|What are Probiotics|
|What are Probiotic Benefits|
|Homemade Probiotics Drinks|
|Other Homemade Probiotic Foods|
|The Bottom Line|
By now, most of us have heard about probiotic foods. They are widely advertised on social media and you may have come across videos of health experts talking about the need of including probiotics in your diet. The most important among probiotic benefits is its effect on our digestive system. Apart from providing a terrific solution for digestion and metabolism, probiotic benefits extend to improving your immunity. Let us look at what probiotics are, why you need them, and then proceed to a probiotic drinks list.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics is an umbrella term for microorganisms (bacteria or yeasts) that are beneficial to your health. When we think of bacteria, infections and antibiotics (to kill bacteria) come to mind. But there are some bacteria that are actually crucial for your health. These bacteria help to fight off bad bacteria and ensure that your body is in its peak working condition.
Probiotics or “good bacteria” live inside your body. They can be found in your intestines, urinary tract, vagina, mouth, lungs, and even on your skin. Probiotics are a part of your body’s microbiome. Notably, microbiome is the sum total of all the different live microscopic organisms living inside your body, including protozoa and viruses. When your microbiome is in the right balance, you are healthy and able to function at your best.
What are Probiotic Benefits?
Chief among probiotics benefits is that these good bacteria help maintain the microbiome balance in your body. This is why your body stays in neutral mode. Here is a closer look at probiotic benefits.
As probiotics keep your gut flora in balance, this helps increase your digestive powers. Probiotics are particularly helpful at metabolising and breaking down lactose. Foods like milk, cheese, and desserts made from milk often trigger indigestion and acidity. But if there are enough probiotics in your system, then you will easily be able to digest these lactose-rich foods. You will no longer have to complain about bloating.
Probiotic benefits also include relief from diarrhoea and constipation. Also, by properly digesting your food, probiotics benefit your health because your body is able to make use of all the nutrients in the food items and drinks you consume.
Probiotics keep the growth of bad bacteria in check. Probiotics also help in the creation of T lymphocytes and IgA-producing cells. These cells are your immunity cells that are responsible for destroying any harmful bacteria or viruses that enter your body. Further, probiotics help break down medicines and aid the body to absorb the ingredients of medicines quickly to expedite the effects.
Moreover, probiotics benefit your health by supporting those cells that line your intestines. This way, even if you have ingested dangerous bacteria through your food or drinks, they will not seep into your bloodstream and travel to the rest of your body.
Homemade Probiotics Drinks
If you are always in a hurry or want something that is really easy on the stomach, then give homemade probiotic drinks a try. Some of the homemade probiotic drinks we are going to suggest may seem very exotic and new but trust us – they taste delicious and will do your digestive system a world of good.
1. Indian Buttermilk
This is a drink that all Indians are familiar with and have consumed at least once in their lifetime. Indian buttermilk is a little different from what is meant by buttermilk internationally but this homemade probiotic drink is super healthy and easy to prepare. You just need water, curd, and mint leaves.
Traditionally, it is prepared after removing butter from curd or you can simply add 3-4 tablespoons of curd to a glass of water and stir. You can use a hand whisk to produce a smooth and frothy drink. Finely chop a few mint leaves and sprinkle on top. Not only the benefits of probiotics but this drink also provides you with the goodness of mint. This drink is classically served after a meal because buttermilk (‘chaas’) helps to quickly break down food.
2. Pineapple Tepache
This is a Mexican drink that is tangy and delicious. All you will need are pineapple, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
Add the brown sugar to some water and let it dissolve and pour it into a pot. Peel your pineapple and cut it into small strips and submerge them in your brown sugar solution. Add a stick of cinnamon as well. Cover the pot with a cloth. Let the pot and its contents sit for 24-36 hours. By now, fermentation would take place. This fermented drink is loaded with probiotics and is terrific for kickstarting your digestion for the day when consumed early in the morning.
3. Ginger Drink
This homemade probiotic drink is very similar to pineapple tepache. Here, you can substitute the pineapple with ginger.
Peel a stick of ginger, cut it into thin slices and place them into a large bowl of brown sugar solution. Spices are usually not added to this mixture. But if you want to enhance the flavour, then you can add the spices of your choice. You need to cover the bowl with a dishcloth and let the fluid ferment for at least a day before consuming it.
Other Homemade Probiotic Foods
Just like in our bodies, probiotics also exist in certain foods. The probiotic benefits in homemade food are that you can increase the population of probiotics in your body. This is especially helpful at a time when you are under stress or recovering from an illness. Homemade probiotics ought to be consumed if you are taking antibiotics because they not only kill bad bacteria but also your good gut bacteria.
Homemade probiotics include:
- Kimchi (A simple Korean fermented cabbage dish)
- Certain types of cheese like gouda, cheddar, and mozzarella
Fermented foods are replete with probiotics. So, even though you may have your doubts about consuming frothy smelly drinks, they are actually extremely beneficial for your digestive system. The more good bacteria you have in your gut, the more easily you will digest food. On top of that, your body will be better able to absorb the required nutrients.
The Bottom Line
Improved digestion also means regular bowel movement. The probiotic benefits cover both the digestive and excretory systems. So, try to include these homemade probiotic drinks as well as some probiotic foods in your everyday diet.