Probiotics, a name which was alien some time back, has now become a familiar one. What exactly are these probiotics?
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Probiotics are live microorganisms which are beneficial for our body. Our stomach harbours millions of microorganisms, both beneficial and harmful. There always is a competition happening in your tummy within these to overpower one another.
When due to external reasons such as eating unhealthy food or contamination through air or water harmful microbes increase in number causing diseases like diarrhoea. These harmful microbes then have to be cleared from your system using antibiotics.
Is Taking Probiotics Good For Your Health?
As mentioned earlier, we have been taking in probiotics from time immemorial in the form of many foods we eat such as yogurt, idlis, paneer, cheese and so on. All the fermented food we take in has live microbes in them and are helpful in increasing the beneficial microbes inside your tummy.
When cheese and yogurt are pasteurised these microbes are lost, and hence these are not as valuable as they were meant to be.
The Bottled Probotics
Nowadays you get probiotics in bottled form, these are said to be live and useful, however one question persists, how is it made to stay without getting contaminated from production till it reaches you?
Bottles and stored products in any form is a big no no, especially for children. If you need any product to stay fit to be consumed after a long period of time then it has to be added with chemicals to keep it free of contamination, or pasteurised or treated with salt or sugar. All these would affect the quality of microbes that are present in the drink.
Best Natural Probiotics
It is always best to give children natural probiotics rather than the bottled ones because
- You do not know what exactly is cultured inside the bottle.
- The bottle would contain anti contaminants in the form of chemical preservatives.
- The added flavours and colours are actually unwanted calories.
Your natural options for probiotics are easily available in the form of the many fermented food we take.
Idli, Dosa, Appam, Paniyaram, Utappam and all those tasty south Indian breakfast form the best sources of natural proiotics. These foods are rich in beneficial microorganisms. Steaming process that is used to make idlis in fact removes the harmful microbes.
Homemade yogurt, paneer, cheese and buttermilk contain live probiotics at their best.
Actually this is a common breakfast again in south India, water is added to the rice made at night to a point where the rice is submerged in the water. Then it is left to ferment at room temperature. On the next morning fresh curd is added to the rice water mixture and consumed with added salt.
This food also commonly seen among Chattisgaris, is a rich source of vitamins B complex and minerals. It has good microbes that are beneficial for your digestion.
Other Foods like Kefir and Sauerkraut and fermented vegetables are also good source of probiotics.