Commercial probiotics – good but not a must one!

Column Lifestyle : Shaman Hegde

Probiotic is a big and rapidly growing business and are now among the most popular supplements. They are found in the form of tablets, powders, yoghurts in the market. Commercial probiotic Yoghurt is the very common probiotic food widely consumed by the people. With growing awareness about probiotics, we tend to buy the yoghurt ourselves from the shelf without any second thought. And these are mainly targeted for kids.

The term probiotic refers to
dietary supplements and foods that contain ‘beneficial’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria. They improve the health primarily by rebalancing the good microflora in the large intestine. These good bacteria boosts immunity, alleviates symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), enhances the learning process and memory, improves oral hygiene, prevents or treats diarrhoea etc.

The long term usage of antibiotics, consuming too much dietary fat, excess stress, eating too many processed and unhealthy foods, gastrointestinal infection and so on can reduce the number of good bacteria in the digestive system and thus create an imbalance. Consuming a diet rich in probiotics can help in cleaning up of the gut and ensure a healthy life.

In order to improve the probiotic profile of our intestine we tend to buy commercially available yoghurts based on our flavour likings. We just think about the good bacteria present in the yoghurt and completely ignore the other ingredients present.

In recent times, due to low immunity, parents tend to give these yoghurts to kids on daily basis so as to improve the memory and immunity. Usually, commercial yoghurts are loaded with sugars and artificial flavour. Long term intake of these sugars and flavours are bad for our health. More than good bacteria doing good to our health, these ingredients will spoil our health. Long term exposure to high sugar can lead to obesity, early puberty etc.

Not all individuals need these commercial probiotics. Only on medical grounds it’s good to use these commercial probiotics based on doctors’ recommendation.

Of course probiotics are good for health, but then find natural source instead of commercial ones. Our Indian food system has good amount of probiotics in them. Like curds, buttermilk, pickles, kanji, pickled vegetables are good sources of probiotics. Fermented products like kefir, kombucha, sauerkrauts are some of the other products rich in probiotics.

In some parts of India, leftover rice is soaked in buttermilk and left overnight to ferment and eaten the next day. This is a probiotic rich food. Idli, dosa, dhokla batters are considered to be probiotic rich food but on heating the amount of bacteria gets reduced. Hence, not a great source though.

Hence, never go by the advertisements. Buy the commercial probiotic yoghurt only on experts’ recommendation. Consuming natural source regularly is enough to keep our gut healthy.


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