All of us are afraid of those tiny microorganisms that are always present inside and outside our bodies. Bacteria are often called germs that cause diseases but do you know that there are good bacteria also? Good bacteria not only fight the bad bacteria in your body but improve your health too.
What are probiotics?
The good bacteria that we were talking about earlier including certain strains of yeast are called probiotics. These are friendly and healthy microorganisms that are good for our body, especially our digestive system. Probiotics are proven to be improving the overall bodily functions, from your skin to your gut to your heart. No region is left untouched by the benefits of consuming them.
Benefits of consuming probiotics
As we have told earlier, probiotics help us in improving our overall health. Well, there are more benefits of consuming them and we have listed them below:
1 Probiotics balance the good bacteria in your gut
Our stomach contains good and bad bacteria but their imbalance leads to several diseases. When bad bacteria increases in the gut, we can face digestive system issues, allergies, heart diseases, obesity, and mental health problems.
Probiotics consist of friendly bacteria when consumed helps in increasing the number of good bacteria in the stomach.
2. Probiotics can be useful in diarrhea
Several studies have proved probiotics help reduce the severity of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Diarrhea is the most common reaction of antibiotics as they also kill the good bacteria in the stomach.
Probiotics can help restore the good bacteria in the stomach and prevent or lessen the effect of diarrhea.
Probiotics can be useful in other types of diarrhea too and help improve the digestion system.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei, and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii are the most common probiotics used in diarrhea.
3. Probiotics can keep your heart healthy
Probiotics can help decrease the LDL (bad cholesterol) and blood pressure by breaking down bile in the stomach. Bile is a pigment made up of cholesterol, aids digestion but when it increases may cause severe health problems.
By breaking down the bile, probiotics prevent it from getting reabsorbed in the gut and entering as cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Several studies have shown different effects of taking probiotics for reducing bad cholesterol. Some studies observed a 5% reduction in total cholesterol, majorly 4% in bad cholesterol. Another study showed no changes in the total or bad cholesterol over the span of 6 months. A small increase in the HDL (good cholesterol) was observed though.
4. Probiotics can boost your immunity
Probiotics reduce the bad bacteria in the stomach, thus boosting the immune system.
Some studies have observed probiotics promoting the production of natural antibodies in the blood. (Antibodies fight pathogens to prevent us from infections and diseases.) Probiotics are found to be boosting immune cells like IgA, T lymphocytes, and natural killer cells.
In a large survey, probiotics were found to be helpful in respiratory infections in children and adults.
Lactobacillus crispatus, a probiotic found to have reduced the risk of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) in women by 50%.
5. Probiotics can help you lose weight
Probiotics are proven to be helpful in reducing weight and belly fat. The majority of people these days are struggling with obesity and the diseases caused by it. And isn’t it wonderful that eating good bacteria and yeast can help you lose weight?
Probiotics prevent the absorption of fats present in your diet in your stomach. That fat is excreted out rather than getting stored in your belly region or other parts of your body.
Probiotics may help you feel fuller for a longer time and increase metabolism, thus reducing overeating and gaining weight.
Foods rich in probiotics
The process of fermenting milk creates yogurt, perhaps the most widely known of all sources of probiotics. Shop for yogurt that is labeled “live and active cultures” since this indicates that it is rich in gut-friendly microorganisms.
Pickles consist of cucumbers or other vegetables that are kept to ferment in a solution of salt and water for a few days. Pickled cucumbers taste sour and are a good source of probiotics that improves digestion. Low in calories, they are also good sources of vitamin K.
Fermented soybeans are used to make tempeh. It forms a firm patty that is described as nutty, earthy, or mushroom-like in taste. Indonesian-born tempeh has become famous worldwide as a high-protein meat replacement.
Traditionally, Korean side dishes are made by fermenting vegetables (usually cabbage) with herbs and spices and keeping them in an airtight container for a few days or even a week. The pungent aroma, spicy flavor, and probiotic content of this fermented food make it particularly popular.
Originally from Japan, Miso is made from fermenting soybeans with a type of fungus known as koji and salt. Another way to make miso is to mix soybeans with other ingredients like rice, barley, or rye. In Japan, miso soup is a popular breakfast food made with this paste. Miso contains a decent amount of protein and fiber. It also has high amounts of various vitamins, minerals including manganese, vitamin K, and copper.
So, these were the benefits of consuming probiotics. Probiotics are natural supplements that improve your overall health. There are no or fewer side effects that occur due to consuming probiotics. In the majority of the population, no side effects were observed. The most common side-effects of consuming probiotics are acidity, bloating, constipation and thirst.
If it suits you, there is no harm in taking probiotics. In fact, they only help improve your digestive system, cardiac system, boost immunity, balance weight, and have many more benefits. You will notice great changes in your overall health and personality after consuming probiotics.