The introduction of the concept of “probiotics” is attributed to Élie Metchnikoff. In his study, he stated that Bulgarian peasants who consumed yogurt lived longer in general. In 1907 he suggested that it was possible to improve gut flora and replace bad bacteria with useful bacteria by eating probiotic foods. Since then, different researchers have proven that probiotics can positively affect various aspects of our health.
We like to introduce you to the idea of probiotics, explain how they can boost your health, and expose you to the unusual sources you can get them from.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have a good impact on a person’s health. A lot of different microorganisms naturally live on and inside our bodies. Actually, microorganisms in our bodies outnumber human cells by 10 to 1. These microorganisms are not necessarily bad for human health, and shouldn’t be considered “nasty germs”.
Probiotics can be found in fermented foods or supplements. Although there is a lack of research on probiotics, existing studies show that the balance or imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system is linked to overall health.
What are the health benefits of probiotics?
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As several studies have shown, probiotics can boost your health in different ways. Health benefits of probiotics include weight loss, digestive health, immune function, etc. Although, remember that no probiotics can replace actual medical treatment.
First of all, probiotics have a really good impact on your digestive system. They can help you get rid of bloating, and deal with IBS, diarrhea, etc. Probiotics have also proven to play a part in boosting the immune system by treating allergies, eczema, viral infections, and potentiating vaccination responses.
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The other possible benefit of probiotics is weight loss. A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition in 2013 showed that probiotics (particularly, Lactobacillus) helped obese women participating in the study to achieve weight loss.
Not only do probiotics improve your digestive system, but they can also repair your mental health. A recent study showed that an intake of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains for 1–2 months helped people to deal with anxiety, depression, autism, and OCD — it even boosted memory.
Sources of probiotics
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For a long time, we thought that the only source of probiotics could be found in yogurt. But there are actually other probiotic foods you might want to try.
Kombucha is a fermented tea filled with different bacterias such as Saccharomyces and Gluconacetobacter xylinus. It also contains vitamin B. Kombucha has a lot of health benefits including boosting the digestive and immune systems.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a lot of amazing properties and contains probiotics. Don’t forget that it’s acidic, so it’s better not to take it in shots. You can add ACV in your food to avoid suffering from side effects.
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Pickles are another probiotic food you can replace yogurt with. Pickled cucumbers can improve digestive health. This type of food is low in calories and contains vitamin K. Pickles are also high in sodium.
Sauerkraut and kimchi
Both sauerkraut and kimchi are made of fermented cabbage and contain lactic bacteria. You can try adding these foods to your sandwiches from time to time. They are also low in calories and have a longer shelf life.
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Kefir is a fermented milk product and is a good alternative to yogurt. Kefir is high in probiotics and protein. You can drink it as it is or add it to your smoothies.
Miso is a fermented soybean-based product and is a popular Japanese seasoning. It’s a great source of probiotics, vitamins, fiber, and protein. The most popular dish using miso seasoning is miso soup.
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Cheese is a basically a fermented product, although not all sorts of cheese contain probiotics. The types of cheese that are really high in probiotics are Gouda, cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and cottage cheese.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that originates from Insonesia. It became more popular worldwide due to its amazing properties that can be a substitute for meat. It’s a great source of protein, probiotics, and vitamin B12. Tempeh would be a great addition to any diet, especially a vegetarian one.
Do you consume any of these probiotic foods regularly? Have you seen any improvement in your health? Let us know your opinion in the comments below