All About Probiotics

Hi friends, happy Friday!

For a long while, all days were so similar but now I have again started loving the weekends. Why? Because of start of online-schooling. The precious extra hours of  morning sleep is what makes the weekends special, again!

In my last post on sabja/basil seeds, I wrote that pectin found in them is a prebiotic and some of you messaged me telling I made a spelling mistake there. I sometimes do make a spelling mistake or other, especially on the more hectic days…but this time, it was not a mistake. What I meant was prebiotic indeed! But I do realize that I owe a big thank you to all those of you who read my blogs so closely 🙂

Most of us are probably already aware of the term “probiotic”, thanks to advertisements by  many yogurt brands and fermented milk-based health drinks. The term isn’t very old but has become very popular recently.

Before we come to understanding the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, let’s understand probiotics first.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms i.e. the bacteria that are found naturally in our body (mainly intestine) and help our body in breaking down the food. Also called gut-bacteria, friendly/healthy bacteria or gut-flora, these bacteria are mostly divided into two families: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Our body generally takes care of our gut-health on its own. However gut-flora can be disbalanced due to bad diet, infections, medications, hygiene habits etc. It becomes even more important to re-build a healthy balance in such cases.

Did You Know?

Our intestines contain 100 billion bacteria (of 1000 various kinds) and some of these are unique to each one of us, quite like our fingerprints!

Benefits

  • Probiotics helps in maintaining the healthy balance of friendly bacteria in our digestive system
  • Not just physical health, some researches have shown that probiotic foods can improve some mental health disorders too such as depression, stress and anxiety etc. How? By producting serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. Wow!
  • Boosts immune system and this reduce the severity or frequency of cold and certain allergies
  • Prevents and even treats diarrhea
  • Toxic removal from our bodies
  • Better metabolism

Natural Sources Of Probiotics

There are many reasons why newborns are advised to be breastfed and probiotics are one of the main reasons! Breast milk is naturally rich in probiotics and sometimes, formula milk is fortified by the probiotics to get it closer to breastmilk.

Apart from occurring naturally in our bodies, certain foods such as yogurts (with live strains), tempeh (fermented soyabean), miso (Japanese seasoning with soyabeans as main ingredient), kefir (fermented milk drink), kimchi (fermented spicy Korean dish with cabbage or other veggies), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), pickles (or gherkins, are cucumbers pickled in salt and water), kombucha (fermented black/green tea drink) and certain cheeses etc are rich sources of probiotics.

On desi front – curd, regular yogurt, buttermilk, idli, dosa, kanji, achhar, dhokla etc though are not true probiotics as not standardized, provide many similar benefits.

And no, wine and beer, though fermented cannot be considered probiotics!

Probiotic Supplements

According to the official definition of probiotics by WHO, any strain or product can be classified as a probiotic only if it contains a stipulated amount of live microorganisms which are resistant to gastric juices etc to reach the target area successfully in our body and be of any actual benefit.

Probiotics are also sold as powder/liquid supplements such as Yakult as well as capsules or tablets. Some good quality multivitamins also include probiotics in their composition. Remember, not every yoghurt can be sold as a probiotic unless it clearly mentions the live culture it contains!

I have even been prescribed a urinary tract probiotic as a part of my UTI treatment once. And I am sure most of us have used, Enterogermina, Novogermina and the kinds, at one point or other…especially for our kids. Have you?

In The End

Before you start a probiotic supplement of any sort, make sure you are not allergic to the particular strain found in it. If someone is lactose-intolerant, a dairy-free probiotic is an obvious choice.

In general, probiotic supplements are considered safe. People on antibiotic medication can benefit from probiotics a lot as the antibiotics are prone to destroy the balance of gut-flora by killing healthy bacteria along with the bad ones.

If you have any pre-existing medical issues or any immunity-related condition, do check with your doctor/nutritionist, before you choose your probiotic.

Do join me on Instagram for more such info, tips and daily motivation on

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Namaste, Health & Peace

Finally, The Sabja/Basil Seeds

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How is it going? Tracking and waiting for the vaccine these days? Me too!! 🙂 I know it is still a while away but hope keeps me going. What keeps you going these monotonous days?

I admit, this time I went a little wrong about the sequence of my blog-posts. I did not anticipate the interest and the feedback, in the super-seeds. When I wrote about chia, it was supposed to be one post on it but then, I got so many queries regarding the difference between chia and sabja/basil seeds that I did the next post on that.

After the post on differences, many of you told me that I should have done chia first…then sabja/basil seeds and then, the difference between the two. And I realize that would have been ideal, yes. Nonetheless, here I am today, rectifying that error. Thank you for all your love and feedback. Appreciate it… and all your kind words, always!

So, today’s post is all about Sabja or Basil seeds.

Sabja/Basil seeds are also called sweet basil, tukmaria or falooda seeds. These come from a plant called Ocimum basilicum, commonly called sweet basil. These seeds go a long way back in Ayurvedic and Chinsese medicine.

Sabja seeds are tiny, black and look like Til/sesame seeds until they are soaked. Once soaked, they are at their nutritional best. When put in a liquid, they start swelling up immediately with a translucent white film coating each black seed, becoming twice their size! They have a mild basil-y flavour. The seeds also make the beverages a bit chewy as well as add some healthy fibre to them.

Did You Know?

For baking, one can grind the seeds and added directly to flour, rather than add soaked seeds. These seeds can also be used as  a replacement to eggs while cooking and baking. Have you ever tried?

Nutritional Value

1 tablespoon (13 gms) of sabja/basil seeds contain 60 calories, 7 gms of carbs, 2.5 gms of fat, 7 gms of fibre and 2 gms of protein. It is also rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and is very high on Omega-3 fatty acids (1240 mg).

Benefits

  • Natural Coolant – And this is why sabja/basil seeds are put into falooda. They are known to reduce the body heat and have a soothing effect on our digestive system. Perfect for our summer drinks, smoothies, yogurt and shakes!
  • High on Fibre – Since these seeds are high on fibre and absorb a good quantity of water, they help in relieving constipation
  • Pectin – Pectin present in sabja/basil seeds is a soluble fibre which has prebiotic benefits i.e. it is good for our gut health. It can also help in lowering blood pressure if taken on regular basis
  • Blood Glucose Level Management – Sabja/Basil seeds are known to prevent the spike of blood glucose levels in Type 2 Diabetes if taken on regular basis
  • Good source of Calcium, Magnesium and Iron – A great source of all these for vegans especially
  • Weight Management – Might help in weight management as the seeds promote  a sense of fullness due to pectin and water absorption
  • Good source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acid
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Used as a thickener for soups, sauces and desserts etc

Industrial Usage

Sabja/Basil seeds are used as a thicknener and stabilizer in various food products such a ice-cream, salad dressings, jellies etc and  also as a fat replacement in mayonnaise etc

Moderation Is Important

Start slowly, with 2 teaspoons a day in your diet to avoid and then increase gradually to avoid bloating etc. Best to have them soaked and in moderation. Check with your doctor/nutritionist if you want to add more sabja/basil seeds to your diet especially if you are on blood-thinning medication or are pregnant.

In short, sabja/basil seeds are generally safe and high on nutritional value. However, if you are looking at these for weight loss goals, add these to your overall ‘fitness plan’ which should also include some sort of  a regular fitness regime and a healthy diet. No excuses to that!

Hope you liked today’s post also. Do check out my Purvottasana (reverse plank or upward plank) pose on Instagram here:

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Namaste, Health & Peace