Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria that help you to maintain a healthy digestive tract. “Our ancestors have been consuming these living microorganisms in various forms of ferments for generations,” says Sheryl Tan, founder of We Are Cultured, a beverage company that specialises in probiotic teas that promote gut health.
For example, records of fermented tea being prescribed as a healing drink date back to two thousand years ago in China. And fermented milk products like yogurt were discovered even earlier in Central Asia.
“The daily stressors of life can encourage unfriendly bacteria and yeasts to grow in our bodies – producing irritable and bad digestion, food allergies, headaches, skin rashes, and other more serious disorders,” Sheryl explains.
To combat this, we need to introduce more good bacteria into our system to reduce the amount of harmful microbes.
Aside from killing bad bacteria in our gut, probiotics also produce vitamin B, vitamin K and folate, which the body needs to generate energy and function. In fact, Sheryl says: “10 per cent of our daily requirement of these vitamins can be derived from the beneficial bacteria in our gut.”
According Daniel Gerick, owner of Bushwick Foodlab, an online boutique which specialises in probiotic drinks, good bacteria in our gut pass through our digestive systems quickly and so we have to regularly replenish them. To maintain a healthy gut, we only need about one to two billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of probiotics each day. Most probiotic-containing foods will have more than ten billion CFUs in a single serving.
The good news is that you cannot overdose on probiotics, so include these foods in your diet for a healthy digestive system – a small serving of each type is enough to introduce more good bacteria into your system each day.