Nowdays everybody has heard of or tried probiotics. They have become very popular over the past 20 years. Many health shops are now storing them and several supplemental companies are specializing exclusively on those.
But… what are Probiotics?
They are referred to as “healthy bacteria” because they have a positive impact on our health. There are trillions of them and most of them are found in our gut. They contribute to reduce the number of harmful bacteria that are trying to colonise our gut. For this reason probiotics play an important role in boosting our immune system.
Probiotics’mode of action is simple and very efficient. They attach to the mucosa and the epithelial layer of our gut and they create a barrier against harmful pathogens. They also have really good antimicrobial functions.
What are their health benefits?
The action of our amazing little friends doesn’t stop to immunity. In fact, probiotics are divided in species, types and strains and each of them having specific purposes. They can contribute to alleviate a range of conditions, such as:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Inflammatory Bowel Symptoms (IBS)
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Cholesterol and blood pressure
- Antibiotc-Associated Diarrhea
- Allergies and atopic dermatitis
- Urinary tract conditions
Deficiency in probiotics can result in a low immune system it is therefore, this can open the door to harmful bacteria and subsequently, ill-health. It’s always better to prevent than to cure, it’s a good idea to include some probiotics in our diet.
Ok so how can we get hold of these amazing guys?
At birth we collect a set of probiotics when we go through the birth canal. This is how a newborn absorbs the healthy bacteria from their mother. However, many people are born through cesarean section and miss this transmission. They might get a lower amount of gut flora at birth which needs to be recolonised to make sure that their immunity is strong.
As an adult, the best way to get probiotics is through fermented foods and drinks.
Examples of fermented foods and drinks
- Milk kefir;
- Alternative milk kefir (nut or coconut);
- Water kefir;
- Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage – pickled cabbage is not fermented);
- Kimchee (contains soya);
- Kombucha tea.
These little guys are sensitive to heat so it’s best not to cook them.
Most organic shops sell fermented foods and drinks. But usually they are expensive. Therefore, I suggest that you try to ferment some foods at home. The fermenting process is really easy, it just needs a little learning and some trial and error to ferment in the way that you prefer.
I find that the easiest fermentation process is milk kefir fermentation (the milk can be cow, goat of nut milk) and water kefir. To know how I make my milk kefir, here’s the link: https://4pnutrition.com/diet/milk-and-nut-kefir/