10 Best Probiotic-Rich Foods That You Can Find In India

In India, the consumption of probiotic foods has been on the rise in recent years. This is due to the numerous health benefits that they offer, such as increased immunity, better digestion, and improved gut health.

There are many different probiotic foods in India, but not all of them are created equal. Therefore, in this post, I’ve compiled a list of the best probiotic foods that you can easily find in India.

From Curd to Achaar and beyond, read on to learn more about the best probiotic foods that our country has to offer.

But before we get into the list, let’s understand probiotics and why they’re so important for your health.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) that confer many health benefits on the host when consumed in adequate amounts. 

The term probiotics is a combination of the Latin words “pro”, meaning “for”, and “biotic”, meaning “life.” 

Probiotic definition

These microorganisms are found in some foods and are often called “good bacteria” because they help keep your gut healthy.

Wait! What is gut?

In simple terms, the gut is a complex ecosystem of bacteria that resides in your digestive system. These bacteria play an essential role in digestion, immunity, hormones production and even your mood.

The gut is sometimes referred to as the “second brain” because it can affect so many different aspects of your health.

That’s why it’s so important to keep your gut healthy because when it’s out of balance, you can experience anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, and this is where probiotics come.

In short, probiotics are live bacteria, and probiotic foods are those foods that contain these live bacteria that help to keep your gut healthy.

Why are probiotics important for your health?

Keeping your gut healthy is one of the benefits of probiotics. There are plenty more ways eating probiotic foods help you.

Here are some of the solid reasons why probiotics are important to your health:

  • Boost your immune system.
  • It helps in reducing the risk of cancer(e.g. colorectal cancer).
  • Probiotics can help prevent and treat diarrhea.
  • It helps in improving some mental conditions such as anxiety and depression.
  • Probiotics may help you keep your heart healthy.
  • It can reduce the severity of some allergies and Eczema.
  • Reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders.
  • It fights against harmful microbes or bad bacteria in your digestive system.

Well, you are now aware that probiotics have plenty of benefits for your body. So, how do you make sure you’re getting enough probiotics in your daily diet?

10 Best Probiotic Foods in India

Curd (Dahi)

A close up of fresh curd

Curd or Dahi is one of the most commonly available probiotic foods in India. It is made from the fermentation of milk and has a sour and tangy flavour. 

It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. 

Dahi falls into the probiotic food categories because its high in bacteria called lactobacilli, which is healthy for your gut and overall body.

It is cost-effective, can be made at home and is readily available throughout the many stores across India.

Also read: 12 Amazing Health Benefits Of Curd That You Never Knew

Kefir

kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains, which are a combination of bacteria and yeast. These grains ferment the lactose in milk to produce lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and ethanol.

It has a slightly sour, acidic taste and a somewhat effervescent mouthfeel. It is traditionally consumed as a beverage and used in smoothies, curd, and baking.

Kefir is a nutrient-rich drink high in protein, calcium, and vitamin D. It has high levels of lactobacilli and Bifidus bacteria and is a more powerful probiotic than curd.

Furthermore, kefir contains lactose enzymes, which makes it easily tolerated by lactose intolerant individuals.

Kanji

Kanji is a well-known probiotic drink from North India made with water, black carrots, beetroot, and heeng. It is typically prepared in India during the winter months.

With being a good source of probiotics, kanji is also a great vitamin B12 that can help reduce dark circles and improve neurological symptoms.

Cottage cheese (Paneer)

Pieces of cottage cheese or paneer in glass bowl

You might have been eating paneer for years, but did you know that paneer is a probiotic?

Paneer is a cheese made from freshly curdled milk that contains good bacteria. It also has high protein and calcium content, beneficial for stronger muscles and bones.

Though, it’s important to note that not all types of cheese are probiotics. It depends on the way the cheese is prepared.

Green peas

Green peas

With being a good source of vitamins, zinc and antioxidants, green peas are also a great probiotic.

A study published In 2013 found that green peas are a good source of a power probiotic called Leuconostoc mesenteroides.

