17 Best Probiotics for Gut Health in Corporate Employees
The world is full of junk and instant meals. However, in recent times, much emphasis has been shifted towards healthy, nutrient-enriched, and fortified foods. People are taking up health and fitness regimes, especially the working folk.
Corporate wellness is a key derivative of a productive workforce. Healthy coping mechanisms are prevalent in the workplace. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is difficult. But adopting a healthy and active lifestyle, and consuming probiotics for gut health could be a good start.
What are Probiotics?
The term "probiotic" is defined as live microorganisms which possess the ability of conferring health benefits to the host. They protect your digestive tract against disease-causing bacteria.
As a working professional, you cannot afford to fall sick every second day. The consumption of probiotics can prevent the frequency of health ailments to a great extent.
Your GI tract is home to an open ecosystem that comprises various types of live bacteria. As a corporate employee, it is not quite feasible to keep track of your daily nutrient intake, or you may lack the means to access what your diet is lacking.
What are the benefits of incorporating probiotics for gut health?
Probiotics stimulate the growth of good bacteria while protecting your digestive tract against disease-causing bacteria. As a working professional, you cannot afford to fall sick every second day, and the consumption of probiotics can prevent the frequency of health ailments to a great extent.
Here are the 10 best ways in which probiotics can benefit you:
- Produce antibodies at the time of birth and as an infant.
- Regulate gut motility for faster elimination of body waste.
- Help in nutrient digestion and absorption.
- Help in the production of vitamins , such as vitamin C, B2, B12, and ergocalciferol or D2, EFA's, menaquinone or K2, coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone, pyrroloquinoline quinone or PQQ.
- Metabolize bile acids and steroids regulate cholesterol levels.
- Break down toxins, mutagens (causes irreversible changes to nucleic acid), and xenobiotics (such as food pollutants, industrial chemicals, pesticides, artificial flavoring, fragrances)
- Decrease the chances of hypertension by regulating blood pressure.
- Treatment and prevention of peptic ulcers.
- Treatment and prevention of viral diarrhea in children.
- Reduce constipation and helps prevent colon cancer.
How can Probiotics help working individuals?
The most prized asset of a company is its workforce. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected employees both physically and mentally. Now that we are proceeding towards normalcy and many companies are calling back their employees to work from the office, maintaining a healthy workforce has become a challenge.
A huge number of corporate employees worldwide suffer from undiagnosed diseases such as stress, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular issues, and osteoporosis, to name a few. Adding probiotics to the diet can influence a healthy workforce, promote employee engagement, and prevent absenteeism by creating a disease-free and productive workplace.
6 Ways in which Probiotics can boost Employee Health:
- Most probiotic foods are pre-made; hence it is easily accessible to working individuals.
- Many employees are taking up fitness regimes and are open to consuming natural and organic foods instead of junk with higher calorie content.
- Diversity in the gut flora keeps an employee disease-free and lowers the rate of absenteeism.
- Probiotics lower the chances of employees suffering from hypertension and stress.
- Employees that are obese experience higher levels of absenteeism due to illness than fit employees. Probiotics are known to prevent weight gain by utilizing sugars and fats efficiently.
- The gut and brain are connected and produce the same neurotransmitters. So a healthy level of gut microflora corresponds to the production of "happy hormones" such as serotonin and dopamine. This allows the employees to feel emotionally active throughout the day.
You can also read: 30 Best Healthy Eating Quotes To Inspire Workplace Wellness
17 Best Probiotics for Gut Health That You can incorporate into your diet
Though there are many benefits of incorporating probiotics into your diet, as mentioned above, they are of many kinds. And each has unique advantages, just as your body has individual needs.
If you are looking for dairy, non-dairy, gluten-free, no-sodium, and even vegan options, this article discusses probiotic food options in detail.
To make it simpler, we have classified probiotics into the following categories.
- Vegetable/Fruits based.
- Cereals based
Most probiotics for gut health are dairy based and are commonly consumed worldwide.
Yogurt is a common probiotic and is consumed all over the world. Daily yogurt consumption has various health benefits, and it corresponds to better bone health because of its calcium content and is beneficial for hypertensive people.
Yogurt is also believed to promote weight loss in obese adults.
