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13 Best Foods for Probiotics- Working, Functions, and Types.

It will interest you to know that bacteria and yeasts are not necessarily always harmful or bad. They are of two types- good and bad. Our body is filled with innumerable bacteria of both kinds. Now just like the bad bacteria and germs spoil our health, the good bacteria also have a positive role to play. They have good impact on our health and they are healthy for kids as well in various ways and are thus correctly termed as probiotic. One can find probiotic bacteria in various food items. They are extremely good for our gut health and is thus recommended by doctors. Here’s how the probiotics work:

Working of Probiotics

  • We consume antibiotics to cure our various ailments. The antibiotic medicine attack to kill the germs causing those bodily ailments. In the process, they may also kill the good bacteria present in our body. Thus, consumption of probiotic becomes mandatory in order to replace those good bacteria that are killed.
  • They also help to maintain a balance of the good and bad bacteria in the body.
  • They also help to stabilize the damage caused to the body because of the side effects of the antibiotics.

Functions Performed by Probiotics:

  • They send food through our gut by affecting the nerves that are responsible for the gut movement.
  • They have given great results in treating irritable bowel system, Inflammatory bowels disorder, Infectious Diarrhea that are majorly caused due to viruses, bacteria and parasites, and Diarrhea caused due to the effects of antibiotics

It is commonly said that a healthy gut system leads to an overall healthy body. When you have your digestive system working as it should and your metabolism functions are healthy, your mind and body are at peace. Thus, because the probiotics improve your digestive health, they also are responsible for various other benefits like as follows:

  • Cures skin problems of acne, eczema, etc
  • Helps in avoiding urinary infections
  • Prevents frequent occurrences of allergies and colds
  • Beneficial for your oral health
  • Keep problems like stomach aches, frequently occurring among children, far away from them.
  • Helps prevention of indigestion

Types of Probiotics:

1. Lactobacillus:

This is the most common form of probiotic. It is found in yogurt, which is a naturally available probiotic and also other fermented foods of the like. They usually help people whose bodily system find it difficult to digest lactose which is present in milk and milk products. By aiding in digestion, we mean that the probiotic present in fermented foods like yogurt, helps in breaking down the lactose in milk products. Not only does it break the sugar lactose down, it also ensures that the same is assimilated into our blood streams and is transported to the different cells of our body for the production of energy.

2. Bifidobacterium:

It is also found in a few of the dairy products and helps to treat irritable bowel system.

3. Saccharomyces Boulardii:

This one is not a bacterium, but an yeast. It fights diarrhea and related digestive problems.

4. Streptococcus Thermophilus:

These are present in the small intestine. They help prevent the nitrates present in spinach, celery and meat to form into harmful nitrites. They also breakdown proteins in cheese.

5. Bifidobacterium Breve:

They are useful for colon health when you have intake of antibiotics.

6. Lactobacillus Acidophilus:

Helps to breakdown the lactose in milk products and boosts the immune system.

7. Lactobacillus Bulgaricus:

They create natural antibiotics in your gut that fight the other organisms that try to invade. Now that’s a great substitute for a medicine!

8. Lactobacillus Paracasei:

It fights fatigue and protects teeth from cavities.

9. Lactobacillus Plantarum

It produces protein that helps in absorption of calcium, hormone production and boosts immunity.

10. Lactobacillus Gasseri

It supports digestion and also balances blood sugar levels. It has been found to have effects on weight management.

11. Lactobacillus Salivarius

It fights unwanted microbes in the stomach, especially those present in small intestine. It also defeats bacteria in mouth which harms the oral health and is thus considered vital for maintenance of oral health. They are present in foods like banana, barley, tomatoes, etc.

There are many other such types of probiotics which more or less have the same functions as the ones mentioned above. Moving on, we now come to the foods that are rich in probiotics:

Probiotics Rich Food-

1. YOGURT:

It will not be a mere exaggeration if we are to mention that yogurt is the king of probiotic food. It is the most naturally available, cheap, and free of adulteration probiotic that can be even made at home. For better results try the yogurt made with goat milk. It has a better digestibility than the milk of the cow along with being enriched with various proteins and vitamins. Goat milk yogurt is particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifudus, and bulgaricus, and can be infused with extra forms of probiotics like lactobacillus or acidophilus.

2. KEFIR:

It is similar to yogurt and is made of fermented goat milk and kefir grains. It is also rich in antioxidants. Try to look for organic options for proven results.

3. DARK CHOCOLATE:

Now you have a reason to resort to dark chocolate on your “not-a-cheat-day”. It is not a probiotic in itself. It is an effective carrier of probiotics infused in them artificially. It helps them survive within the digestive tracts.

4. PICKLES:

They are a storehouse of prime probiotics. Most vegetables can be pickled and stored. Here’s news- they are extremely delicious to consume as well!

5. TEMPEH:

Made from fermented soyabean, it is an excellent replacement for tofu and meat. It also contains Vitamin B12. It is 100% vegetarian and can be cooked, sautéed or eaten as salad. This food finds it source from Indonesia.

6. KIMCHI:

It is made from fermented sauerkraut. It is extremely spicy and sour cabbage. This particular food is typical to Korea.

7. KOMBUCHA TEA:

Ever knew there that even tea could be fermented? Indeed it can be. Kombucha tea is a fermented tea which also helps you to lose weight along with being an excellent source of probiotics.

8. TRADITIONAL BUTTERMILK:

This is the one extracted from butter. The leftover liquid after the butter accumulates is traditional buttermilk which has a good value of probiotics. It is only this version that contains probiotics.

9. NATTO:

It is another fermented soyabean product. It forms a staple diet of people in Japan. It is mixed with rice and served with breakfast. It is enriched with proteins, minerals and vitamins.

10. SPECIFIC KINDS OF CHEESE:

Inspite of being fermented, cheese is not necessarily a source of probiotics. Those cheese which have survived through the aging process are the one that garner probiotics. To name a few, Gouda, Mozzarella, Cheddar and cottage cheese carry good amounts of probiotics. Cheese is highly nutritious, and is a very good source of protein. It is also rich in important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium.

11. MISO:

Here’s another Japanese food item that takes the turn on this list. It is also made from fermented soyabeans with salt and a type of fungus called koji. Do not worry, these will not cause any harm to your health. Miso can be mixed with rice and barley for making various delicacies. Its paste is used to make soups in Japan. It also contains fiber, proteins and Vitamin K.

12. COCONUT KEFIR 

Made by fermenting the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains, this dairy-free option for kefir has some of the same probiotics as traditional dairy kefir but is typically not as high in probiotics.

13. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR:

It helps to lose weight, control blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels. It is commonly available in super markets and contains levels of probiotics.

 

Since this article is all about probiotics, it becomes crucial to mention here that there are paradoxical views on the utility of probiotics for our body. While a few say that they are the “good bacteria” contributing to the health and wellness of our digestive tract, there are researches to affirm that probiotics is a concept invented just to ensure market sales of the supplements. Well, as long as you take a healthy detour in this aspect, you are free from any danger whatsoever. There are innumerable supplements of probiotics present in the market for sale. In order to avoid any controversial conditions to your physiology, it is advised that you refrain from the intake of these supplements. Also, it is a general rule that we ensure that no medicines, medicinal supplements, chemicals are consumed without consulting our family physician. You may read up various benefits of the nutrients and have an extensive research in place about it, however you may not exactly be aware if the artificial drugs are supported by your body. You could use the natural way to ensure that you have achieved the benefits from probiotics. Incorporate the above foods in your diet and attain harmless results for your body!

Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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