Probiotics have benefits beyond the gut and help treat and prevent many common ailments such as allergies, arthritis, gastrointestinal issues, acidity, blood pressure, cancer, anxiety, depression and more. Probiotics, the good bacteria, are easy to get into your body naturally and in severe cases, by using a supplement, which can really multiply the numbers and boost your immunity and gut health.
These are some of the benefits of consuming probiotics: It prevents heart disease by reducing inflammation; lowers cholesterol, helps in weight loss, as it slows down the absorption of dietary fats.
Probiotics also help in satiety by increasing the release of the appetite-reducing hormone Glucagon-like peptide-1. A healthy gut helps balance blood sugar levels, balances hormones, aids in digestion, and helps boost immunity and boosts your moods.
There are many ways in which you can introduce probiotics into your system. Some of them are:
Yogurt: It is considered the MVP of probiotics because it has a flavor and texture that most people enjoy, and it can be used in most cuisines. The number of colony forming units (CFUs) depend on the brand of the yogurt. Check the labels for live and active cultures.
Also, look for yogurt made from organic milk.
Kefir: This yogurt-like probiotic-rich drink is now well recognized in the health industry. It is made from kefir grains and offers up to five billion CFU in a single serving. Vegans benefit from this drink, as it can be made from non-milk liquids such as coconut kefir, rice milk kefir and coconut kefir. It is a huge hit when had with added fruit and vegetable flavours and a dash of cinnamon, vanilla and active charcoal.
Overnight cooked rice: Rice lovers, we have some good news for you. Cooked rice kept overnight harbors trillions of the beneficial bacteria that help quicker digestion. This recipe also helps in antiageing, improves bone density and releases muscular pains.
Overnight probiotic lemonade: This is an all-time favourite with children. Make fresh lemonade with lemons, sugar and a few grains of kefir and set it aside for one night and two days. It is a healthy treat.
Apple cider drink: Naturally fermented raw unpasteurized cider vinegar has multiple benefits. I love adding a cap full of cider to a fizzy apple juice with some sprinkled cardamom or cinnamon.
Here are some gut-friendly recipes that you can include in your diet:
GREEK SALAD WITH TAHINI
Ingredients for the salad
10 cherry tomatoes
½ capsicum (red/yellow/green)
1 small iceberg lettuce
50 gm feta cheese
½ cup olives
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Ingredients for the tahini
½ cup yogurt
1 tsp white seeds
1 green chilli
1 tsp olive oil
(Blend all the ingredients into a smooth paste.)
Chop all the veggies into small pieces, add tahini, small pieces
of green chillies, olive oil and salt. Mix everything well.
SEV PURI WITH SWEET POTATO BASE
Sweet chutney made of dates, tamarind and jaggery
Green coriander chutney
1 chopped onion
1sweet potato boiled and chopped
Coriander for garnish
Salt to taste
1. Boil the sweet potato in a vessel.
2. Let it cool and make thin round slices of the potato.
3. Place chopped onion and a drop of each chutney on every
sweet potato slice with chopped onion.
4. Sprinkle salt and garnish with fresh coriander.
Excerpted from The Gut: Story of Our Incredible Second Brain by Payal Kothari published by Rupa Publications.