I am sure you all hear a lot about probiotics these days. But are you all aware of the reasons behind it? Many of my clients ask different questions related to probiotics as they are not fully aware of the real health benefits of probiotics. So, I am sharing a few common questions about probiotics and the answers to them.
Common questions about probiotics –
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are living microorganisms like bacteria or yeast which reside in our body. They are also called friendly bacteria as they are present naturally in our gut or digestive tract. They help in keeping your digestive health in good condition and therefore helps to boost immunity.
Sometimes, you have to take them from outside in the form of drinks, foods which are naturally a good source of probiotics. The type of probiotic present here is similar to the bacteria present in your gut.
What are the health benefits of probiotics?
The trick is to maintain a balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut. When this balance is not maintained, it impacts your digestive health. The reasons can be different conditions like If you are travelling or not able to take a proper diet for any reason or suffering from an illness in which you are taking heavy medicines etc.
Probiotics help to maintain the balance of bacteria and helps the digestive system to run smoothly. It helps keep your immune system strong and boosts nutrient absorption too. It also increases good bacteria in your stomach.
What are the natural and other sources of probiotics?
As mentioned before, probiotics are naturally present in our gut but you have to take it from outside to boost digestive health. The natural sources or the food sources are curd or yoghurt, fermented foods like idlis, dosas and dhokla, olives, pickles, buttermilk, kimchi, and sauerkraut etc. These days there are many fortified products available in the market which have probiotics in them, like juices, drinks like Yakult and nutrition bars, dietary supplements too.
Why are the benefits of probiotics for kids?
During the early years, many kids are fussy eaters and as a result, they do not eat a good diet. Therefore, they do not receive optimum nutrition from their diet. You can supplement kids with probiotics and it can help in improving their immunity to problems like common cold etc. It also helps to reduce respiratory problems and common skin problems like eczema. It’s better to include natural sources like a bowl of curd every day in your kid’s meals.
There are supplements available for infants to help with colic and common digestive problems. You can contact your doctor regarding which supplements to take as age-appropriate ones are available in the market.
What is the difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics?
Although they both help in maintaining good gut health, they are not the same. Probiotics are living friendly bacteria which are similar to those that already inhabit our digestive tract. On the other hand, Prebiotics are the part of the food we eat that help good bacteria once they reach our intestine. They help good bacteria to flourish and grow. For example, onions, legumes, garlic and cabbage etc. contain them. A combination of both ensures good gut health.
How much quantity of probiotics you need every day?
It varies according to age and condition. You must check with your doctor before starting any supplements from outside.
How to choose a probiotic containing product?
To help you choose a probiotic containing product, check these things on the pack – Supports digestive health, the label information like strain and dose, claims that there was a research. Also, the food labels must include strain listed in ingredients, health benefits and a mention of probiotic.
Probiotics in food or probiotics in medicine?
Normally the probiotic in food is enough if you take a healthy diet with natural sources like fruits, vegetables, curds etc. But if you are travelling and you know you are going to eat from outside, or suffering from a lot of digestive tract issues, you must include the supplements in your diet. You can have it from the common fermented foods otherwise.
What are the essential conditions or diseases when probiotics help?
Travelling and eating outside food
Any digestive problems like Chron’s disease or Irritable bowel syndrome etc.
What are probiotic supplements?
Probiotic supplements are just live microorganisms which are easily available in the market. They are not categorised as a medicine as such. I recently got a chance to attend a bloggers meet by Dupont on HOWARU premium probiotics. It was a very insightful session on the pros and cons of using probiotics. We explored the health benefits of HOWARU premium probiotics and it was an event to educate and spread awareness about goodness and health benefits of these probiotics. Dupont Danisco products are also known as HOWARU and these are formulations and supplements which can be added to any food products like dairy products, beverages and frozen products etc.
It was an informative session about science and benefits of probiotics. Many common questions about probiotics were answered by experts.