Probiotics are supplements or enhanced foods that contain living microorganisms. These are added to or are included in foods such as yogurt. It helps to change the bacterial balance in the human body. The idea is to boost the good bacteria in the body. Good bacteria destroys harmful bacteria and reduces infection and inflammation.
The human digestive system is home to more than 500 different types of bacteria. They help to keep the intestines healthy and assist in digesting food. They are also believed to help the immune system.
“Probiotics can improve intestinal function and maintain the integrity of the lining of the intestines,” says Stefano Guandalini, MD, professor of paediatrics and gastroenterology at the University Of Chicago Medical Centre. These friendly organisms may also help fight bacteria that cause diarrhoea.
Yoghurt contains friendly bacteria, which when added to our gut results in a healthier and better functioning intestine. When we have an upset stomach or diarrhea, the bacterial setup gets disturbed and can get destroyed. So, to regain the healthy bacterial colonies back, we need to consume yoghurt or other probiotic foods on a daily basis, especially during an upset stomach or indigestion.
Some of the best evidence of the benefits of probiotics comes from studies of diarrhea in children, especially infectious diarrhoea caused by rotavirus.
Probiotic foods improve the immunity of children because probiotic bacteria produces organic compounds such as lactic acid and acetic acid which make the colon slightly acidic. Acidic environments allow the growth of the good bacteria whilst inhibiting the growth of many harmful bacteria. A well functioning digestive system will enhance absorption of essential nutrients and increase overall immunity.
Probiotic foods also help to take the load off the immune system by keeping the protective mucosal layer in your digestive tract healthy. This provides an extra level of defence against invasion by harmful pathogens. On top of all these benefits, probiotics can directly influence the activity of the immune system by increasing the concentration and activity of certain immune cells. This combination of factors makes probiotic supplementation a simple yet effective way to prevent all the types of infections and illnesses.