Best Probiotics for a Healthy Immune System
We often associate probiotics to a flavorful cultured milk drink due to their health benefits. However back in the early days, probiotics were meant to be consumed as a supplement similar to how we take vitamins.
The advancement of modern technology has enabled us to incorporate probiotics into our everyday foods such as yogurt, kefir and cheese. Some countries have even integrated probiotics into a cultural dish to improve their citizens’ well being . Places such as Japan have made miso soup into a staple broth to be paired with their local meals and kimchi has become an integral side dish for many types of cuisines in Korea.
Although many parts of the globe still take probiotics in the form of fermented milk, you can find good old probiotics supplements in any local supermarkets and pharmacies. Nowadays, you can even get your essential probiotic products on sites like Nature’s Farm.
Here’s the honest truth, whenever you consume any probiotic products, you are literally ingesting millions of live-bacteria into your body. Before you panic, we should probably mention that these bacteria are good for your immune system as it supports your body’s immunity by fighting against the bad bacteria.
Natural probiotics were first discovered in fermented foods where people noted the health benefits it provided to the body's digestive system. The insides of our body are full of good and bad bacteria constantly in a fight for control. Probiotics can help support good bacteria by keeping the bad ones at bay.
Some regions of the globe may have limited access to natural probiotic foods. Thus, introducing probiotic supplements to these regions may help keep the populace healthy with the rest of the world.
To give you a better perspective on how these two supplements work in harmony, probiotics are good bacteria that live in your body and prebiotics are the nourishments for these good bacteria.
Prebiotics are made out of dietary fibre and your stomach may not fully digest them. This is where your friendly microbes (probiotics) can feed on them as nutrients to improve your metabolism for a healthier digestive system in the long term.
Most prebiotics can be found in common, everyday food such as bananas, oats and barley. Carbs are particularly considered to be the most common form of prebiotics as they contain high amounts of fibre which your microbes would love to feed on.
Natural probiotic food is always the best choice when it comes to nurturing a healthy gut. Plenty of natural probiotic food has been made into fermented products such as yogurt, kefir, pickles and many more which can all be found in your usual grocery store these days.
Other alternatives for choosing the best probiotic food can be discovered in other country’s cuisines such as Japan and Korea. A small bowl of miso soup contains just as much probiotics as compared to any other supplements. By adding them into your meal, you are pretty much living the “healthy lifestyle” that some have been dreaming of for years.
Not a broth lover? No problem, you can always try out other complimentary dishes that go well with rice such as kimchi. Originating in Korea, these little slices of cabbages and radish are fermented and jam-packed with natural probiotics. Adding them as a side dish to your meal helps fill up your daily intake of probiotics for a healthy diet.
Probiotics for Gut Health
Most probiotics benefit our gut as they provide digestive support by feeding on prebiotics since our stomach could not fully digest them. Because our body needs carbohydrates to provide energy for movement, it becomes a necessity to consume prebiotic and probiotic food to give our body energy for moving.
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are some of the common probiotics that can be found in yogurt, milk and other dairy products. These probiotics focus on improving our bowel movement in the digestive system, especially when you have a bad case of infectious diarrhea. After taking antibiotics to kill all the bacteria in your digestive tract for an extended period of time, replenishing your good microbes by taking probiotics can help speed up the recovery of your gut’s health.
Although probiotics can maintain a healthy gut, you should not get too hooked on them as overdosing on probiotic supplements may cause more harm than good to your body.
Ingesting too much probiotics can lead to stomach bloating, gas and nausea. This is because the excessive amount of live-bacteria could feed on your ingested food before it gets digested into your stomach, causing an intolerable sensation at your abdomen as your body bloats out excessive gas.
In worse cases, when a person has an illness with a weakened immune system, probiotics could harm their digestive system and might even cause uncontrollable diarrhea for an extended period of time. Hence, before taking any probiotic pills, it would be wise to consult a doctor first if you are sick with an illness that may affect your intestinal organs.
Those with compromised immune systems should avoid taking probiotic supplements as introducing a new bacteria into a weakened immune system may trigger unforeseen infections. Particularly for cancer patients with the lack of immunity response, probiotic supplements may cause unexpected symptoms to arise with no immunodefence to protect your body from such illnesses.
The general rule of thumb for taking probiotics is suggested to be one dose per day. Taking probiotics before or after a meal would normally depend on the type of supplements you buy as different microbes could maximize their benefits according to whether you take it on an empty stomach or after you’re full.
It is also important to remain consistent when you take probiotics to avoid overdosing. For example, If you take probiotic supplements after dinner, keep it to after dinner everyday in order to ensure the previous microbes have mostly died out.
In conclusion, adding probiotic supplements into your diet can be a great way to improve your overall health. However, do be mindful when buying these types of product as some supplements are not regulated by any governmental health officials.
There will be a few bad apples in the market that will gladly make a quick buck simply by mislabelling their supplement’s health benefits. Although finding a good one may require some time because of research, we recommend one of our trusted retailers at Nature’s Farm, a well-known brand for over 30 years in the market. They are recognized for their exceptional quality in sourcing for ingredients, especially for their supplements such as probiotics, vitamins and many more.
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Healthline. 2020. Probiotics And Prebiotics: What’s The Difference?. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-prebiotics#section2 [Accessed 30 May 2020].
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Gogineni, V.K., Morrow, L.E., Gregory, P.J. and Malesker, M.A., 2013. Probiotics: history and evolution. J Anc Dis Prev Rem, 1(2), pp.1-7. Insider. 2020. Can You Overdose On Probiotics? Side Effects Include Bloating And Gas. [online] Available at: https://www.insider.com/can-you-overdose-on-probiotics [Accessed 31 May 2020].
Perry, M., 2020. Everything You Need To Know About Probiotics. [online] Experience Life. Available at: https://experiencelife.com/article/everything-you-need-to-know-about-probiotics/ [Accessed 31 May 2020].
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Hyumi is a certified nutritionist under the Singapore Nutrition & Dietetic Association (SNDA), she has 8 years of professional experiences in providing health consultations & advice for clients and corporates alike, all the while researching & developing new functional ingredients for better formulation. Hyumi obtained her Degree in Food Sciences & Nutrition from University Malaysia Sabah
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