How is Indian Cuisine Probiotic Rich? | How are Pickles Healthy? | What is Probiotic Food?

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How is Indian Cuisine Probiotic Rich? | How are Pickles Healthy? | What is Probiotic Food?

Probiotic foods are the foods that naturally contain living organisms such as live bacteria. They are known as ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria as they compete for space and food against harmful bacteria and prevent them from settling in the gut. Probiotic food helps to stimulate natural digestive enzymes to improve the digestive system of a human body and it improves gut health.

The term probiotic is derived from the Latin preposition “pro,” which means “for” and the Greek word “biotic” meaning “bios” or “life.” Probiotics aid in digestion, boost immunity, and prevent countless conditions ranging from allergies to autism.

How Does Fermentation Work? Fermentation in food processing is the process of converting carbohydrates to organic acids using microorganisms- yeasts or bacteria under anaerobic conditions, which means that no oxygen is present. Bacteria typically ferment in a process known as lactic acid fermentation. Lactic acid bacteria ferment lactose resulting in the production of pyruvic acid and eventually lactic acid. This acid is responsible for the tangy flavors in many fermented products. These metabolites preserve products and create unique flavors, textures, and enhanced nutrition.

In simple words, fermentation is respiration without using oxygen. Fermentation leads to the production of different organic molecules like lactic acid, which also leads to the formation of energy molecules ATP. Fermentation helps in the production of good bacteria that fight against bad bacteria.

Nowadays, Probiotic food is a popular term among health-conscious people as well as health counselors. But probiotic foods are not newly introduced. This is the conventional method to improve gut health, and almost every cuisine has its own form of probiotic food. There are many popular Probiotic foods in world cuisine like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kefir, and some Indian traditional Pickles & south Indian staples.

Probiotic, truly standing for good gut bacteria, is interestingly made from natural fermentation processes that enlist the following benefits:

  • Helps to improve digestive processes & protein efficiency ratios of the body
  • Helps to relieve intestinal distress
  • Reliable sources of minerals, antioxidants & vitamins

Our Indian traditional cuisine is very rich, even in terms of probiotic food. As I earlier mentioned, Probiotic foods are naturally fermented foods, and we Indians have many naturally fermented foods in our cuisine. Our sages very wisely designed the Indian cuisine, where we get all types of foods, including probiotic food.

Indian cuisine is completely based on the formation of our body and its requirements, and it is yummy too. Generally, people think that it’s a spicy cuisine. Somehow, it is true, but not completely, as there are many health benefits of Indian spices if taken in a certain amount. This is a vast field to talk about! I will talk about Indian spices and their benefits elaborately in my other blog.

In this blog, I will cover the health benefits of probiotic food in Indian cuisine.

The myriad nuances of Indian Cuisine have a perennial benefit of Probiotic Food since the beginning. From the Pickles which our Dadis & Nanis have prepared according to the season in mason jars, South Indian staples like dosa, idli & Uttapam, Gujarati Dhoklas to our own Indian fermented appetizer “KANJI,” we have enriched Indian culture with the essential presence of Probiotic food.

Nowadays, homemade Pickles are vanishing from our kitchens. Homemade Pickles’ yummy and tangy taste has been replaced by the thought of it being spicy and an extra part of our plate. We can’t say this to be the correct thought, as we don’t know the actual reason behind why pickles were inculcated in our food by our sages. Pickles are basically a combination of spices and the natural fermentation of the main ingredients, i.e., veggies which make it more health-friendly. Due to fermentation, pickles become soft and sour in taste and come in the category of probiotic food.

I’d like to explain how the Indian Food is probiotic-rich, especially our pickles, kanji, and other fermented food. The process of making pickles is completely fermentation-based, which helps to enhance the taste and sourness of the pickles with the help of spices. This also helps in developing the antioxidant properties and makes them the source of essential vitamins and minerals. Pickles boost immunity because they produce the good bacteria. Every ingredient that is used in making different types of pickles imparts each of their health benefits along with the fermentation and the spices added. Some of the health benefits are as follows:

  1. Indian pickles have antioxidant properties and help in boosting our immunity.
  2. Indian pickles can protect our liver and other digestive organs by producing good bacteria.
  3. They are rich sources of essential vitamins and minerals.

