The meaning of Probiotics is ‘promoting life’. In Greek, ‘Pro’ means promote, and ‘Bio’ means life.
Probiotics are different strains of live bacteria and yeasts that exist in the human body and help in daily bodily functions. We tend to think of bacteria as disease causing organisms. And yes, some of them do cause illness. But, our body is also home to good bacteria that are necessary to keep us healthy.
How does it keep us healthy?
Probiotics help create a balance of homeostasis, mainly in the gut. They help in keeping the gut healthy and are an essential part of the digestive process.
They are also present in the vaginal tract and help fight yeast infections.
Some common ailments that probiotics protect us from include:
– IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome
– IBD or Inflammatory bowel disease
– Diarrhea caused by infection
– Diarrhea caused by antibiotics
They are also said to help with:-
– Skin problems like eczema
– Urinary and vaginal health
– Prevention of allergies and colds
– Oral health
When do we need probiotic supplements?
Sometimes, some kind of illnesses or a type of medication could kill the good bacteria in the body. This causes an imbalance in the homeostasis of the body and can result in digestive problems.
If this happens, the good bacteria in the body need to be replaced. If it is a severe problem, you may be given a strong dose of probiotics. If it is a mild problem, having probiotic supplements will help replace the good bacteria in your body.
The bacteria and yeast that your body needs is present in many kinds of food and if eaten regularly can help maintain the necessary level of good bacteria in the body.
Types of probiotics
Lactobacillus – Bacteria found in curd and fermented food. It helps with digestion and is good for people who are lactose intolerant.
Bifidobacterium– Bacteria found in dairy products. It can help decrease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Saccharomyces boulardii – Yeast that helps in diarrhea and digestive problems.
Best natural probiotics for Indian diet:
– Fermented Vegetables
Fermented rice and lentils including:
There are many types of manufactured probiotics available in the market too. Your doctor and nutritionist should be able to help ensure that you have a healthy level of bacteria in your gut.