Probiotics FAQs – Food, Health Benefits, Side Effects

bacteria
 

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are actually live bacteria and yeasts which are good for the health, especially for the digestive system. Most of us think that bacteria as something that will cause diseases. But you should know that our body is filled with bacteria, both bad and good. Probiotics are the good bacteria that will help keep the gut healthy.

How Do Probiotics Work?

Experts are trying to figure exactly how they work. These are some of the ways that probiotics help to keep us healthy:

  • When we lose good bacteria in our body, after taking antibiotics that destroys both good and bad bacteria, the probiotics will help replace the good bacteria.
  • Probiotics will help balance good and bad bacteria in our body to keep the body working like it suppose to.

Does Consuming Probiotics Have Side Effects?

Healthy StomachMost people taking probiotic supplements do not experience any side effects, other than better digestive health. But for some people whose gut bacteria may have been out of balance for a long time might experience a “transition period” having side effects such as gas, bloating and diarrhea, actually might be aggravated. If ever you are experiencing these side effects, they are just temporary. So better give the probiotics a chance to help you.

What Are The Types of Probiotics?

There are many types of bacteria which are classified as probiotics and have different health benefits, but the most comes from 2 groups:

  • Lactobacillus – This is the most common probiotic which many of you may had heard of. It’s the one which you can find in yogurt & other fermented foods. The different strains help with diarrhea and may also help people have troubles digesting lactose (sugar in milk).
  • Bifidobacterium – Can be found in some dairy products as well. It could help ease symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and other conditions.

What Are Some Facts on Probiotics

Facts about probiotics

What Are Some of The Best Probiotic Foods?

yogurtYogurt – The top probiotic foods is the live culture yogurt, especially if it’s handmade. Preferably, choose the brands that are made from goat’s milk and have been infused with other forms of probiotics such as lactobacillus or acidophilus. The milk of the goat is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals which have better digestibility and also lower “allergenicity” compared to cow’s milk. But take note that not all yogurt is equally made, so be sure to see the list of ingredients when buying.

Kefir – It is a unique cultured dairy food product and is one of the most rich probiotic foods available on the market. Kefir is a fermented milk product which tastes similar to a drinkable yogurt. It is high in lactobacilli & bifidus bacteria. It is also rich in antioxidants. We recommend searching for the organic version when buying.

dark chocolate Dark Chocolate – It is found to be an effective carrier for probiotics. Raw, dark chocolates aid probiotics to survive the extreme pHs in the digestive tract for them to make it to the colon. Due to its protective ability, probiotics could be added to dark chocolates.

Consuming prebiotics or foods which are not digested and feed healthy bacteria, plus the fiber in cocoa can help improve the overall health through changing the polyphenolics in the gut into anti-inflammatory compounds.

Pickles – These are cucumbers which have been pickled in salty water and fermented. Pickled cucumbers are left to ferment for quite some time with their own natural lactic acid bacteria. The process also makes them sour. Although, pickles made using vinegar will not have any probiotic effects.

kimchi Kimchi – A spicy Korean side dish which is fermented. The usual main ingredient is cabbage, but can be made using other vegetables as well.

Kimchi is considered a vegetable probiotic foods (source) which offers health benefits similar as yogurt as a dairy probiotic food product.

 

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