Ever wondered what exactly is the hype around Probiotics and Fermented foods?
Why are Probiotics being widely recommended for good health and immunity?
The term “Probiotics” literally means “for life” !
These are live microbial cultures consumed for health benefits beyond providing basic
nutritional value. They maintain a delicate balance between the gut and body’s immune
The most commonly used organisms in probiotic preparations are the lactic acid bacteria
found in fermented dairy products like curd, yogurt, etc. and often also in pickles and
Fermentation on the other hand is known as one of the oldest food preservation methods in
the world, and is also a food processing technique to reduce or even eliminate toxic
compounds in the food.
During fermentation, certain micro-organisms break down the sugar (or carbohydrate)
molecule of the food into simpler compounds such as organic acids, ethanol, or antimicrobial
compounds that have the ability to inhibit any spoilage organisms in the food while also
providing a variety of health benefits.
These fermented foods have been a part of the human diet for centuries now and were an
essential part of our forefather’s daily diet.
Still not satisfied why you should include Probiotics and Fermented Foods in your daily
diet? Read on…
- Heals damaged/ Leaky Gut- Probiotics and fermented foods positively affect the
digestive health by healing and strengthening the GI tract lining and thereby improves
the absorption capacity of the gut.
- Maximum Absorption- Probiotics enhance the absorption of protein and fat by
releasing a number of digestive enzymes to make them more bio-available to the gut.
- Vitamin B12 production- Lactic acid bacteria are known to release various vitamins
into the intestine. They are one of the major sources of B vitamins for the body,
especially Vitamin B12 (Vegetarians, please take notes!).
- Reduces GI infection- They produce organic acids as an end product of fermentation
in the intestine which influences the pH of the intestine and hence reduce the chances
of gastro-intestinal infections.
- Holistic Health- Apart from the gut, probiotics have also proven to improve immune
health, vaginal health, urinary tract health, hormonal balance and even respiratory
So now that we know the benefits of Probiotics, how can we include them in our diet?
1. Include foods like curd and yogurt along with your daily meals
2.Drinks like buttermilk, kanji, kefir etc. can be consumed regularly
3. Consume fermented foods like idlis, dosas, appams, etc. that are probiotic as well as
provide prebiotic benefits (aid in the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut)
4. Homemade Pickles and pickled vegetables also are great sources of probiotic bacteria.
Note: Although probiotic supplements are gaining popularity and are also quite easy to add
in your daily routine, many researches state that probiotics from natural foods are better
tolerated by the the body.