Pro-biotic is living microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. They are also called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria”.
Probiotics have been defined as live microbial feed supplements that beneficially affect the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance. Most often, the probiotic bacteria’s come from two groups, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.
What are the sources of probiotics & what are the benefits they provide?
Yogurt is the primary food source containing probiotic. L. acidophilus is added to milk after pasteurization to convert milk into yogurt through a process called fermentation. Processing and heating yogurt after fermentation can kill the live bacteria so products must be handled properly to ensure live cultures.
Other sources of probiotics include:
- Aged cheese
- Beer (microbrews)
- Cottage cheese
- Pickled ginger
- Pickles (brine-cured, without vinegar)
What are the health benefits of consuming probiotics?
- Some of the beneficial effects of probiotic consumption include synthesizing and enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients and reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance (milk allergy)
- Probiotic therapy helps people with gastrointestinal problems ranging from diarrhoea to constipation, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Probiotic foods help boost the immune system because they provide the energy source for the cells in the gut that are associated with immunity.
- They are useful in treating urinary tract infections by promoting growth of healthy bacteria
- Introduction of L. acidophilus into the diet can lower the incidence of chemically induced colon tumors by inhibiting growth of organisms that support cancer cell proliferation (increase in number)
- Studies have shown that feeding of specific strains of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria delay the progression of obesity and diabetes, suggesting that probiotic-mediated modulation of gut flora can be a potential therapy against obesity and diabetes
It’s a common misconception that all bacteria or micro organims are harmful for health. There are several bacteria which help your body function smoothly!
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