Who would have thought that gut health was important? Well, it is. Who would have thought that live cultured bacteria is what we must have to ensure great gut health?
Now don’t make that face. Do remember that it took a popular Bollywood actor to tell us about Probiotic and its positive effect on our health and all the goodness that goes with it. The good news is that our traditional Indian khana is prepared with the wisdom of the yore which includes probiotics. Here we dwell on the same…
But first, what is probiotic?
Probiotics are good bacteria that stimulate the healthy enzymes and digestive juices, keeping our digestive organs functioning without a hitch. So if you think that a bacterium is creepy and crawly, think again. Found in our gut, it improves our overall health and has proven health benefits to reduce many diseases. So if you love your stomach, your diet should include probiotic foods to maintain a robust digestive system and a potent immunity.
Our granny always believed that if you have a good appetite your health is in perfect shape; which would mean that origin of super health is your tummy and your gut. What keeps our digestive system running smoothly is the good bacterium, live cultured bacteria, to ensure good digestion. A live or good bacterium is cultured through fermentation. Remember dahi, that katori of goodness is a must have in many cultures especially the South. It is no wonder then that many of their dishes are fermented not to mention popular today.
Therefore, we will not shy away from making dahi, yoghurt, as our leading dish on our list. Here are some probiotic food products that are high in the good bacteria.
Dahi or yoghurt is welcome in this hot weather. Rich in calcium, proteins, it is one of the healthiest bacteria foods that our stomach loves. As it is made by a process of fermentation, the live and active cultures become potent and hence extremely beneficial for ‘tandoorusti’. Next best way to have it is in chass form. Chaas remains a weight watcher’s favourite cool off drink. Avoid sweet lassi or yoghurt if you are on a diet.
Did you know that if you are in a pickle you are lucky? Okay, okay jokes aside, all aachar lover will be thrilled to know that pickles are rich in probiotic. But naturally! A favourite side-kick addition to an Indian meal, pickles are prepared by fermenting seasonal vegetables, kairi and sometimes fruits. When kept under the sun to ripen, it soaks up the goodness loading that container of pickle with natural enzymes. It is easy to make and great to eat and India’s favourite spoon of yumminess.
Dosa, Idlisambar, Dosa, Uttapam:
For health go South! As we mentioned earlier, amongst all Indian cuisines, the South-Indian cuisine tops with dishes that area rich source of probiotic.
Idli sambar, dosa, uttapam, and all such breakfast delicacies are primed by fermenting rice, white urad dal and other lentils overnight. This packs the dish with live cultures of the good bacteria. Low in fat, these dishes are an all time favourite of many and a go-to saviour meal of all.
If you happen to be in Tamil Nadu, then ‘pazhedhu saadham’ is not to be missed. In this prep, the rice is kept overnight in water. The next day it is mashed into a gruel and enjoyed with buttermilk and salt.
If you lucky to be in the abundance of greenery and nature of Kerala then toddy is a drink you have to taste. Kerala’s fermented drink, toddy is made from the sap of palm trees. Do have their appams. The bubbles on the appam surface look absolutely appetizing not to mention that it is A-One in good bacteria. These days toddy is sometimes used in making this favourite breakfast meal.
You can’t go wrong with dhokla. Dhokla is a popular Gujarati snack made by fermenting chana dal. This great favourite has multiple uses as you can have dhokla for breakfast, snack or meal. What’s more, it is rich in live and active culture too.
If you are in North India during winters, you must have kanji. Trust us, this fantastic drink is a fermented drink prepared with winter carrots, beetroot, spices, and mustard seeds mixed together and kept under the sun for a week or so. Gulp down a glass and thank us later.
Pakhala bhaat also called panta bhaat is an Oriya delicacy. A fermented delight, this is made from leftover cooked rice. It is prepared by adding water to cooked rice and left to ferment in an earthen pot overnight. Curd or a slice of lemon is also added. This fermented rice is then eaten next day with salt, lime and chillies. There are many variations of this dish.
Good to know:
Apples: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” because eating apples balance the favourable pH levels in our body to ascertain a perfectly stable environment for good bacteria.
Actually, in the olden times, the process of fermentation was utilized to preserve food without refrigeration