The good bacteria and its role in health

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

There are many ways to adversely affect gut health: consuming regular sugar-loaded meals, prolonged use or abuse of antibiotics, and not eating adequate fibre rich food. This detrimental blueprint of poor dietary patterns strengthens the harmful bacteria living in the gut and depletes the friendly bacteria, thereby affecting the gut microbiome unfavourably.

 

 

Once the friendly bacteria are depleted, you make yourself more susceptible to inflammation, decreased metabolism, weakened immune system, and a host of illnesses. There's a war raging inside your GI tract and the good bacteria might be losing! It's definitely time to call in reinforcements to fortify the gut microbiome! That’s where the pro-biotics come in!

Fermented foods nurture and support the good bacteria in the GI tract. When the gut microbiome is balanced, you absorb the nutrients from your food better, and consequently your cells function optimally. Well-nourished at a cellular level, you have more energy, your immune mechanism is shored up and you are better able to battle off illnesses. So, step up your use of pro-biotics!

How do pro-biotics help us?

Pro-biotics are live bacterial cultures that are present naturally in fermented foods. It's important to know that not all fermented foods are pro-biotic foods. Fermentation is a process that comprises various elements and components, and consequently has varied outcomes. Only the correct combinations of elements will produce pro-biotics.

3 super pro-biotics you need to load up on

  • The benefits of fermented foods are far-reaching; integrating them in to your weekly line-up will yield wonderful health advantages.

 

  1. Yoghurt: The trendiest pro-biotic around, yoghurt is made by introducing two strains of bacteria - Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, into pasteurized milk. Lactic acid manufactured by the bacteria makes the milk thicken and curdle and forms the creamy dahi. Dahi is your best ally in nourishing your gut microbiome. However, do bear in mind, a lot of store-bought yoghurt is heat-treated after fermentation, and this kills the friendly bacteria, so check the label for ‘live active cultures’ before purchasing. Also keep away from sweetened yoghurt as sugar helps the bad bacteria and not the good ones. Homemade dahi is the best.

 

  1. Cheese: Manufactured by fermentation, not all fermented cheeses contain pro-biotics. Cheddar, Gouda, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Swiss cheese are aged, soft cheeses - they help sustain the friendly bacteria. The previously mentioned two strains of bacteria are added to culture the milk, then they form lactic acid and cause the milk to transform into curds and whey. When you eat a cheese that has been aged for a long period of time, you will have more friendly bacteria in your belly.
  2. Idli: Fermented rice and urad dal are fabulous pro-biotics; and these soft, fluffy steamed cakes are highly beneficial for your gut. Besides the belly benefits, the idli also boasts of providing a generous serving of protein and fibre. Served with a piping hot bowl of sambhar, this meal is a nutritional giant. Tata Sampann Urad Dal is sourced from the finest organic farms and is processed and packaged in a scientific and hygienic manner, providing you with the very best.

Including a variety of fermented foods in to your diet is important to promote the diversity of the flora in your gut. The wonderful benefits of pro-biotics are sweeping and extensive. Doctors emphasize the close relationship between a healthy GI and the rest of the body. Pro-biotics bolster your immune system, promise you a clear skin, guarantee you a better mood, and provide lots of energy. Reinstating a healthy gut microbiome through pro-biotics heals your GI, dials down inflammation in the body, and wards of hordes off diseases and illnesses.

 

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