Thousands of bacterial species live in the human body, and many provide health benefits to humans. The helpful bacteria present in the digestive tract not only improve the digestive system but are really beneficial for improving overall health. They help reduce gas problems, maintain good cholesterol levels, aid the regulation of hormone levels, help in the formation of vitamins, aid in the production of the enzyme lactase and also boost the immune system.
Probiotics are bacteria that play an important role in controlling the activities of organisms in the intestines. Various factors like stress, medications, environmental toxins and a diet filled with preservatives can deplete the number of these beneficial bacteria. This depletion in beneficial bacteria can cause gut dysbiosis by upsetting delicate balance in the guts.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are organisms like bacteria or yeast that are really beneficial to our health. The normal human digestive tract contains over 400 types of probiotics that initiate a healthy digestive system and also help lower the growth of harmful bacteria. The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most significant probiotic bacteria that can be found in the mouth, intestine and vagina. It has been proven that probiotics play an important role in treating problems in the stomach and intestine.
Amazing Health Benefits of Consuming Probiotics Rich Foods
Although it is well known that including probiotics in your daily diet either through foods or supplements helps in improving digestive functions, it also has several other health benefits that we hardly know about.
It has been proven that the brain sends signals to the gut; which is why different types of emotions and stress can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. Brain function is notable different among women who consumed probiotics in yogurt. Women consuming probiotics present better connectivity between significant brainstem regions called the periaqueductal grey and areas of the prefrontal cortex and they experience less activity in both the insula and the somatosensory cortex.
The somatosensory system is a complex sensory system. The processing primarily occurs in the primary somatosensory area in the parietal lobe of the cerebral cortex and information is sent via sensory nerves to the brain.
Probiotics health benefits mainly include improvement of the digestive system. Diarrhea describes bowel movements that are loose and watery. It causes fever, irritation, loss of skin elasticity, absence of saliva, sunken abdomen and eyes. Diarrhea, which is one of the common side effects of antibiotics, can be reduced through consumption of natural yogurt, the best probiotics supplement. Antibiotics can disrupt the delicate microbial balance in the intestine, but it has been proven that the balance can be restored through probiotics that lowers the chance of diarrhea.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is known as bad cholesterol because they can transport their content of fat molecules into artery walls resulting in clogged arteries and can increase the chance of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to chest pain, heart attacks and strokes.
It has been proven that Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 helps lower the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 aids immensely to maintain healthy cholesterol metabolism, and promotes healthy lipid metabolism too.
Infection is caused by the invasion of host organism’s body tissue by disease causing microorganisms that lead clinically to evident illness. The symptoms of infection include fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, night sweats, aches and pains. Probiotic bacteria protect our body from the attack of bacterial infections. Lactobacillus salivarius prevents listeria infection. Lactobacillus salivariusIt is a highly effective probiotic bacterium that improves our digestive system and also promotes the growth of beneficial organisms.
Best Natural Food Sources of Probiotics
There is a wide range of probiotic supplements that help in increasing the number of healthy micro-organisms in the gut, but it is always better to consume natural probiotics rich foods such as yogurt and kefir for better results.
Yogurt is one of the most well known natural food sources of probiotics. Good bacteria like lactobacillus helps immensely to keep a healthy balance in your gut. Yogurt is a semisolid food prepared from bacterial fermentation of milk.
It is a great source of protein, calcium, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium. It prevents osteoporosis, colon cancer, reduces blood pressure, prevents vaginal infection, and reduces the problems of constipation and diarrhea.
Natural food sources of probiotics include miso soup. Miso soup is a Japanese soup containing a stock called “dashi” into which miso paste is mixed. “Dashi” is the stock used in Japanese cooking that is made by boiling dried kelp and fish. Miso soup is a complete protein which contains all amino acids.
It stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach, restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines, helps in the assimilation and digestion of other foods in the intestine, strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid and lowers risk of cancer – namely breast, prostrate, lung and colon cancers.
Almost every probiotics food list includes sauerkraut, which is finely cut cabbage. Various probiotic bacteria ferment it, like leuconostoc, lactobacillus and pedicoccus. It is a good source of Vitamin C. The presence of antioxidants in Vitamin C helps protect cells from free radicals. If free radicals are not neutralized, they damage healthy cells causing inflammation that leads to chronic diseases.
Vitamin C reduces skin wrinkling and protects our body from cancer, stroke and the common cold. Sauerkraut prevents cancer, and is also very effective in the treatment of ulcers.
Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made by tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast, and contains a high amount of healthy gut bacteria. It boosts the immune system, prevents cancer and helps improve liver and digestive functions. It is rich in B vitamins. The B Vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins, also known collectively as B complex Vitamins that play major roles in improving immune system and nervous system function.
Each B vitamin has specific functions, but they all work together as well to maintain a healthy life. B complex Vitamins increase beauty by improving the state of our hair, skin, and nails. Vitamin B12 helps regulate our skin’s pigment production and prevents hyperpigmentation.
Kefir is a drink made from cow’s milk and kefir grains. Kefir grains are a symbiotic culture of yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria. It originates from the Caucaus mountains in Eastern Europe, and the name comes from the Turkish word “keif” which means good feeling. Kefir is a great source of calcium and antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals that transfer electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent, and can prevent or slow cell damage.
Antioxidants protect the body by controlling the production of free radicals that can be the main reason of damage or death to the cell. Free radicals are atoms or group of atoms with an odd number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with a certain molecule. After formation, these free reactive radicals start a chain reaction which can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants can interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged as well as inhibit other oxidation reactions.
Pickles improve intestinal tract health, boost our immune system, improve availability of nutrients, decrease allergies and help immensely to protect our healthus from microbial infections. Various types of infections caused by microbes include common cold, flu, pneumonia, tuberculosis and vaginal infections. It reduces the risk of colon cancer and symptoms of flu and cold, as well as reduces the level of high blood pressure and prevents stroke and heart attack.
Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans. It produces a natural antibiotic which helps us immensely to fight against various kinds of diseases. It is a good source of protein, Vitamin K, folate, magnesium, iron and fiber. Vitamin K regulates the process of blood clotting and bone mineralization. It also plays a pivotal role in maintaining bone density, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Folate is vital for the development of red blood cells and plays an important role in many bodily functions including cell repair and maintenance, DNA synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and the formation of leukocytes and erythrocytes.
Now that you know the natural food sources of probiotics and their incredible health benefits include them in your daily diet and don’t forget to share your health tips with us.
Image Sources: recovery-corner.blogspot.in, mindbodygreen.com, prabar.blogspot.in, dailyhealthpost.com, e-health101.com.