What do Yakult, Nestle’s Nesvita and Amul’s ProLife have in common?
The answer is simple! They are probiotic foods. These days it’s quite common to see these products on the shelves of all the super markets. To know what makes them different from their regular counterparts read on.
Probiotics are usually live bacteria (in some cases yeast) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. The live strains of these bacteria are added to certain foods to enhance their health benefits. The two most common strains are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Probiotics differ according to the strain of the bacteria and also in the manner of their preparation.
Often referred to as “friendly bacteria” they are vital for the proper development of your immune system.
- Consumption of Probiotics in our daily diet stimulates our body’s natural defences thereby strengthening our immunity.
- They aid in the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.
- They also improve the absorption of vitamins & minerals into the bloodstream.
- Probiotics line the intestines with a protective layer of good bacteria thereby blocking the pathogenic substances in the gut from harming the body.
Why Do We Need Probiotics?
Our eating habits, daily stress, intake of antibiotics for treating diseases, excessive consumption of alcohol, all these, destroy the good bacteria present in our gut. Also, in turn the bad bacteria multiply. The disturbed ratio of the two kinds of bacteria causes various problems in our digestive and immune systems. Losing the good bacteria can cause diarrhea. Therefore it is a good option for patients who experience symptoms of IBS and diarrhea. Probiotic containing millions of live bacteria help promote the growth of good bugs in the digestive tract. They support the existing good bacteria and curb the growth of the harmful microbes.
If you have been treating your cold or sinus problems, stomach/bowel infections or ear infections etc. with antibiotics, consider taking probiotics to restore the healthy ratio of “good-bad” bacteria.
Probiotics Can Even Help in Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is caused due to the deficiency of the enzyme lactase which breaks down lactose into simpler compounds that can then be digested. Lactose intolerance causes to nausea, gastric trouble, abdominal cramps and bloating. However, by having probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus) the symptoms of lactose intolerance can be taken care of. Probiotics allow digestion of milk and other dairy products more easily.
Have you Wondered how Probiotics is Different from Prebiotics?
While probiotics refers to the ‘living’ bacteria naturally found in fermented foods prebiotics are the ‘non living’ food ingredients that help the good bacteria to grow. Prebiotics are partially digestible food that reach the upper part of the intestinal tract and stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria. Banana, dark-colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains and garlic are examples of prebiotic foods.
Do you include probiotics and prebiotics in your daily diet?
Important Tip: It is a must for people suffering from illnesses like cancer, diabetes or those who are HIV+ to consult their doctor before including probiotics in their diet.