What Is Probiotics?
Probiotics are important live microorganisms that are beneficial for human health. They are found in foods and supply the human body with numerous health benefits when they are consumed.
To some people, probiotics are powerful bacteria that can be found in foods and provide the body and brain with numerous benefits.
Some of the benefits of probiotics are; improvement of heart health, improvement of digestive health, and reduction of stress and depression.
Other studies showed that asides from these health benefits of probiotics, you can get healthy and smooth-looking skin from the consumption of foods that contain probiotics.
Probiotics can be found both in foods and in supplements. Foods and supplements are popular sources of probiotics. However, other studies found that probiotics are also present in fermented foods.
In other words, probiotics are super healthy bacteria that can enrich your body and improve your health.
Take a Look at Probiotic-Rich Foods
The following menu contains foods that are rich in probiotic microorganisms and are highly nutritional to human health.
One of the best sources of probiotics in the world is yogurt. Yogurt is a product of fermented milk. The fermentation process is mainly done by friendly and healthy bacteria like lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.
Asides from being a rich source of probiotics, yogurt provides a number of health benefits and is associated with the improvement of certain symptoms. Some of the other health benefits of yogurt include; regulation of blood pressure and the improvement of muscle and bone health.
Sometimes, diarrhea caused by antibiotics in children can be treated with just yogurt and can improve symptoms of irritated bowels in adults.
If you are lactose intolerant, yogurt is absolutely healthy for you. This is possible as a result of the presence of some bacteria that convert lactose into lactic acid, hence the sour taste.
Remember that probiotics are live microorganisms. However, it has been observed over the years that most yogurts do not contain live probiotics anymore, as the living probiotics have been killed during processing. Thus, it is important to go for yogurts that have live probiotics and not dead ones.
In addition to this, read the label of whatever brand of yogurt you are going for before you buy it because some yogurts, despite being tagged low fat, contain loads of sugar. Do not get carried away with the “low fat” tag alone and jump at it. Do well to check the ingredients and see the amount of sugar that it is made up of.
The word kefir is coined from the Turkish word ‘keyif,’ which means to ‘feel good’ after eating.
Kefir is a natural and healthy grain. It is usually added to cow or goat milk in order to make kefir milk drinks. The kefir grain is not the regular cereal grain you are familiar with. It is the combination of yeast and healthy lactic acid bacteria that eventually turns out to look a little bit like cauliflower.
Kefir, just like yogurt, has been found to be associated with many health benefits. Some of the health benefits of kefir milk drink include; improvement of digestive health, protection of the digestive tracts from infections, and can improve bone health.
Kefir is also one of the best sources of probiotics. Compared to yogurt, it offers better benefits. This is as a result of the presence of its yeast and friendly bacteria content, which makes it potent and packed with probiotics.
Just like yogurt, is a perfect and healthy substitute for milk for people who are lactose intolerant.
Sauerkraut is a healthy combination of both shredded cabbage and lactic acid. The shredded cabbage here is fermented by the healthy bacteria in the lactic acid. Being an ancient traditional food that is still in existence today, sauerkraut is more common in Europe than in every other part of the world. Sauerkraut can be used as toppings for sausages or can be eaten alone. It tastes both salty and sour but fulfilling. As long as it is deposited in an airtight container, it can stay for months without getting spoilt. In addition to this, sauerkraut contains high probiotic contents and is also a healthy source of fiber. It also contains healthy vitamins and minerals like; manganese, vitamins C, K, and B, sodium, and iron.
Some antioxidants have also been discovered to be present in sauerkraut. These antioxidants include; zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which are associated with healthy eyes.
When choosing sauerkraut, it is best to go for the unpasteurized sauerkraut, as the pasteurization process kills the healthy, active, and live microorganisms in it.
Tempeh is a food that is common to the people of Indonesia. However, its benefits have made it world-famous, as people discovered it to be a healthy meat substitute. It contains proteins as much as the ones in meats.
Tempeh is a product of soybeans. It is the result of fermented soybeans. The taste of tempeh is earthy and nutty, just like a mushroom. The fermentation of these soybeans adds more benefits to its nutritional profile.
Soybeans are a plant-based food that is high in phytic acid. Phytic acid is a compound that inhibits the absorption of minerals like zinc and iron into the body. However, when the soybeans pass through the fermentation process, the amount of phytic acid in them reduces, thus making tempeh able to allow for the easy and complete absorption of minerals like zinc and iron into the blood.
In addition, the fermentation process provides tempeh with vitamin B12, a nutrient that unfermented soybeans do not have. Also, the same content of vitamin B12 in tempeh is equal to the amount in eggs, dairy, fish, and meat. This benefit makes tempeh a healthy choice of vitamins and protein for vegetarians.
Pickles are otherwise known as ‘pickled cucumber.’ The cucumber here is left to ferment with its own lactic acid bacteria. This fermentation process makes pickled cucumber taste sour. Pickles are great sources of probiotics that protect digestive health.
Pickled cucumber contains low-calorie contents and is a great source of vitamins and minerals. Minerals like vitamin K is an important nutrient required for blood clotting.
It is important to note that pickles have high sodium content. Thus, it is important to eat it with caution. Also, it is advisable to go for pickles that are not made with vinegar, as vinegar kills the live bacteria in pickles made with vinegar.
Kimchi is a dish that is common to the Korean people. It is usually spicy but delicious. The major ingredient that makes up kimchi is cabbage. However, over time, people discovered that other vegetables are as good as cabbage in the preparation of kimchi.
Kimchi is flavored with kitchen spices like; scallion, red pepper, ginger, garlic, and salt. Kimchi contains healthy bacteria that are effective in the preservation of digestive health.
Cabbage-made kimchi is the most common type of kimchi, and it contains minerals and vitamins like riboflavin, vitamin K, and iron.
Buttermilk is fermented drinks that are gotten from milk. There are two types of buttermilk, namely, cultured and traditional. Traditional buttermilk is usually the remnant liquid from the milk-making process. It is only this kind of buttermilk that contains probiotics. It is sometimes referred to as ‘grandma’s probiotic’ by some people.
Countries, where traditional buttermilk is mostly consumed are; Nepal, India, and Pakistan.
Cultured buttermilk, on the other hand, lacks probiotic contents, and thus, is not as healthy as traditional buttermilk.
Asides from its probiotics content, traditional buttermilk has low fat and calorie content and is rich in important minerals and vitamins like riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and calcium.
Certain Kinds of Cheese
Almost all types of cheese pass through the fermentation process. However, this does not make them probiotics rich. Some probiotics survive through the processing stage of certain cheese like cottage, gouda, and cheddar cheese, while they do not survive in some.
Cheese is a remarkable source of protein and a portion of highly nutritious food in terms of certain essential vitamins and minerals. Some vitamin and mineral contents of cheese include; phosphorus, vitamin B12, selenium, and calcium.
In conclusion, probiotics are healthy live bacteria that supply humans with numerous health benefits. They can be found in foods and supplements but are mostly found in some fermented foods.