What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria, naturally present in the digestive tract, which confer health benefits to the body. They help keep your digestive system healthy by reducing the levels of harmful disease-causing bacteria in your gut. Probiotics can also be obtained from certain foods and supplements. These replenish the naturally present bacteria lost after taking antibiotics and restore the balance in the digestive system.
Benefits of Probiotics
Some of the other health benefits of probiotics include:
- Preventing and treating various digestive tract conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcers, chronic stomach inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and acid reflux
- Reducing the duration of infectious diarrhea, and recurrence of the bladder and colorectal cancer
- Breakdown of lactose (milk sugar) in lactose-intolerant patients
- Enhance absorption of nutrients by combating the effects of a poor diet and stress
- Strengthen the immune system
To maintain a healthy gut, it is highly recommended to incorporate probiotics into your diet. Dietary sources of probiotics include yogurt, soy products, fermented and unfermented milk, buttermilk, soft cheeses, and some pickles. Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements in the form of capsules, tablets and powder formulation.
Probiotics are generally considered safe, but it is advisable to talk with your doctor before taking any supplement, as some may interfere with other medicines. You should also discuss the use of probiotic supplements when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or when considering it for your child.