Sanofi Pakistan Organises Informative Probiotics Summit 2022

Probiotics, known as good or friendly bacteria and yeasts, have been gaining attention in recent years due to their potential health benefits. 

Sanofi Pakistan Organises Informative Probiotics Summit 2022

Probiotics, known as good or friendly bacteria and yeasts, have been gaining attention in recent years due to their potential health benefits. Found naturally in certain foods and supplements, they play a crucial role in maintaining digestive health, promoting the immune system, and even enhancing mental wellness.

This article explores several key benefits of probiotics and how they contribute to overall well-being. Probiotics have a significant impact on gut health by maintaining the balance of gut bacteria. An imbalance arises when harmful pathogens overgrow, potentially causing gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhoea, bloating, gas, and cramps.

Probiotics help restore balance by inhibiting pathogen growth and increasing a healthy gut microbiota. Antibiotics often inadvertently target healthy bacteria while eliminating harmful ones.

This may lead to an overgrowth of undesirable microorganisms that cause antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD), a common side effect of antibiotic treatments. Studies suggest that specific strains of probiotics can help restore the balance of microorganisms and reduce AAD risks.

Probiotic consumption has been linked to enhanced immune function involving the production of immune cells such as natural killer cells, T lymphocytes, and secretory immunoglobulin A.

These probiotics stimulate both the innate and adaptive branches of the immune system, improving defences against infectious agents like viruses and bacteria. Preliminary research suggests that some probiotics strain can effectively lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in individuals with high cholesterol levels, which is one of their many benefits. As you explore the benefits of probiotics, it’s essential to be aware of potential factors like weight gain. Check out Better Body for more insights into this topic.

Probiotics may achieve this by binding with cholesterol molecules in the intestines or by stimulating bile acid metabolism. Emerging evidence indicates that certain probiotics are effective in alleviating allergy symptoms and reducing the severity of eczema.

They exert these effects by modulating immune responses, strengthening the gut barrier, and promoting the release of anti-inflammatory substances. There is increasing interest in the gut-brain axis, which is the bidirectional communication between our gastrointestinal system and our central nervous system.

Research suggests that probiotics generate positive effects on mood disorders such as anxiety and depression by moderating certain neurotransmitters and brain-derived neurotrophic factors in the brain.

Some probiotic strains are known to increase the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, and zinc, by improving gut permeability and reducing inflammation in the intestines. Including probiotic-rich foods in your daily diet can bring about significant improvements in your gut health and overall wellness.

Here are some of the best food sources of probiotics. Yoghurt, locally known as dahi, is an essential part of Pakistani cuisine and one of the most common sources of probiotics. It’s made from fermented milk using lactic acid bacteria.

Yoghurt consumption has been associated with improved digestion, better immune function, and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. It also provides a good source of protein and essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. Lassi is another popular traditional yoghurt-based drink found across Pakistan. It can be prepared sweet or salty, depending on individual preferences.

Sweet Lassi contains added sugar or fruits such as mangoes, strawberries, or bananas, while the salty version may include salt and spices like cumin or mint for flavouring. Lassi is not only refreshing but also offers beneficial probiotics, aiding in digestion and improving overall health. Pickles, commonly known as Achaar, are another great source of probiotics in Pakistani cuisine.

These tangy delights are made by fermenting vegetables such as carrots, mangoes, chilies, garlic, and mixtures thereof in a brine solution with various spices for an extended period. Pickles offer gut-healthy bacteria along with essential nutrients, including vitamins A and C. Although not native to Pakistan, sauerkraut, a great source of probiotics, is gaining popularity due to its numerous health benefits.

It is a fermented cabbage dish that contains healthy probiotics known for supporting the digestive system and immune function. Sauerkraut is readily available in supermarkets and can be added to traditional Pakistani dishes or salads for an added probiotic boost.

Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to yoghurt but with a thinner consistency and a slightly tart taste. It is made using kefir grains, which contain a diverse variety of probiotic bacteria and yeast. Kefir can improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and strengthen bones due to its high calcium content.

While not as popular as other traditional dairy products in Pakistan, it is worth incorporating into the diet for its exceptional health benefits Kimchi’s popularity has risen significantly over recent years as consumers recognise its health advantages.

Originating from Korea, this fermented vegetable dish brimming with the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus can be found locally in large supermarkets across Pakistan.

Kombucha is a fermented tea known for its tangy flavour and natural effervescence. Kombucha has gained worldwide attention for its probiotic qualities. Pakistan’s health-conscious community has embraced this fizzy beverage, and numerous local brands now produce it.

Kombucha contains a variety of beneficial bacterial strains, such as Gluconacetobacter and Saccharomyces. Fermented olives are another excellent source of probiotics. Olives prepared in brine undergo natural fermentation, allowing beneficial microorganisms like lactic acid bacteria to flourish.

Probiotics present in fermented olives may help promote gut health and prevent gut-related ailments. There are various tips to seamlessly incorporate probiotics into your daily meals and help pave the way for optimal gut health; some of them are discussed here.

Consume fermented foods because fermented foods are created through the process of controlled microbial growth, which results in increased amounts of beneficial bacteria. Incorporate prebiotic-rich foods into your diet. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibres that help probiotics flourish in the gut. Some prebiotic-rich foods include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and bananas.

Try combining both prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods for enhanced benefits. Examples include adding yoghurt to a bowl of sliced bananas or stirring sauerkraut into a salad. Look for menu items that include probiotic ingredients.

You may find yoghurt-based sauces or dressings, kimchi-topped burgers, or even kefir smoothies at some establishments. Gradually increase your probiotic intake in your diet to avoid potential digestive discomfort. Start with a small amount and increase the quantity as your body adapts.

Making your own fermented foods by making probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut or yoghurt at home allows you to customise flavour and ensure the fermentation process is not disturbed, resulting in maximum benefits.

For individuals who prefer a more convenient and direct approach, probiotic supplements are readily available in Pakistan. There is a growing market for supplements that contain live bacteria strains such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus.

It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before selecting the appropriate supplement to ensure you receive the correct strain and dose for optimal health benefits. Probiotics work best when paired with a healthy, diverse diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

In conclusion, the remarkable benefits of probiotics offer a glimpse into the vast potential of harnessing the power of good bacteria to enhance our health.

As our understanding of the microbiome continues to expand, we are likely to uncover even more ways in which probiotics can positively influence our well-being. By embracing the world of probiotics and nurturing our microbiome, we can take proactive steps towards better digestion, improved immunity, and ultimately a healthier and happier life.

This article is jointly authored by Nahel Noor and Hira Iftikhar.