8 amazing health benefits of probiotics
Updated: Aug 29
Probiotics are defined as live yeast and bacteria which may benefit an individual's health. They are found in fermented foods and yogurt. Probiotics are called good bacteria because they help to keep your gut healthy.
Type of bacteria in probiotics
The most common are bacteria that belong to groups named Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
Bifidobacterium: It is found in dairy products that can ease the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome). It reduces the growth of harmful bacteria in our intestines and aids in breaking down lactose into nutrients absorbed by the body.
Lactobacillus: It is found in fermented foods and yogurt. It can aid individuals who are unable to digest sugar and lactose in milk. It produces lactic acid which helps to control the population of unhealthy bacteria in our gut.
How do probiotics work?
The fundamental role of probiotics ( good bacteria) is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. They help to keep you healthy by supporting your immunity and controlling inflammation. The complex community of microorganisms in your gut is called the gut microbiome. It comprises bacteria, fungi, and viruses and is home to an ecosystem of 500 bacterial species according to a study by Harvard Medical School. The majority of the gut microbiome is found in your large intestine and the gut flora performs many vital health functions such as producing vitamins including vitamin K and B vitamins.
Health benefits of probiotics
Probiotics help support a healthy weight
Gut bacteria play a vital role in metabolism which is involved in regulating appetite to energy production and improving digestion. They help you feel fuller for a longer time, burn more calories and store less fat. They help in better absorption of nutrients.
Help balance healthy bacteria in your digestive system
They help to add good bacteria to your digestive tract which creates a balance between healthy bacteria and pathogens and aids to fight off inflammations and gut-related disorders.
Enhance mental health conditions
Research shows taking probiotics helps to enhance the symptoms of mental health disorders such as stress, anxiety, etc.
Probiotics support healthy digestion
They can aid with the digestion of fiber-rich carbohydrates called prebiotics. The gut bacteria creates short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate that serve as fuel for the cells which strengthens the barrier of the intestines. It ultimately helps to promote good health.
Probiotics help in increasing immunity by reducing the number of harmful bacteria in your system.
Help to support heart health
Having probiotics can have positive effects on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure which further helps to reduce cholesterol levels. Research of 30 randomized clinical trials found that having probiotic supplements can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
Promotes healthy skin
The benefits of probiotics are connected to the reduction of inflammation seen in good gut bacteria. L.casei, a particular strain of probiotic can decrease antigen- specific skin inflammation.
Reduce food allergy symptoms
Probiotics can help decrease food allergy symptoms due to their capacity to decrease chronic inflammation in the gut and regulate immune responses.
Top Indian probiotic foods to add to your meal:
Yogurt ( Dahi )
It is one of the excellent source of probiotics that is made from milk fermented by beneficial bacteria mainly Bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria. It contains live cultures which can benefit an individual's digestive system.
Dosas and idlis
They are south Indian foods that are made by fermenting urad daal and rice making it a rich source of live cultures of healthy bacteria. The bioavailability of its minerals increases which aids the body to absorb more nutrition.
Traditional buttermilk ( chaas )
It is a fermented drink that is prepared from the liquid which is left over after churning butter. Cultured buttermilk does not contain any probiotic advantages and is found in supermarkets.
Raw cow's milk contains a good amount of probiotics and is unpasteurized. It contains natural enzymes and fatty acids
Indian cheese ( paneer )
It is a rich source of probiotics that can be consumed in raw form or can be added to salads.
Pickles ( aachar)
Pickles are cucumbers that are preserved in salty water and fermented which makes them an excellent source of beneficial probiotic bacteria and can enhance digestive health.
It is a traditional probiotic drink from North India which is prepared with carrots, beetroots, water, and hing ( asafoetida) in the winter season.
These are some amazing benefits of probiotics and regular consumption can help in maintaining our health.