Pickles (Achaar)

Cucumber pickles in glass bowl

Pickles have been a significant part of Indian cuisine for many years. As per studies, Naturally fermented pickles are a great source of probiotics that protects the body microbiome and support the growth of healthful bacteria.

However, note that not all pickles can be considered probiotics, and the only ones that have been made by bacterial fermentation are natural probiotics.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate and cocoa power in spoon

When it comes to chocolate, most people think of milk chocolate. It’s the most popular and the most heavily advertised chocolate. However, dark chocolate with a greater amount of cocoa is better for your health.

Some evidence suggests that the antioxidants and cocoa present in dark chocolate get fermented by the bacteria in digestive tract. As a result of this, gut microbes such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli levels gets increased.

The research also have found that cocoa’s effect on the intestinal microbial ecosystem is similar to that of prebiotics and probiotics.

However, to get gut-healthy benefits, you must eat chocolate that:

  • Made with unsweetened, unprocessed cocoa powder.
  • Contains at least 70% cocoa.
  • is low in sugar and contains no artificial sweeteners.
  • is organic
  • and non-GMO

Fermented foods

Group of south Indian dishes

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a fermentation process. This process involves the conversion of sugar to acids or the addition of bacteria or yeast to food. The result is food loaded with probiotics, enzymes, and vitamins.

You might not know, but the famous south Indian dishes like idli, dosa, appam, dhokla and uttapam are all made by fermenting rice and lentils(dal), making them high in good bacteria.

Note: Not all fermented foods are probiotics, and not all probiotics are fermented.

Lassi

Indian Lassi in glass

Lassi is a one of the most refreshing curd-based probiotic foods in India. It is made with either plain curd or a mixture of curd and water. It is often consumed as a refreshing drink, especially during summers, and is a probiotic beverage.

Always choose lassi made traditionally using curd or milk as a base and adding lactic-acid producing bacteria.

Don’t go with the lassi available in the market that contains only pasteurized curd and sugar.

Traditional Buttermilk (chaas)

Buttermilk of chass in lothario

Buttermilk is a dairy product made from cow’s milk. It is made by churning cream into butter and adding buttermilk to the butterfat. The buttermilk is lactic acid fermented, which makes it thick and sour.

It is a common drink in many Indian and Nepalese homes and is a good source of probiotics.

Are there any side effects of probiotic foods?

While the benefits of probiotic foods are well documented and generally safe, you should be aware of some potential side effects.

However, these side effects are extremely rare and only affect a small percentage of the population.

Here are some of the side effects of probiotic foods you need to know:

  • Adding probiotic food to your diet may cause gas and bloat, and in some cases, they may also lead to diarrhea. This is very likely in people who have weakened immune systems.
  • Some probiotic foods contain Amines like histamine and tyramine, which can raise blood pressure and cause headaches in sensitive people.
  • People with allergies and intolerances should take extra caution when eating probiotic foods because they may contain ingredients that they are allergic to.

How to get the most out of your probiotics?

The Indian market for probiotic foods or supplements is growing rapidly. With so many foods and supplements available, it’s important to remember a few things while taking your probiotic.

Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your probiotic foods or supplements.

  • Take one dose of probiotic per day, either as a supplement or in the form of foods.
  • For an average person, there is no need of taking probiotic supplements.
  • Do Include different types of probiotic foods to get the most benefit.
  • Do keep probiotic supplements or foods refrigerated.
  • When purchasing probiotic foods at the store, look for “active cultures” on the label.

Final words

So, these were the top ten probiotic foods in India. You don’t have to eat all of them, but try including 2-3 in your diet and see how your immune system and digestion improve.

They’ll surprise you with how good they make you feel.

I hope this information was helpful to you.

Don’t forget to share and leave a comment if you have any questions.

Meanwhile, here are a few other posts you might love to read:

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Yatender

Yatender

Yatender is the founder of investohealth.com, which is a health and wellness blog. He is passionate about writing, health and helping people. He believes that everything can be possible if you put your heart in it. He is always open to queries and suggestions for his articles, you can connect with him on his social media platforms.

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