Most of us think of bacteria as evil, disease-causing organisms, but we’ve also heard of “good” bacteria, or probiotics. What are they? By Esther Au Yong
Yoghurt is a good source of probiotics. (Photo: 123rf.com/radiantskies)
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live, “good” bacteria that help keep your body, especially your digestive system, healthy. In the digestive system, probiotics help move food along and balance the “good” and “bad” micro-organisms in the stomach.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a type of carbohydrate that cannot be consumed by humans. They are good for and help nourish probiotics, the “good” bacteria.
What are foods that contain probiotics?
One of the best sources of probiotics is yoghurt. Fermented foods such as cheeses, miso and tempeh may contain good levels of probiotics too. Specially-made probiotics drinks such as Yakult contain different strains of probiotics. In the case of Yakult drinks, it is Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota. There are also probiotic supplements in pill form that you can buy from the pharmacy.
What are foods that contain prebiotics?
Foods rich in prebiotics include asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas and oatmeal. There are also prebiotic supplements in the market. These days, supplements that incorporate both pro and prebiotics are also available.
Besides being good for the digestive system, what are probiotics useful for?
Research is still being done but it has been reported that probiotics have been useful for treating eczema, treating urinary and vaginal health, and preventing allergies and colds.