Probiotics has been marketed as the latest discovery in healthy eating. The hype is that it improves digestion and boosts the immune system. They have actually been present all along in yogurts and other fermented foods in Asian and European cultures like cottage cheese, kimchi, miso, tempeh and sauerkraut.
Probiotics are actually more commonly known as friendly bacteria which cause cabbage to sour, thicken milk into yogurt and create other fermented foods. But with the popular appearance of probiotics in dairy, kefir is one of those labels. Kefir can be made from pasteurized milk which means that the probiotic bacteria are added in the process to form this drinkable yogurt.
Commercial claims of the health benefits of probiotics and kefir such as balancing the digestive health actually have scientific basis. People who have adverse reactions such as diarrhoea due to antibiotic therapy and bowel or colon problems benefit from probiotics. Rotating antibiotics with probiotics tend to reduce inflammation and probiotics like kefir aids in proper digestion.
These strains of friendly bacteria are naturally occurring in the digestive system. There are probiotic strains that reside in the colon and there are some strains found in milk and milk products. They must be live and active cultures in order to have any effect.
Other health claims of probiotics and kefir are still in the early stages of research but are very promising. But then again, the increasing popularity of kefir as a food source is not only for the health and nutrition conscious people in general but for pregnant women as well. Probiotics in pregnancy prove to be safe and beneficial.
Being live microorganisms or good bacteria that live naturally in the intestines, they are introduced into the body during birth. Without probiotics, we would be at risk of infection, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and weak immune systems. These good bacteria prevent the growth of aggressive bacteria to protect us from diseases.
When a woman is pregnant, there are digestion concerns. The hormones, stress and fatigue disturb the balance of the good bacteria leading to indigestion, constipation, nausea and vomiting. Aside from the prescribed medications for pregnant women, obstetricians also recommend probiotic consumption.
Pregnancy causes the immune system to work harder. Since a great deal of the immune system lies within our intestines, an increased intake of probiotics would be beneficial for both mom and baby. Food like kefir, cultured with probiotics, is the best example.
Even in pet care, daily supplements of probiotics are prescribed in many cases. For instance, they can be components of a complete raw food diet to determine causes of allergies in dogs. Even higher doses than in live yogurt or kefir are usually given to them as daily supplements.
However, make sure to read the labels of these products as some of them in the grocery shelves only have very few live microorganisms. It’s also necessary not just to rely on probiotics alone. Probiotic benefits such as from kefir are great but some supplementation is even more favorable.