Probiotics – Why and How Much?

Probiotics in your diet help to keep the gut in check. Read what the experts have to say...

Sheela Krishnaswamy
Sheela Krishnaswamy
Sheela Krishnaswamy is a Registered Dietitian with 38 years of professional experience in the clinical, corporate and communication spaces. She was trained in India and overseas. She is active in national and international dietetic associations. She has had a media presence for the last 25 years. Formerly, a successful nutrition entrepreneur, an editor, a public speaker and a blogger, currently she works independently as Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Advisor, Anchor, Writer and Corporate Trainer.

Probiotics are good bacteria which are beneficial to health when consumed. They form a part of the gut microbiome. They help to fight the unfriendly bacteria that attack the body during an infection. For a microbe to be labelled a probiotic, it must survive in the intestine after ingestion, have beneficial effects on health and be safe for consumption. 

The most common types of probiotics are lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. They help to supplement the beneficial bacteria that is ingested through fermented foods which are highly nutritious. “Lactic acid bacteria present in fermented foods are not standardised for their health benefits. Probiotic products on the other hand contain scientifically tested bacteria which are identified to the strain level and validated for their safety and efficacy. FSSAI recommends consumption of 108 cfu per recommended serving size per day of a particular probiotic strain for its health benefit”, says Dr Neerja Hajela, Head – Science and Regulatory Affairs, Yakult Danone India

Probiotics are best known for their benefits in improving intestinal health. Studies have shown that probiotics help in prevention of diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. They are also useful in boosting immune function. “More recently studies suggest their benefit in NAFLD, in reducing upper respiratory tract infections and allergies. Probiotics are being studied for various other health benefits too”, adds Dr Hajela. She says that there’s good evidence to show that specific strains of probiotics are safe for human use, because probiotic strains are transient colonisers and get flushed out with faeces, therefore, excess amounts are normally excreted out from the body. 

Include probiotics in your diet for health benefits. 

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