Probiotics are living micro-organisms, that are similar to the bacteria that naturally occur in the intestine. These “Good” bacteria have been shown to provide health benefits when ingested.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which inflame the lining of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and disrupt your body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition and eliminate waste in a healthy manner.
Can probiotics help those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis? Well, I would like to say YES, but the true benefits of probiotics are still inconclusive. Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of this substance.
However, probiotics seems to be helpful for the reduction of flare ups and maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis. The key is “prevention”, rather than “healing” a flare-up that has already occurred.
Consumption of probiotics may cause minor discomfort; such as increasing gas, it is still considered safe though.
There are many types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics. Among all, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the two most important and beneficial bacteria in the human colon.
Typically, probiotics are contained in yogurt and supplements. However, there are some natural food sources and they share a common feature called “fermentation”; the production of probiotics!
One of the best sources of probiotic is “live-cultured” yogurt. Be sure to read the ingredients list and look for “live or active cultures” on the label. You will be surprised to see many popular brands not only contain sugar (or artificial sweeteners), artificial flavors, and colours but also no sign of probiotics!
This “yogurt-like” drink is a unique blend of goat, cow, or sheep milk and fermented kefir grains. It is high in lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Kefir is also rich in antioxidants. You can find it not only at health food stores but also local grocery stores nowadays.
Sauerkraut is made from fermented cabbage (and sometimes other vegetables). Probiotic bacteria is produced when fresh cabbage ferments in brine. This slightly sour, fermented vegetable is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but also rich in vitamins B, A, E and C.
Miso is made from fermented soy beans, rye, rice or barley. This Japanese seasoning is commonly used in miso soup which is an excellent digestive regulator. You can also make vegetable dip; one tablespoon of miso and same or more amount of mayonnaise. My children love dipping any vegetables in this easy dip, we call it “miso-mayo”.
Kimchi is an Asian form of sauerkraut, which is made from fermented Chinese cabbage (nappa) with lots of spices. It is commonly served as a small side dish in Korea. Since kimchi contains large amount of spices, you might want to start with a small portion alongside plain food (typically rice).
The above lists are some examples of food probiotics that can be easily added to your daily diet. I would recommend to be conscious about what you eat, and how much you eat. Choose fresh and good quality food and eat moderately. Too much of good food is not necessarily beneficial. I believe that a “balanced” diet is the key to healthy living.
I will be talking about “How to feed good bacteria?” next week.
All is well and all the best!