It is safe to say that lactose-intolerant people can consume it as the bacteria convert lactose to lactic acid, which produces the typical sour taste of yogurt.
"At least 75 percent of the people in the studies responded with fewer acne lesions after a six-to-eight week course" (cbsnews)
Although, always keep in mind that not all yogurt contains live probiotic bacteria, and in some cases, these bacteria are killed during processing.
You can make it a routine habit to have a bowl of yogurt along with your breakfast before heading to work or carry a tetrapak for your lunch.
When the sun is scorching hot, and you are heading out of work to grab a drink to quench your thirst and beat the heat, buttermilk is a perfect healthy drink for you.
It is a healthy alternative that does not impede your diet plans and helps maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Traditional buttermilk is the fluid that is left over after butter is churned out milk. It is a dairy product that lactose-intolerant people can consume.
With the ongoing high demand, there is a need to process big batches. Hence live bacteria culture is added to milk which is then heated and left to ferment overnight. This preparation is found in American supermarkets and lacks probiotic benefits.
Buttermilk is enriched with Vitamins B2 and B12 and minerals like calcium and phosphorus.
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Kefir derives from the Turkish word keyif, meaning"feeling good after eating it." It is prepared by the fermentation of kefir grains and milk. The microbes in the grains ferment the carbohydrates in milk over 24 hours, and the grains can be removed from the drink and reused.
In comparison to yogurt, kefir has a higher probiotic content. Kefir grains are a particularly rich and diverse source of probiotics. They contain 61 different probiotic strains of bacteria and yeast.
Other dairy products that have undergone fermentation use much fewer strains and don't include any yeast. 'Kefiran,' a carbohydrate present in kefir, also has antibacterial properties.
A glass of kefir can soothe and enrich your gut with probiotics after you have had a cheat meal at work.
Suggested read: 11 Refreshing and Healthy Energy Drinks to Recharge You at Work
4. Sour Cream
Sour cream is prepared by fermenting pasteurized cream from full-fat dairy milk. It is a very popular dressing for salads and tacos and can also be used as a dip by itself paired with chips or onion rings. You can add a sour cream ranch dressing while packing a salad for lunch to make it interesting.
If you are religiously following a diet plan and the fat content concerns you, fat-free sour cream is prepared from skimmed milk with added food starch to attain that creamy texture; this cuts down the fat content and reduces the calorie count by 60%.
Sour cream contains vitamins A, D, E, and K. Deficiencies in these vitamins may result in diabetes.
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Not all cheeses undergo fermentation or contain live bacteria. So read the labels for live-cultured active probiotics present in the cheese. Generally, probiotic content is observed in cheeses that have been aged and not heated later. Both soft and hard kinds of cheese can be considered, like ricotta, provolone, cheddar, gruyère, gouda, and cottage cheese.
Originating in Indonesia, tempeh contains immense probiotics for gut health. Since people have started to adopt veganism as it is a soy-based product.
Tempeh is prepared from cooked and fermented soybeans and pressed into a cake-like block. It has a very neutral and earthy flavor, like mushrooms. So if you are looking for vegan lunch options to carry to work, you can make yourself a tempeh sandwich or a wrap. You don't have to worry about your daily dietary requirements despite being a vegan, and you can carry on with your work and be productive throughout the day.
Soybeans contain a high level of phytic acid which competes with the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc. But, fermentation lowers the phytic acid content, which may increase the body's absorption of iron and zinc.
All soy products are vegan and gluten-free.
Japan is known for its highly efficient and driven work culture, and its healthy and fit employees contribute to that.
Miso is a Japanese preparation. It contains a type of filamentous fungus called A.oryzae, also known as koji mold in Japan. It makes it a very rich source of probiotics, supplements your gut health, and protects you from various health conditions.
The soybeans used to make miso contain chemical compounds called isoflavones. Studies have also suggested that high levels of isoflavones are linked to a lower risk of cardiac arrests and strokes in Japanese women.
It is also believed that miso lowers the risk of stomach cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Miso is something that anyone with an earthy or umami-flavored palate should try.
Cons Many preparers of miso add excess salt to it as a preservative which can cause high blood pressure.
