PROBIOTICS, THESE FRIENDLY BACTERIA WE REALLY NEED
Here is the second part of the topic ‘our gut health’. Last month we’ve been talking about Fiber and this month we would like to introduce Probiotic, and specifically one of its most powerful sources, Kefir.
What are Probiotics?
The term literally means ‘for life’ in Greek and it refers to live bacteria. Most of the bacteria in the human system are good bacteria. They are essential to keep you alive and kicking. Out of the many hundreds of kinds of bacteria that live inside of you, many of them are in your gut. That’s because the gut is where most of your immune system is located. You need the good bacteria to overcome the bad ones. As long as that happy balance remains inside, things are fine.
Why do we need Probiotics?
In earlier times, when fermentation was one of the main methods for the preservation of food, the intake of probiotic bacteria was high. Today the use of freezers, refrigerators, the pasteurization of food like dairy products and the use of different kinds of preservatives have replaced fermentation as a method for the preservation of food. The intake of probiotic bacteria, which is important for maintaining a healthy intestinal environment and immune system, has dramatically decreased.
What Probiotics do?
Your body can well tolerate a small percentage of bad bacteria. The good ones keep them in check and don’t allow them to get out of hand. However, when you fall ill or you have an infection and even when you have had a course of antibiotics, it could upset this balance and there aren’t enough of good bacteria to protect you inside. That’s when you need extra fighting power. You need to repopulate your gut with the good so they can bring your body back to a balanced state.
How to get Probiotic?
Probiotic can be found in some foods such as fresh natural yogurt, kimchee, tempeh, miso, aged cheese, sauerkraut or in supplement. But the most powerful source of Probiotic is natural Kefir.
What is Kefir?
Kefir is a fermented milk similar to yoghurt. It is one of the oldest cultured milk products in existence, enjoying widespread popularity in Russia and the Caucasus and revered for its health promoting properties. Kefir grains are complex symbiotic colony containing more than 35 probiotic bacteria proven highly beneficial to humans. In terms of its benefits, kefir milk contains a wide range of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, which are good for our digestion. Kefir is also rich in vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamins B2 and B12, K, D and A as well as magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. It is high in amino acids too and thanks to the many enzymes that it contains, Kefir is also very easy to digest.
Kefir benefits suggested by scientific evidence:
• Certain probiotics in kefir are believed to protect against infections. This includes the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir. Studies demonstrate that this probiotic can inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori and E. coli. Kefiran, a type of carbohydrate present in kefir, also has antibacterial properties.
• Improves bone health and lower the risk of osteoporosis: Full-fat kefir is a great source of calcium but also vitamin K2, which has been shown to reduce your risk of fractures by as much as 81%
• Increases the flow of digestive juices and stimulate the wave-like motion of the large intestine known as peristalsis. This may make kefir effective in cases of constipation.
• People claim to have used kefir to help them with many different health problems including digestive disorders (such as colitis, diarrhea, reflux, leaky gut syndrome food intolerance symptoms, allergies (asthma and eczema), intestinal candida and may more.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.
References: mamakefir.com, healthline.com