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What Are Probiotics? What Health Benefits Do Probiotics Offer?

What are probiotics? Health benefits of probiotics and side effects of probiotics. Check out the best food sources of probiotics.

Recently there’s a buzz around the health and health food circle about probiotics. People want to eat more probiotics foods and supplements for better health. But what are actually probiotics and what health benefits probiotics offer?

Introduction to Probiotics: What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are known as good bacteria because it is believed that they help to improve the overall health. Probiotics are microorganisms which protect body from harmful bacteria. These are live bacteria found in the human gut. There are more than five hundred different types of bacteria in the human digestive system and these bacteria helps to keep intestinal linings healthy and improve the immune system. It is important that these good bacteria remain undisturbed because if they become agitated then digestive disorders can occur.  

In the situation where good bacteria become agitated for some reasons and digestive disorder arises, probiotics improves the intestinal function and resolve the digestive problems. So, basically probiotics are living bacteria that people eat to strengthen the ability of good bacteria in the gut and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. In this way probiotics help to keep a good balance between good and bad bacteria and also help to keep the lining of the intestines healthy.

  Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Food Sources of Probiotics

Probiotics can be found in many foods and in dietary supplements as well. Although taking supplements is quite convenient but eating probiotics rich foods is always a better option. Because taking supplements for a long time is not a very good idea.

Here is a list of a few food sources of probiotics:

  • Yogurt – Probably the best sources of probiotics
  • Acidophilus milk – Milk fermented with Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria
  • Other fermented milk – fermented milk that is not gross
  • Kefir – A fermented milk using lactobacillus kefiranofaciens and lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus bacteria
  • Tempeh – Made
  • Miso – Made by fermenting soybean, barley, brown rice, and other grains with a fungus known as aspergillus oryzae
  • Natto – A type of fermented soybeans
  • Kimchi – Fermented Korean dish with cabbage or radishes
  • Sauerkraut – A fermented cabbage contains microbes such as leuconostoc, pediococcus, and lactobacillus.

 

 

Health Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics offer some health benefits. The major health benefits of probiotics or probiotics rich foods are:

  • Probiotics are very helpful in the treatment and prevention of diarrhoea. They soothe the stomach and reduce the duration of diarrhoea. Probiotics inhibit the side effects of anti-biotics. They are good for controlling gas and lactose intolerance.
  • Probiotics reduce the growth of bad or unfriendly bacteria. They are very helpful to keep a good balance between good and bad bacteria. Thus keep the intestinal linings healthy and prevent from infections.
  • Probiotics are good for relieving Irritable bowel syndrome and Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • They are good to ease vaginal infection and urinary tract infections as well.
  • Probiotics can reduce the risk of bladder cancer. It is said that probiotics reduce the development of tumours and the cancer causing substance- carcinogen.
  • Probiotics can prevent and treat allergies. In the children probiotics can enhance the production of antibodies and boost the immunity. So probiotics rich food can protect children from allergies in the later stages of their life. Also, probiotics can prevent and treat eczema in children.
  • Probiotics can be helpful in reduction of blood pressure levels.

Side Effects of Probiotics

The whole subject of probiotics is still under scientific research. Although, it can be safely said that probiotics have some health benefits but the matter of the side effects has not been thoroughly studied scientifically so far. But at this moment it can be said that probiotics side effects are normally mild such as gas or bloating. In the more serious cases it can cause unhealthy metabolic activities. People who are suffering from certain disease or health condition should consult doctor before eating probiotics foods and supplements. Also, if anyone experiences negative effects of having probiotics foods should consult with health care professional.

Sources:

http://intestinaldysbiosis.com/probiotics

http://www.dairycouncilofca.org/pdfs/probiotics.pdf

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features

http://www.highveld.com/pages/what-are-probiotics.html

http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics

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Comments (7)
Ranked #1 in Nutrition

I agree with you about yogurt, well done Sourav.

Excellent work

Excellent information to vote up.

Good article- voted, dugg, SU, Twt/d

Nice Share. voted. Hope for your support with me too.

Excellent work.

Very interesting and informative post. Probiotics are necessary today. Thank you Sourav. Please add me to your friends' list and support.

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