Within our body, there are an enormous amount of microorganisms. These beings perform different functions and are essential for the functioning of our metabolism.
However, there are bacteria that are beneficial and others that are harmful. For everything to work properly, it is necessary that they are in balance. A good way to achieve this is by eating probiotic foods.
Probiotics are recognized beneficial microorganisms that contribute to balance within the intestine and to metabolism.
The positive effects of probiotic foods have been increasingly recognized by health professionals. They play important roles in immune, digestive and respiratory functions.
Knowing this, we have separated the main information about probiotics, their types, benefits and foods that contain them. Continue reading and understand!
What is a probiotic?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), probiotics are “living organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer benefits on the health of the host”. These organisms are some species of bacteria.
Often, people think that bacteria are always a sign of illness or something negative. However, some are essential for the functioning of our organism.
Probiotics, for example, are beneficial bacteria for the digestive, immune and respiratory systems. Due to the existence of harmful microorganisms in the intestine, their ingestion contributes to the balance and the promotion of the proper functioning of the body.
Putting them in the diet results in the integration of these microorganisms with the intestinal flora, also favoring the absorption of nutrients, such as calcium and iron.
Therefore, good bacteria can be found in so-called probiotic foods, usually the result of a fermentation process. In addition, there are also supplementary probiotics, sold in capsule form.
Probiotics or Prebiotics: what’s the difference?
Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are fibers – food components that humans do not digest, that is, there are no enzymes that break down prebiotics in the stomach.
These fibers are directed to the intestine, where they perform their function. Prebiotics only stimulate the proliferation and activity of beneficial bacteria. In this way, the intake of prebiotics also contributes to the good intestinal functioning.
Fructooligosaccharide sugars are an example of prebiotics. They can be found in foods like onions, garlic, tomatoes, bananas , oats and wheat.
Types of probiotics
There are two main bacteria that are probiotic: Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus .
The genus Bifidobacteria has different species, and each has a different action on the digestive system. The animalis Bifidobacteria aid in digestion, strengthens the immune system and fighting harmful bacteria coming from contaminated food. It is found in foods like probiotic yogurts.
Already Bifidobacteria longum is one of the most common probiotics in the gut and has the ability to prevent high cholesterol. In addition, it produces lactic acid, increasing the acidity of the digestive tract and preventing the proliferation of harmful bacteria.
The genus Lactobacillus , in turn, perhaps the best known, also has different species with different properties.
The Lactobacillus acidophilus helps in preventing diarrhea strengthens the immune system. It also produces lactic acid, which can help prevent vaginal infections, as this acid prevents the growth of harmful microorganisms.
In general, the genus Lactobacillus also has positive properties for the control of cholesterol levels, for the prevention of diarrhea and for the immune system. It is usually present in fermented milks and some supplements.
What are the benefits of consumption?
The consumption of probiotics can bring several benefits, in addition to preventing known problems. It is always important to remember that, as these are microorganisms, consumption needs to be constant in order to maintain the expected benefits.
Below, check out the main benefits that the consumption of probiotics can bring:
Improves the immune system
The intestinal microbiota (set of microorganisms that inhabit the intestine) is vast and very susceptible to harmful organisms.
Probiotics in general are beneficial for disease prevention, that is, for the immune system. This is because they stimulate the immune response, balancing and eliminating harmful beings.
Promotes the proper functioning of the intestine
Intestinal health can benefit greatly from the intake of probiotics. Due to the greater balance, probiotics can prevent diarrhea, in addition to helping the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Probiotics increase the number of immunoglobulin cells (a type of antibody) and cytokine-producing cells (molecules related to immunity). This causes them to stimulate the population of good bacteria in the intestine to grow, helping with digestion and evacuation.
Helps control cholesterol
Some studies associate probiotic intake with a decrease in total cholesterol levels and in “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
This can contribute to the prevention of the development of coronary heart disease. In addition, a decrease in triglycerides and a small increase in “good” cholesterol (HDL) has been indicated.
Natural probiotics: list of foods
Probiotics are found naturally in dairy products due to the fermentation process. However, there are also some foods that have the presence of beneficial bacteria.
Check out the main ones:
- Yogurt: natural yogurt is one of the best known foods associated with probiotics. Several brands produce probiotic yogurts, with different types of beneficial bacteria;
- Fermented milk: these are fermented milks that have probiotics in their formula. The bacterium most commonly found in these products is Lactobacillus;
- Kefir: is a product fermented with bacteria and yeast, from kefir grains. It has a high amount of probiotics, lowers stomach pH and helps prevent gastritis;
- Kombucha: the drink is produced through fermentation made mainly from black tea.
Brands and supplements
In addition to being found in food, probiotics are also marketed in the form of supplements, such as capsules.
The price varies according to the brands and the different types of probiotics. Check out a list of the main supplements and their prices *:
* Prices consulted at Consulta Remédios in August 2019. Prices may change without notice.
The Provance is Aché manufacturer supplement and has the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri in its composition. This product can be found in versions of 10 or 30 chewable tablets. In addition, the brand offers different flavors, such as lemon and strawberry.
- 10 tablets: R $ 29.60 to R $ 47.46;
- 30 tablets: R $ 75.37 to R $ 109.93.
The Prolive is another probiotic supplement option of Aché manufacturer and has the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus in its composition. This supplement can be found in versions of 6, 15 or 30 ingestible capsules.
- 6 capsules: R $ 26.99 to R $ 38.28;
- 15 capsules: R $ 41.88 to R $ 59.76;
- 30 capsules: R $ 85.40 to R $ 115.56.
The 20 bi is a probiotic supplement Eurofarma tag which includes in its composition different bacteria (two species of Lactobacillus and three species of Bifidobacterium ). It is available in boxes of 5, 10 and 30 capsules.
- 5 capsules: R $ 33.06 to R $ 52.96;
- 10 capsules: R $ 46.90 to R $ 69.40;
- 30 capsules: R $ 127.41 to R $ 173.89.
Probiotics are beneficial organisms for our body, mainly to improve the functioning of the digestive and immune systems.
There are many studies concluding the benefits of ingesting these good bacteria, and new functions of them continue to be discovered for our body.
So putting probiotics in the diet can be a positive thing. It is important to consult a nutritionist or a doctor to make sure the best way to ingest them.
And you, do you take probiotics? Do you feel a difference in your daily life? Tell us!
Thanks for reading!