Probiotics are essentially a class of friendly bacteria found in many foods. Probiotics are the live bacteria and organisms which are beneficial for our physiology.
Let us try to understand this concept more closely. The human body has many types of bacteria; some of them are good while others are not beneficial for our health. Harmful bacteria cause diseases, while the good bacteria helps to prevent ailments.
Probiotics are these class of bacteria that are beneficial for our health. In fact, probiotic bacteria are similar to the good bacteria commonly found in our gastrointestinal system. Probiotics have numerous health benefits. They help in improving digestion and increasing immunity.
They aid in resolving problems related to bowel movement like irritable bowels or inflammatory bowel disease. In fact, they help with many ailments of the digestive tract. For instance, probiotic foods help to correct abnormalities in the digestive tract and also aid in eradicating the harmful bacteria. They can also provide relief from food poisoning, diarrhea, eczema etc.
In addition, they are also believed to help in weight loss. It has been found that probiotic foods affect the way food is digested and energy is utilized in our diet. They aid in absorption of nutrients and synthesis of vitamins, essential fatty acids etc. Thus, they facilitate the absorption of numerous vitamins and minerals in our body. This helps to keep mineral deficiencies at bay.
They can prevent and treat various infections in the human body such as unrinary tract, yeast etc. They shield against a few types of cancers also; namely bladder and colon cancer. They also help with some mental ailments. They help fight allergies in children.
There are many probiotic foods that you can easily include in your diet. Most of the fermented foods and beverages are probiotic in nature. The process of fermentation also increases the nutritive value of foodgrains. There are many dishes made from fermented soy beans, cabbage etc that contain probiotics.
Some of the common foods made from fermented soy beans are natto and tempeh. Other probiotic foods are miso soup, kim chi, and some pickles. Some yeast based fermented foods are also are rich in probiotic bacteria. Few examples of these are fish sauce, wine, beer and bread. There are many fermented dishes in Indian food also that contain healthy probiotic bacteria. These are dhoklas, wadas, idlis, dosas, and kadhi.
Many dairy products have live and beneficial bacteria such as yogurt, milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, buttermilk and a few varieties of soft cheese. Yogurt products like kefir, sauerkraut are also rich in probiotics. Many soy products like tofu, soy milk, also contain probiotics.Many probiotic supplements are also available in the market. However, it is best to include natural probiotic foods in your diet.