ingredient is cabbage and also contain some vegetables. It is a fermented dish.
Miso is a Japanese dish and made by fermenting soybeans with salt and fungus.
Sauerkraut is a famous dish in Europe and is made from finely chopped cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. It is sour and salty in taste.
Other products rich in probiotics are buttermilk, fresh, sour pickles, tempeh, etc.
You can easily get healthy probiotics supplements online.