Probiotic Foods - What They Are, and Their Health Benefits
The idea of eating probiotic foods is becoming more and more popular. In fact, you hear about the health benefits of probiotics all the time.
So what are probiotics and what are the benefits of eating it? In addition, what foods contain probiotics?
Basically, probiotics are live microorganisms that are comparable to the live bacteria which can be found in the human digestive system. They are sometimes referred to as "good bacteria". The bacteria is considered to be beneficial and not harmful, hence the reason it is called "pro" and "good".
You can find probiotics in different types of food, as well as in dietary supplements. They used to be common in acidophilus milk, but now you can find them in other types of food as well. Yogurt is one of the most popular foods that contain probiotics. Other foods that could contain probiotics include sauerkraut, kefir, some soft cheese, pickles, and miso soup.
So what health benefits do probiotic foods contain? In some cases, they can be beneficial to the colon and intestinal health. Some studies indicate that probiotics might help curb diarrhea when taking antibiotics, as well as lower the risk of yeast infections in women. Other health benefits include an improved immune system, a decrease in eczema, and a decrease in childhood asthma and allergies.
Some people might experience some side effects when first eating probiotic foods. These can include flatulence, mild upset stomach, and diarrhea. In addition, some people might experience an allergic reaction or an intolerance to some probiotic supplements. However, for the most part, it is tolerated very well.
Yogurt is probably the most familiar probiotic food. Yogurt is typically made from milk and contains either Lacobarcillus bulgaricus or Lacobarcillus acidophilus. Yogurt comes in many forms and flavors and can even come in beverage form.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that not all yogurt is beneficial. If the yogurt has been pasteurized, for instance, the good bacteria will be killed. If you are eating yogurt to get the probiotic benefits, then you need to check the label to make sure that it says that it has live and active cultures.
Kefir is another food that can contain probiotics. It can be made from sheep's milk, goat's milk, or cow's milk. It can also come from milk producing plants like rice, soy, and coconut. The milk is then propagated with kefir grains, which are a mixture of bacteria, yeast, and lactose. In taste and texture, kefir is comparable to yogurt.
Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is also a probiotic food. Bacteria do not need to be added to cabbage in order to start the fermentation process, unlike foods that have a dairy base. The only thing that needs to be added is salt. If you purchase commercially fermented cabbage, however, it has probably been pasteurized, which means that the friendly bacteria will have been destroyed.
Sometimes, you can find probiotics in salted gherkins and brine-cured olives. However, if they are big, commercial brands, then it is more than likely that the bacteria have already been destroyed. Still, you can keep your eye out for those that do not contain sodium benzoate. In addition, sometimes, the organic varieties will contain the probiotics.
So these are some examples of probiotic foods which can help improve your health. To learn more about probiotics, read the other related probiotics articles and pages.
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