Most products that claim to be probiotic may be over-selling their benefits. Foreverfit guides you on how to make the right choice. 

What, you may wonder, is a probiotic? In simple terms, probiotic means “for life” and refers to the good bacteria we harbour in our bodies.

Our stomach is full of bacteria

Whether you believe it or not, our bodies contain lots of organisms that help us function effectively. The majority of these live in our stomachs. The gut, in fact, determines several facets of our health and disposition.

Research shows that the trillions of microbes or bacteria in our stomach actively influence our happiness, moods, and health. They impact our immunity, determine whether we get fat or not, our predisposition to allergies, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and so on.

Get the balance right

The problem is that the ratio between bad organisms and good ones is unbalanced, in favour of the former. So, we need to eat probiotic foods to add some friendly bacteria to our guts. Some of our daily food, such as yoghurt or dahi, has a certain amount of probiotic bacteria in it. For centuries, we Indians have relied on them, to help us stay healthy.

Energy drinks and snacks make tall claims

Today, there are plenty of probiotic products on the market, from energy drinks to various brands of yoghurt, all marketed as a means to good health.

However, consensus on the usefulness of these is divided, since most brands in the Indian market do not tell you what bacterial cultures they contain, and which strains are useful to the gut.

How to evaluate any food that claims to be probiotic

  • A probiotic product is in the true sense only if the label says “contains active, live cultures”.
  • Any type of heat treatment such as pasteurization or sterilization kills all bacterial cultures, taking away all the benefits of probiotics. So make sure you purchase a product that has been maintained at the right temperature.
  • In the Indian context, a probiotic effectively means a product that contains live bacterial strains, beneficial for the gut.
  • For most of us, good old homemade dahi may have the same effect, since this contains good bacteria and is also free of artificial flavors, color, and preservatives.