Before getting into various detailing of probiotics, we first must have a brief idea about what is probiotics. So first things first, let us get into what is this all about.
What is basically Probiotics?
Probiotics refer to the various useful microorganisms that help the body in a large number of ways. Probiotics especially is very good in enhancing the inner digestive system of the human body and also boost up the immunity system of the body. Now the first thing that strikes in our minds is that microorganisms generally take help of host organisms and take in all the nourishment from the host to sustain itself. So here we need to understand that there are few microorganisms which when taken in specific proportions under proper guidance by the host, basically benefits the host.
Let us consider the case of bacteria. The general concept of humans when they hear of bacteria is that these harm us. However, this is not the case at all. We should have the knowledge that useful bacteria is required by human beings in their digestive system to digest food, and convert the nutrients from food into vitamins and other nutrition to improve the human immunity system. Now the work of probiotics is to pull up the number of the helpful bacteria and push down the number of the unfavorable bacteria in our body in order to help in better functioning of our body.
There are quite a number of things that are rich natural sources for probiotics
Few Foods being extremely rich sources of probiotics:
1. Dark Chocolate-> Dark Chocolates rich in anti oxidants is one source that is really a good source for probiotics. Dark chocolates, being rich source of probiotics, enjoying them can benefit the human digestive system to a great extent.
2. Sour Pickles-> if we have a close careful look in the production of pickles, we will find that pickles are made by fermenting vegetables and fruits that are a rich source of probiotics. Making pickles at home aren’t too difficult. What we need is vegetables that are fermented, and salt, water and oil in right quantities. There you go…. healthy, rich in probiotics pickles are ready.
3. Apples-> Every one of us are familiar with the phrase “An apple a day keeps a doctor away”. Now you know another reason why are they called as such. However researches do not have strong evidences if apples are great sources of probiotics or not but having apples regularly help to provide all the requirements like ph conditions for the useful microorganisms to propagate.
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4. Yogurt-> Billions of cultured bacteria is present in yogurt. In fact the National yogurt Association’s certifies that the yogurt contains at least 100 million cultures per gram. SO yes yogurt is one of the richest sources of probiotics. However, yogurt is also possible to be made in home which is often better than bought commercial products from shops.
5. Miso-> Miso is a Japanese food. This is made by selection of soy beans, rice, barley and wheat which is fermented together for a thick paste. Miso is also used for sauces, in a variety of pickles and marinades. Miso really helps in the digestive system of humans. Actually Miso helps to alkalinize the acidic effects that hamper the digestive system. A serving of Miso is quite good for having the useful bacteria in the body. Human bodies regularly have to face a lot of environmental pollution in these days. Effects of Miso are also wonderful to counterbalance the effect of environmental pollution.
6. Cheese-> If we look into the manufacturing process of cheese we will find out that cheese is made out by fermentation of milk. Cheese has high amounts of fats and low amounts of acidic nature, therefore making it a good source of probiotics. Cheese helps to maintain the useful bacteria.
7. Soy milk-> this soy milk is something which is an extensively rich source of probiotics. The soy milk is very nutritious and is wonderful for human health in a number of ways. Soy milk contains real high amount of protein. Being free of lactose is also one major USP of the soy milk. As lactose intolerance disables people from having dairy products, such people can intake soy milk. Soy milk is very healthy. However, commercially available packaged soy milk also contains added live cultures.
8. Olives-> we all love yummy pastas and pizzas which have olives in them. But hardly did we care to know about the great nutrition values of olives. In herbal medicinal practices, often it is seen allergies and other such diseases are treated with the help of olives. Brine solutions, i.e. the solution of water and salt with olives in it are extensively rich in probiotics. Microorganisms grow in the olives in which the brine solution acts as a catalyst to help them grow. Olives hence really can be taken as a good source of probiotics.
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9. Southern Indian cuisine-> when you talk of Southern Indian cuisine, the first things that come to your mind is idly and dosa (if you have ever tasted them). Since these dishes are made by fermentation of lentils and rice, these dishes are high in probiotics. The fermentation makes it possible for the useful bacteria to be cultured in large numbers.
10. Kombucha tea-> This Kombucha tea is a drink that has been taken for centuries. Kombucha tea is basically a probiotic drink made by fermentation of sweet black tea in which yeast and a special kind of bacteria called Kombucha mushroom is added. This drink helps a man to stay fit and healthy and supports to build a better and stronger immunity system for the human body.
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When studied in details it should be understood that it is the strain of probiotics that works on human body and not the effects of the general term “probiotics”. The bacteria and other microorganisms that tend to work in a strain specific manner have a lot of benefits for the human body.
Few of the benefits of the strain effects of probiotics can be listed as follows:
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome reduction-> this is a persistent condition that is characterized by the involvement of abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation often caused by stress, depression, anxiety, or earlier infection. Yes, there are no proper evidences in this but practical results have shown that probiotics have been helpful in treatment of this. However further studies are going to prove this fact with more firm evidences.
2. Help in overcoming effects of antibiotic diarrhea-> as we all know antibiotics kill bacteria is certainly true but along with that often what happens is that they kill the useful bacteria as well. Now this is something serious trouble. The destruction of the useful bacteria leads to diarrhea as well. In this case the probiotics are quite helpful to overcome this problem of diarrhea that is caused by antibiotics.
3. Constipation-> there have been trials in reputed medical colleges in which it showed that probiotics do help in softening stools and help them pass by. Probiotics increased the weekly bowel movement considerably too.
Apart from these, there are quite other advantages as well which shows how probiotics is really beneficial and useful for the human body.
It just doesn’t simply end here. Probiotics is highly intervened and efforts are made seamlessly in researching how this can also help in treatment of other problematic diseases as well. There are cases where people say they are benefitted from probiotics in cases like oral health, vaginal health, improving urinating problems, improve skin disorders (like eczema) etc.
But saying all this, the Food and Drug Administration of United States department of health and human services prescribes probiotics just similar to foods and not at all like serious medicines. Medicine and drug companies need to verify that what they are selling is perfect and not harmful but this is not the case for probiotics. However, dosage should still be as prescribed by the physician. In maximum cases probiotics is completely all right for people but as we all know that prevention is better than cure, probiotics should only be tried after having the permission and advice of the doctor. The reason for this is that although a very little number, but cases have been found where patients have allergies after indulging with probiotics. But when we summarize as a whole probiotics is helping a lot of people in a far more natural and organic way where often hardcore chemicals and drugs fail to do so and bring in much better effects.