Probiotic in Greek means 'for life'. To strike equilibrium between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut a resource of beneficial bacteria has to be added in the diet. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can be induced into the digestive system through food. Probiotics added to food that we consume are usually taken from human, animal or vegetable source.
Probiotics can be classified as a set of functional food which has live bacteria that are beneficial and not harmful to the human beings. The first ever probiotic food introduced was adding acidophilus to the milk, this helped people develop better tolerance towards milk and also helped people who found it difficult to digest milk. Majority of the probiotic food available in the market is fermented partially. Food items that contain probiotic bacteria are mainly dairy products such as probiotic added fluid milk and yogurt.
Two main bacteria that are probiotic are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria; these are a component of the lactic acid bacteria and are present in fermented dairy products. In the world market today there are over 70 products that contain lactic acid bacteria which can be classified as probiotic food. The list includes sour cream, yoghurt, powdered milk, buttermilk; frozen desserts etc. Conventionally probiotics are consumed as yoghurt all over but of late probiotics have been introduced in drinks, capsule, tablet and freeze dried forms.
List of food sources that contains probiotics
Probiotic supplements have actively taken over the market shelves when compared to other forms of probiotic food. Studies point that an average American's expenditure on these supplements has tripled from 1994 to 2003. Probiotic supplements contain diverse and numerous products that include capsules, tablets, liquids, powders and food-like products.
Probiotic supplements have to be manufactured and stored in such a manner that the bacteria can stay workable in dried form and reach the intestine alive when eaten. Probiotic supplement should also contain the right amount of moisture to give out the best effect. Numerous varieties of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are used to manufacture probiotic supplements.
Probiotic supplements are used to improve and support good health. These supplements are mainly used to prevent urinary tract infections in women, antibiotics-induced diarrhea and improve immunity in children. Dosage of these supplements depends on the number of live organisms present in the product. These supplements are available in natural foods grocery stores or in health food stores.
Probiotic acidophilus is a naturally occurring antibiotic that helps enhance digestion, produces vitamin B and brings down the risk of colon cancer. Among the millions of bacteria present in the digestive system, many are beneficial and many are harmful, the most beneficial among the lot is acidophilus. Acidophilus can be found in yogurt, acidophilus milk and probiotic acidophilus supplements. Acidophilus helps in
Most of the bacteria that are consumed by us die once they reach the acid conditions of the stomach. For any beneficial bacteria to be classified as probiotic it has to exhibit resistance to gastric, pancreatic and bile juices and should reach the colon(large intestine) alive. These beneficial bacteria attach to the wall of the intestine and multiply their numbers plus fight against the harmful bacteria thus striking a balance between harmful and beneficial bacteria.
The human stomach has the least amount of probiotic bacteria because of its exceedingly acidic nature and the large intestine has the maximum amount of this bacteria. An average adult should have 85% of probiotic bacteria and 15% of harmful bacteria to maintain the balance. Probiotic bacteria are sold as probiotic food and probiotic dietary supplements in the United States.