Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Strong Reasons Why You MUST Include Prebiotics and Probiotics (found in Yogurt) in Your Diet

What are Probiotics ? 

Probiotics are small organisms also called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria”, these are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts present a health benefit on the host.

Probiotics help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines. Nobel laureate Professor Elie Metchnikoff, known as the “father of probiotics,” proposed that ingesting microorganisms could have substantial health benefits for humans. Professor Elie Metchnikoff introduced concept of probiotics in his book on "prolongation of life." 

How do we manufacture yogurt ?
Fermentation of lactose by one or more varieties of bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus thermophilus, and others) produces lactic acid  which turns milk into yogurt and gives it its texture and tangy taste. Those cultures also give yogurt its health-boosting qualities. 

What are examples of Probiotics or Good Bacteria?
Below are some examples of common good bacteria in our food as well as dietary health supplements:

What are the essential benefits of Probiotics ?

Why consume Probiotic Rich Yogurt ?
1. Eat yogurt for stomach disorders - 
  • Relieve Rota-virus diarrhoea and Traveller's diarrhoea, Antibiotic induced diarrhoea : those who consume yogurt regularly are less affected by antibiotics-associated diarrhea. The antibiotics that people take kills both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, leading to stomach discomfort and diarrhea, menstrual cramps, flatulence. The Lactobacillus acidophilus in yogurt cultures produce bacteriocins which restore natural intestinal cultures. Hence yogurt is used for restoring normal bacteria in the intestine after antibiotics, reducing the antibiotic associated side effect, and for treating antibiotic-related diarrhea and acute diarrhoea in children as well as Traveller's diarrhoea. 
  • Helps prevent diarrhea in children. Yogurt formula given as a replacement for milk formula in infants and young children seems to relieve persistent diarrhea.
  • Reduces the effect of bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. 
  • Helps in easing out certain types of food poisoning. 
  • When yogurt is regularly taken in with high fiber diet it can prevent diverticulosis.
2. Combats yeast overgrowth and fungal infection, prevents Thrush and Vaginitis - Thrush is a mouth and throat infection caused by overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast fungus that naturally inhabits the vagina. People who consume 250 grams of live yogurt a day are less likely to be affected by Thrush. Acidophilus supplements are used along with Yogurt for treating thrush. Yogurt is used for treating and preventing vaginal yeast as well as bacteria infections, and for preventing urinary tract infections.

3. Guards the bladder against Urogenital infections - People who regularly consume yogurt are less affected by urinary tract infections.

4. Improves Immune System - Regular yogurt consumption boosts gamma interferon levels which helps our immune system to fight against infectious germs. 
According to the International Journal of Immunotherapy, yogurt with active cultures enhances the body’s immune system by increasing the production of gamma interferon (protein produced by WBC), which play a key role in fighting certain allergies and viral infections. Other studies indicate that yogurt can help prevent gastrointestinal infections (lactic acid helps inhibit the growth of food-borne pathogens, and yogurt cultures produce bacteriocins which restore natural intestinal cultures).

5. Fight against various cancers with its anti-carcinogenic activity - Patients with bladder and colon cancer should consume yogurt to prevent the return of tumors. The acidophilus in yogurt fights against bacteria that creates cancer causing agents.

6. Strengthens your bones and teeth and prevent osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis - It is easily digestible and is richer in calcium than milk. Adults above age 40, especially women, need more calcium as their bones become weak due to aging. 

7. Maintains good oral health, for dental caries and periodontal health -  The healthy bacteria in yogurt helps protect gums and teeth from disease and decay, as well as decreases the oral levels of hydrogen sulfide, which can lead to bad breath. Soothe canker sores. 

8. Lowers serum cholesterol - Taking yogurt that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium and Streptococcus thermophilus seems to lower cholesterol for people with borderline to moderate high cholesterol levels. This type of yogurt is thought to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol but does not raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

9. Food allergies and lactose intolerance - As an alternative to milk, eating yogurt with live cultures seems to improve lactose digestion and lactose lactose tolerance in children and adults who cannot absorb lactose. 

10. Prevents skin infections and atopic eczema 

11. Cystic fibrosis 

12. Enhance oral vaccine administration 

13. Helicobacter pylori infection

Foods rich in Probiotics include

  • Fermented vegetables dishes like Sauerruben (turnips) and sauerkraut (cabbage), are quite popular in north Europe. 
  • Kombucha, a fermented tea thought to originate in Russia or China, is another great source of beneficial bacteria that is also dairy-free. 
  • Water kefir, alternatively known as tibicos and Japanese water crystals, is a probiotic beverage similar to 
  • Kombucha and Ginger Beer (traditional symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts and with powdered ginger and sugar). 
  • Moroccan preserved lemons are naturally fermented without the use of a starter. 
  • Coconut kefir is a probiotic beverage prepared from young coconut water and a starter culture. Sour pickles are the traditional alternative to vinegar pickles and are prepared using a simple solution of unrefined sea salt and clean, chlorine-free water encouraging the growth of lactobacillus, which customarily outcompete pathogenic bacteria. Other sources include dairy products such as yogurt. Recently, hisayama study showed that daily intake of dairy product containing lactic acid is good for periodontal health. 
What are Prebiotics ?  
"A prebiotic is a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-being and health." 

Prebiotics (inulin) are food ingredients that are not digested but rather stay in your bowel and feed and promote the growth of the beneficial gut bacteria, which are crucial to our digestive health and overall well being. Prebiotics are functional food not destroyed while cooking. 

Traditional dietary sources of prebiotics include : 

  • soybeans, 
  • inulin sources (such as Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, and chicory root in their raw form), 
  • raw oats, 
  • unrefined wheat, 
  • unrefined barley, 
  • yacon, 
  • bananas (only 1% by weight),  
  • onions, 
  • garlic (in their raw forms).   

Short-chain prebiotics, e.g., oligofructose act on right side of the colon providing nourishment to the bacteria in that area. Longer-chain probiotics, e.g., Inulin, are predominantly in the left side of the colon. 

Prebiotics have been shown to contribute to gut health in several ways:  

  • Prebiotics feed the probiotics (good bacteria) ingested.  
  • They help repair damage to the lining of the gut.
  • They increase calcium and magnesium absorption.  
  • Provide a healthy soluble fiber to the bowel.  
  • Improve a host’s immune system.
  • Help with balancing colon pH( lowering colon cancer risk) 
  • Aid in remission for Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis  
  • Allow the probiotics to ‘colonize’ in the gut. 

River JOrdan and JOrdan being groovy on the disco floor !

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