“Every time you eat or drink, you either feeding disease or fighting it”.
Occasionally we have heard or read that bacteria are harmful for us. They cause itching or allergy to skin or the intake may lead to some illness as well. Scientific studies say that our body consists of both healthy and harmful bacteria.
Have you ever thought there are some beneficial bacteria too?
Yes…, there are healthy bacteria known as Probiotics. ‘Pro is a Latin word which means ‘for’ and ‘Biotic is a Greek word which means ‘life’. Probiotics are microorganism consumed through fermented foods which are healthy for us. There are different types of healthy bacteria when fermented. Surprisingly, each type of probiotics performs different functions so it is essential to choose the best form according to your immune system. These bacteria present in some food boost our immune system and increase the functioning of the brain. They are present in our gut and play a vital role for a healthy body. These bacteria can be obtained through food or supplements.
What are Different Probiotic Foods?
Probiotic foods are beneficial for a healthy gut and improve our immune system. There are different types of probiotics present in food. Consuming it regularly gives a huge change to your body. There is extensive variety of probiotic foods which can be used as a regular nutrient diet. The friendly bacteria or yeast is a shield towards many minor to chronic illness. Some of the fermented healthy probiotic foods are discussed under:-
The first name that comes into mind is of yogurt. Natural Greek yogurt is way better than pasteurized one. Fresh yogurt from cow, goat or sheep milk gives amazing results to your digestive system. It keeps a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria into your gut as fresh yogurt has an active microbiome. A cup full of yogurt with seeds, honey and fresh fruits in the morning keeps your entire day fresh and it is light at digestion. It also helps in preventing diarrhea and gastric pain in the stomach.
Another dairy fermented product is soft cheese like mozzarella; cottage, Gouda and cheddar are full of active cultures. It is a good source of proteins, vitamins, and calcium. A moderate use of cheese helps bones and heart issues like heart stroke or osteoporosis.
Kefir is also one of the fermented dairy products and can be used instead of yogurt. It is active bacteria and yeast cereal kind of grains added in milk. It’s creamy and sour like yogurt and tastes delicious. It contains more active Microbiome than yogurt. It provides a shield to infections and promotes good bacteria in the body.
Buttermilk is fermented leftover milk from Butter. The traditional buttermilk made from butter is a good source of some active cultures. It is full of nutrients like calcium and phosphorus whereas it is low in calories. Which means it is an excellent source of probiotics to consume for weight loss. Pasteurized buttermilk available in supermarkets has no beneficial probiotics in it.
Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage fermented with lactic acid. The organic acid gives it the quality to digest easily and gives your tongue a tangy flavor. Always look for freshly fermented cabbage and never buy a pasteurized one as it has no active bacteria. It can be used to top salads or can be used as a side dish with rice or noodles. It is rich in Lactobacillus an active bacteria which is excellent for digestion.
Kimchi and Sauerkraut are both fermented and pickled vegetable. Kimchi is a Korean dish which contains veggies like cabbage, radish, and onion, carrots mix with additive spices like red chilies, ginger, salt, and sauces. It contains active bacteria Lactobacillus useful in the digestive system, it can be eaten raw as a side dish or can be used as an ingredient in some recipes to give sour flavor.
Miso is another form of fermented product. It is a traditional Japanese food, a paste made from fermented soybeans, salt and a fungus named as Koji. Typically Miso soup is famous in Japan which is served with barley or rice and gives a unique flavor to your taste buds. Miso soup has some amazing health benefits. Regular consumption prevents from heart stroke and lowers the risk of cancer. It is low in calorie and rich with antioxidants.
Tempeh is another soybean product has origins from Indonesia. It is fermented into form of a cake which gives nutty flavor and is rich in proteins. It is a good substitute for meat. Soybean is basically a plant rich in zinc and iron when fermented makes it full of vitamins and proteins. It can be baked, grilled or cooked and can be eaten by mixing other vegetables for giving extra flavor. It is a perfect dish for vegetarians.
Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea with bacteria and yeast it is gaining popularity these days. The packed beverage is in abundance in supermarkets around the town. A moderate use of this tea is satisfactory as it has additives like sugar or fruit juice. Whereas it is good to use instead of other fizzy or preservative drinks which are harmful to our gut health.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many beneficial and nutritional values. It is great form of probiotic and helps in maintaining cholesterol level, control high blood pressure and reduces weight as well. It has great impact on the immune system and digestion. A tablespoon of vinegar in water can be consumed daily or in salad as a dressing.
Probiotics are also available in the form of supplements in capsules or in powder form. It can be consumed with other natural probiotic foods as well. They are not as beneficial as organic food. It is always recommended to consult a doctor before intake of supplements.
Benefits of Probiotic Foods
“Let food be thy medicine”
As discussed above Probiotic food is fermented food which helps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Our body consists of both good and bad bacteria. To equalize both inclusions of probiotic food gives power to our immune system to fight harmful bacteria. Probiotic foods provide many benefits to our system. Some of the benefits are:-
Better Immune System
“80% of your immune system is tied directly to your Gut”.
Probiotic foods help in improving our immune system by maintaining the gut bacteria in our body. Harmful bacteria cause inflammatory issues and other illness to our body. These toxins released to bloodstream turns into inflammatory issues and later into chronic diseases. Regular consumption of these helps in producing antibodies which reduces the risk of major diseases.
Probiotic food helps in the prevention of heart diseases. It lowers the high cholesterol level in our body which in turns lowers the high blood pressure risk. A good amount of daily consumption leads to a healthy body.
Skin is the longest organ in our body and is open to lots of bacteria and infections. Probiotic has the potential to provide a shield to such fungal diseases and allergies caused to skin by harmful bacteria. It also helps in the prevention of aging signs and eliminating wrinkles.
Surprisingly most studies found out the link between gut health to our mental health. Any mental disorders like anxiety, depression and memory loss can be healed with the passage of time through the inclusion of fermented products in our daily nutrients.
There are certain probiotics which help in reducing weight and belly fat. Lactobacillus present in some food helps with obesity. However, there are some probiotics which lead to weight gain.
Probiotic foods are helpful in the cure of diarrhea, especially in children. Fermented dairy products are more helpful with this symptom. It gives smoothness to our digestive system.
Side Effects of Probiotic Foods
We have discussed various health benefits of probiotic foods. But with so many valuable benefits it has some minor side effects too.
- There are signs of constipation or bloating if products are highly consumed. So it is recommended to add fewer amounts first in your food than start increasing by time.
- If there is an immune system imbalance in your body high consumption may be risky.
- Rich probiotic supplements or high protein fermented foods can cause anemia which affects our nervous system. The increase and decrease in blood flow can cause a headache.
- If you are a victim of Histamine than some probiotic food and supplements are sure to avoid or try using different probiotic products. Histamine is a molecule which can be produced in our immune system.
- People with ulcer issues or inflammatory digestive problems can face stomach pains due to overdosage of probiotic foods.
Probiotic foods are amazing to use and have wonderful effect on our overall health. The fermented foods are best for improving healthy gut bacteria in our body. Some people may have side effects due to overdose or weak immune system. One must always consult a doctor before taking probiotic supplements or foods. As some dairy products might give minor infection. But generally, the usage of probiotic foods in our daily routine is most rewarding for our gut health as it manages both good and bad bacteria.