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Health benefits of probiotics: This is what happens when you include probiotics in your weight loss diet

Health benefits of probiotics: Incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your diet can work like magic for your gut as well as your mental health, given that it is paired with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

May 26, 2023 / 08:19 AM IST
Benefits of probiotic food (Image: Canva)

Probiotics are friendly microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts (Image: Canva)

Probiotics are healthful strains of live bacteria and yeast that have gained significant attention in recent years for their potential benefits. Often referred to as ‘good’ bacteria, probiotics can provide numerous advantages for our digestive system and overall well-being. Wondering what probiotics exactly are and how to incorporate them into your daily routine? Read on to know:

Also read: Will 2023 be the year of the microbes?

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are friendly microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They are typically found in fermented foods, such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and tempeh. Probiotics can also be taken as dietary supplements.

Health benefits of probiotics

The consumption of probiotics has been associated with several potential health benefits. These live bacteria and yeasts help restore the natural balance of microbes in the gut, promoting a healthy digestive system. They can also help enhance nutrient absorption, support the immune system, and promote overall gut health. Probiotics may also help alleviate certain digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Additionally, some studies suggest that probiotics may have a positive impact on mental health by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Picking the right probiotic

With numerous probiotic products available in the market, it is crucial to choose the right one for your needs. Look for products that contain specific strains of bacteria or yeast that have been shown to provide health benefits. The most common strains include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. It's also essential to check the colony-forming units (CFUs) listed on the product. CFUs indicate the number of viable bacteria in each dose. Higher CFU counts can be beneficial, especially for individuals with specific health conditions or those taking antibiotics.

Also read: Everything you need to know about Kombucha, the gut-healthy, probiotic-rich beverage

Maintaining a balanced approach

While probiotics offer several potential benefits, it's important to maintain a balanced approach to your overall diet and lifestyle. Probiotics should complement a well-rounded and nutritious diet. Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is crucial for optimal health. Additionally, focus on managing stress, getting regular exercise, and prioritising sleep for overall well-being.

How to introduce probiotics into your routine

Some individuals may experience mild digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, or diarrhea during the initial stages, which typically subside after a few days. In rare cases, probiotics may even cause allergies, skin rashes, or itchiness. If you are considering adding probiotics to your daily routine, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. They can provide personalised recommendations based on your specific needs. When starting probiotics, it's recommended to begin with a low dose and gradually increase it over time to allow your body to adjust.

Sushmita Srivastav An independent journalist and editor, Sushmita writes on diverse topics, ranging from travel, food, fitness and health, to luxury, culture, and everything in between.