Why am I emphasizing the intake of Indian pickles? Although every pickle is made through the process of fermentation, the Indian pickles contain many healthy spices in them, which makes the Indian pickles healthier and tastier too!

Pickles are very easy to make and are a rich approach to probiotic food, which we can add to our regular food. There are many varieties of pickles such as those made from lemon, Gooseberries, and vegetable pickles like Radish, Carrot, Turnip, and raw turmeric pickle.

Recipe links for Pickles:

Note: Always use a small quantity of pickles in your food. When you are consuming pickles in your diet, always eat less spicy food (especially when you eat Indian food).

Precisely, the Indian Cuisine has hosted varieties of nutritious Probiotic Food, comprising sour pickles, prominently relished with good Radish, Carrot & Chilli Pickle. These varieties serve the apt peppery & satisfying crunch with all the goodness of a Probiotic.

Continuing this, many Indian meals use the savior & probiotic ingredient Yogurt. Its taste and flavor reside on the palate of every Indian. From its overnight conventional preparation method to its inoculation to ferment South Indian delicacies like dosa, idli, uttapam and our favorite curd rice is astonishing. Yogurt is also used in making many Indian Curries, buttermilk, and the amazing varieties of raitas. Due to the use of Yogurt in many traditional curries, they also become probiotic-rich.

Recipe links for Raitas, Curries & South Indian Delicacies:

In the same process of fermentation, kanji also helps to improve our gut health. It is made in a very simple way using only mustard seeds, salt, turmeric, chili, and sometimes yogurt is also used. It has the best properties of digestion. You can say kanji is our “desi appetizer”. Carrot Kanji & kanji bada are the most popular varieties of kanji.

Recipe link for Kanji:

The list of Probiotic Food in India is never-ending from numerous locations & traditional preparation methods, its merit approaches everyone. But the hastily evolving round-the-clock schedules & our increasing use of probiotic supplements (or market-made Probiotic food) has endangered the natural & conventional methods of fermentation in our households that nourish Probiotic properties. You should keep in mind not to consume market-made probiotics.

The foods that give your body beneficial probiotics are those fermented using a natural process. The jars of pickles that you can buy off the shelf at the supermarket are sometimes pickled using vinegar (artificial) and not the natural fermentation process using live organisms, which means they don’t contain probiotics. Similar is with Yogurt. Always make yogurt at home and avoid the market-made yogurt.

So, always try to make probiotics food at home. Whether it’s pickles or any other food.

While we have seen Probiotic food & its healthy indulgence, Prebiotic food is no different. It consists of a wholesome mix of fiber content, including peas, legumes, bananas, berries, as primary ingredients for infinite dishes to savor. The best example of Prebiotic food is Sprouts (made from legumes).

I conclude by encouraging every household to relinquish the traditional fermentation methods to inspire probiotic food in the Indian diet ensuring the body far from diseases, as Hippocrates said “All diseases begin in the gut.”

The equilibrium between good and bad gut bacteria shall influence a fit mind and body.

Head out to my YouTube Channel/website (www.chefruchikajain.com) to resolve all doubts & savor the above Probiotic Food. You can follow my recipes of pickles, kanji, and south Indian delicacies.

Here are the recipes links:

  • Oats kadhi
  • Sprouts
  • Sprout chaat
  • Gooseberries pickle
  • Carrot radish pickle
  • Lemon pickle
  • Oats dosa
  • Oats idli
  • Uttapam
  • Raitas
  • Dips
  • Curd rice
  • Dhoklas
  • Kaanji
  • Salads

Note: Ask and consult from your doctor to consume the probiotics or Prebiotics food according to your body or health conditions (if any)

Other popular probiotic foods are:

  • Smoothies
  • Indian raitas
  • Buttermilk (made in a traditional style)
  • Whey Water
  • Cottage cheese/paneer
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Yoghurt
  • Peas (according to a Japanese survey)
  • Others mentioned in the above article

PREBIOTIC food:

  • Wheat bran
  • Flaxseeds
  • Apples
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Bananas
  • Asparagus
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • cabbage
  • Dandelion greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Seaweed
  • Sprouts
  • Legumes
  • Berries
  • And many more….

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