Modernisation and technology have created many new creations that actually makes humankind life much easier and accessible to almost everything the world can offer. It is undeniable that more food and beverages from other parts of the world are easily being brought into our country, creating more opportunity for us to savour the taste of delicious delicacies that have been rooted and reigned in other countries. One thing for sure,probiotics foods recently became a health trend and becoming public interest but surprisingly this type of food has been around for many centuries across different continents on earth.
Probiotic foods can be traced back to the ancient times of almost 10 000 years ago. Civilisation recorded that our early ancestors in ancient times were thinking ways on how to preserve food after too many catches. They found out that by keeping fish packed with rice, it helps to preserve the fish from getting spoiled. Although at the time, they probably cannot understand that what they are doing is actually a fermentation process which promotes growth of microorganisms on food. In 1905, a Russian biologist, Elie Metchnikoff made some observations relating to the fermented food. He realised that those who consumed more fermented foods including yoghurt lived longer and some even reached 100 years old. It was until the 1950’s, the term ‘probiotics’ began to be used to describe these microorganisms from the fermentation process that exert many health benefits to people.
Most of the time, people think microorganisms and bacteria are dirty and harmful. However, the truth is there are also good and beneficial ones that already live in our bodies and help to digest food, fight against diseases and even produce vitamins. This is what we call probiotics and there is a long list of it. Most common type of probiotics usually belongs to the group of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces boulardii. Probiotics nowadays exist both in food and health supplements. So, what kind of health benefits have intrigued people to incorporate probiotics into their life?
1- Improve body immune system
2- Improve atopic eczema, wound and scar healing
3- Improve skin barrier and rejuvenates skin
4- Improve guts health through good microbiome activity
5- Improve oral health by preventing dental caries, mouth infection (periodontal disease) and bad smelling breath (halitosis)
6- Improve of mood in stress-related psychiatric disorders (anxiety and depression disorder)
7- Reducing risks for cardiovascular diseases by altering blood lipid (cholesterol) profile
8- Good for weight management and help with obesity issues
Now, you probably wonder what food you can eat to provide yourself all the goodness of what probiotics could provide. Well, here are some examples of food you can search for in the market:
1- Yoghurt. One of the best sources of probiotics. If you are scared of the lactose intolerance effect, get yourself a Greek yoghurt instead.
2- Kefir. A drink usually made from fermented milk of cow, goat or sheep and famous around Russia and Turkey. Some kefir is made from coconut milk and coconut water.
3- Sauerkraut. Fermented shredded cabbage that is familiar with German cuisine.
4- Miso. Fermented soybeans used in many Japanese dishes and helps bringing umami tasty taste in cooking
5- Kimchi. Insanely famous spicy and sweet fermented cabbage originated from Korea.
6- Tempeh. No introduction needed as it is a famous fermented soybean, originated from Indonesia. Mostly used as a meat substitute for vegan/vegetarian.
7- Kombucha. Fermented tea using SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and becoming favourite for those seeking to replace alcohol drinking habits.
8- Cheese. Although not all cheese contains probiotics, you can be sure to get it from aged traditional cheddars, Gouda, Gruyere, Feta, Swiss, mozzarella, cottage cheese and Edam. Look for words “raw”, “probiotic” or “made from raw milk” on the label.