Our gut is full of helpful bacteria that defend our body from diseases, and provide all sorts of powerful benefits for your body and brain. But sometimes, these good intestinal bacteria go out of balance due and result in indigestion, constipation, acidity, bloating, diarrhea, etc. Even though billions of these healthy bacteria are a part of our gut, the beneficial bacteria we used to get from our food are not available anymore. Our diet, lifestyle choices and stress have contributed to the easy growth of harmful bacteria.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that offer health benefits when you ingest them in sufficient quantities. They work by counterbalancing bad intestinal bacteria that produce toxins. The two common strains of probiotics are Lactobacillus acidophilus, which works in the small intestine, and Bifidobacterium bifidum which works in the large intestine.
(Also Read: Tips for a Healthy Heart Naturally)
Health Benefits of Probiotics
- They boost the immune system and protect you against viruses and allergens.
- Helps in decreasing the bad gut Flora that can cause infections or inflammation.
- Restores the good bacterial balance.
- Use probiotics to prevent diarrhea, gas and cramping caused by antibiotics.
- Probiotics help to solve digestive disorders Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
- They may improve digestive health, reduce depression and promote heart health and even give you better-looking skin.
- They help in producing Vitamin B.
- Helps in Urinary and vaginal health.
(Also Read: Nutrition for Cancer patients)
Food Sources of Probiotics
Getting probiotics from supplements is popular, but you can also get them from fermented foods. Certain vegetables like radish, onions, carrots can be fermented to improve good bacteria in the body. The water in which foods are fermented can be consumed to treat stomach pain and acidity.
Here is a list of probiotic foods that are healthy.
Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics that has been fermented by friendly bacteria, mainly lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria, that can improve your health. Taking yogurt has many health benefits, including improved bone health, gut health, reducing all sorts of digestive issues, and may be suitable for people with lactose intolerance. Make sure to choose yogurt that has active or live cultures, not all yogurt contains live probiotics. In some cases, the live bacteria have been killed during processing.
Sauerkraut is one of the oldest traditional foods finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make sure to choose unpasteurized brands that contain live bacteria as pasteurization kills the live and healthy bacteria.
Kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, Cabbage is usually the main ingredient. Kimchi contains lactic acid bacteria that may benefit digestive health. Kimchi made from cabbage is high in some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and iron.
Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink made by adding kefir grains to cow’s or goat’s milk. It has various health benefits including improving bone health, digestive problems and protecting against infections. It is a better source of probiotics than yogurt, and people with lactose intolerance can often drink kefir with no problems.
Natto is a fermented soybean product that is a staple in Japanese kitchens. It contains a high amount of vitamin K2, which may help prevent osteoporosis and heart attacks.
Almost all types of cheese are fermented but it does not mean that all of them contain probiotics. Aged cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda or mozzarella, and cottage cheese contain probiotics. Cheese is very nutritious contains a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and may benefit heart and bone health.
(Also Read: Foods that boost our Immune system naturally)
Home-made Probiotic Drink
- Wash and peel 3-4 carrots into thick long slices. Add salt, 2tsp chili powder and 2tsp mustard powder and mix well.
- Add 12 cups of water to this mixture. Transfer to a glass jar. Cover the jar with a muslin cloth tied tightly around the mouth of the jar.
- Place it under the sun for 3-4 days. Shake it upside down with the lid every morning. Then the drink turns sour and that is when you know it is fermented. You can strain and drink a cup with your meals daily.
- This is your probiotic drink for better gut health and overall well-being. You can use beetroot, radish, and turnips as well.
How To Make Kefir At Home
- Add 2 tablespoons of kefir grains and 2 cups of organic Whole Milk to a glass jar. Stir gently using a wooden spoon.
- Cover the jar with muslin cloth tied with a string and allow it to ferment at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours.
- A clear yellowish liquid will separate at the bottom of the jar.
- Pour the kefir through a small fine-mesh strainer into another clean jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. The kefir grains can be used in another batch.
Some people experience side effects when they eat probiotic foods, such as gas or nausea. A nutritionist may also be able to recommend safe ways to incorporate probiotics into a person’s diet. Always read food labels carefully to ensure the foods contain live and active cultures. Before you start any supplements, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: Content on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information for self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. We by no means will be held responsible for any bad effects that can come out of using these medicines.