The concept of probiotics or probiotic food is a fairly nascent introduction to the Indian mindsets, however, they have been a part of Indian diets since almost time immemorial. Once again, we have waited for this kind of food group to trend elsewhere in the West before we have realized just how much closer to home it already is and how a lot of our natural and healthy foods are all probiotic in nature. To understand probiotic food better and their benefits on the human body, it is important to understand what probiotics are.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are nothing but a combination of live bacteria, fungi, and yeasts, viruses, and protozoa that multiply naturally in the human body. Sounds gross, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because we have a habit of viewing bacteria under a negative spectrum as something that is disease and illness spreading. The truth in actuality is of course very different.
There are primarily two kinds of bacteria constantly coexisting in and on the human body and they are divided into two macro groups; namely good bacteria and bad bacteria. While bad bacteria lessens your immunity and is the primary source of body infections, good bacteria or otherwise known as probiotics help keep the body healthy and working well. One of the primary roles of good bacteria is to consistently fight the bad bacteria and not allow them to multiply beyond a particular level. This phenomenon helps you to stay healthy and well and fight off common infections and illnesses that are otherwise caused by unhealthy lifestyles, changes in the climate, and so on.
Several parts of the human body house good bacteria or microbes including the large intestine, gut, mouth, the urinary tract, lungs, and even skin. The two most common types of probiotic bacteria are known as Lactobacillus and Bifid bacterium. Good yeasts in the body are another source of probiotics and the more common type found within our systems is known as Saccharomyces Boulardii.
What Are Some of the Probiotic Food Benefits?
Probiotic foods are foods that are made of or are rich in good bacteria. As we already know the primary function of good bacteria in the body is to maintain a healthy balance and curb the spread of bad bacteria. This balancing act happens all the time naturally in a healthy body and ideally should not need any external probiotic supplements to be consumed for it to work. Eating a well-balanced diet with fiber-rich food content every day should produce enough good bacteria in the body to help optimize health and wellness.
Probiotics or Good bacteria also have certain other functions apart from just fighting bad bacteria. These are:
List of Indian Probiotic Foods and How They Help:
- Supports your immune function.
- Controls inflammation.
- Help with food digestion.
- Creates natural vitamins sources.
- Supports the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria from entering the bloodstream.
- Breaks down and absorbs medications better.
India probiotic foods and how do they help
The natural Indian diet is especially rich in fiber allowing it to be also high in probiotic goodness. The best part about Indian foods is that it allows you to consume probiotic-rich edibles naturally which means you do not have to spend ridiculous sums of money on aggressively marketed probiotic products from your local supermarket.
Dahi, chaas, lassi are all amazing sources of probiotics and can be accompanied by almost every kind of Indian meal and are suited ideally for the Indian palate. Probiotics in dahi are also extremely beneficial for the usual Indian digestive system. Experts will tell you that instead of consuming curd from tetra packs, it is always more beneficial when it is made at home after it has been allowed to ferment for about 24 hours.
A traditional drink found up North especially in Punjab; this yummy gruel is made of black carrots, mustard seeds, sea salt, and water. It is left to ferment for up to a week leading to the growth of good bacteria. This savory porridge is very high in probiotics but also has a lot of salt which means it needs to be consumed in moderation.
This soft fluffy and moist Gujarati staple is a fan favorite across the length and breadth of the country too. Dhoklas are prepared using a batter of fermented besan, daal, or rice. Some recipes also propagate the use of dahi which is already a natural probiotic.
Paneer is an excellent source of protein that does not contain a higher volume of fat. About 100 grams of paneer contains 11 grams of protein. Paneer is also an excellent source of calcium and very important for the development of your bones and teeth. This delicious and soft cottage cheese is also supposed to be very good for cardiovascular health and is often the hero ingredient in parties and ceremonies in North Indian feasts.
Idlis and Dosa
Who in India can resist hot fluffy idli dunked in chutney and sambhar and an equally crisp and deliciously mouth-watering dosa? These South Indian staples are cooked by fermenting rice and urad daal, making them a rich source of live cultures of good bacteria or probiotics. It also helps that both are not very high in calories making them the ideal breakfast, meal, or snack depending on when you like having them.
We hope we have been able to help you understand all that you need to know about probiotic foods and how they help the body fight illness and infection caused by bad bacteria. This list will help you have a ready reckoner every time you feel you need to nourish your loved ones and yourselves with some much-wanted probiotic goodness.