8. Soy Sauce
Soy Sauce is a common condiment in Asian cuisine. As the name suggests, soy sauce is prepared from soybeans, and the fermentation involves bacteria and fungi.
It contains unique carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides that act as a source of energy for the bacteria in the gut.
Soy sauce is consumed in pan Asia. There are different variations available. The Chinese preparation may differ from the Japanese or Korean. Finding the right soy sauce would need a little hopping around grocery stores and reading labels.
Natto is another nutrient-enriched and fortified dish unique to Japan.
It is known to have a stringy and slimy texture and a strong, pungent smell.
It is more of an acquired taste. And once you get past that, the taste is intriguing and has a tinge of saltiness.
5–10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) are included in the majority of probiotic-rich foods and supplements per serving.
Natto, in contrast, has a range of one million to one billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per gram. As a result, natto has a probiotic content per gram that is almost equal to that of a whole serving of the majority of other probiotic-rich foods or supplements.
Natto is known to boost brain health and improve memory. It can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and autism.
You can also read: Healthy and Tasty Gluten-Free Snacks for the Workplace
As Korean culture is growing increasingly popular all over the world, so is its food. Gochujang is a savory and spicy dish; it is safe to call it a condiment.
Its main ingredients constitute Korean red chili, fermented soybeans, rice syrup, and salt.
It can be added to salads, soups, meat dishes, noodles, or even rice. It helps to maintain the healthy functioning of the digestive system.
It contains the digestive enzymes amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates, and proteases, which breaks down proteins.
Gochujang is not a gluten-free probiotic source
Kimchi, the national dish of South Korea, makes a great source of probiotics and dietary supplements. It consists of lactobacilli, similar to that found in yogurt.
Kimchi is rich in Vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting and prevents our bones from becoming brittle.
It also contains choline, which is known for maintaining cells of the body, muscles, and nervous system and helps keep a good memory. It also acts as a source of antioxidants that remove potent oxidizing agents and protects from damage by free radicals.
So in your fast-paced life, hopping around between your home and a corporate job, you can add such probiotics for gut health to keep yourself disease free and promote a healthy lifestyle to your peers.
Believed to have originated from China, it is one of the oldest fermented dishes prepared traditionally. It is popular in many cultures, especially in Eastern Europe.
Fermentation proceeds when the yeast and bacteria, naturally present on the cabbage and your hands, as well as in the air, come into contact with the sugars in the cabbage and convert them into carbon dioxide and organic acids.
Cons Sauerkraut has a high sodium content as it contains a lot of salt, which can cause side effects such as increased pressure.
Pickles (also known as gherkins) are cucumbers preserved in brine.
They are left to ferment in their naturally present lactobacilli, which gives them a sour taste.
They have a lower calorie content and are rich in Vitamin K and act as natural probiotics for gut health.
Pickles preserved with vinegar do not contain live bacteria.
Poi is prepared from the corm of taro root boiled in water, and it is then mashed to form a paste that self-ferments in the presence of yeast and lactic acid bacteria in the plant.
This dish is greatly valued in Hawaiian culture.
Poi is high in calorie content and is easily digestible. It is also rich in iron and calcium, contains no allergens, and acts as a prerequisite for baby food.
15. Green Peas
Green peas are one of the recent probiotics for gut health that have come to light.
Japanese researchers have claimed that green peas contain Leuconostoc mesenteroides, a strain of probiotic bacteria.
So peas, too, can balance the gut microbiota and boost the immune system.
Next time when you are lazy or running late for work, grab a few peas to munch on
16. Fermented Meat
The texture, flavor, and safety of fermented pork products like salami, ham, and sausages are influenced by various cultures. They are immensely popular worldwide.
Lactic acid bacteria are the most significant microorganisms responsible for product change during fermentation (mainly Lactobacillus spp.)
These are well-known sources of protein and contain vitamins B2 and B12, essential for brain function.
Now a lot of us like to eat hamburgers or hotdogs for lunch as cheat meals. But not all of these meat products are naturally fermented, undergo a lot of processing, and may cause a reverse effect.
17. Fermented Fish
Fermented fish is popular in many cultures and consumed mainly in Southeast Asia.
The preparation varies depending on geographical location. Fermented fish harbors various bacterial strains that account for cytotoxic anti-cancer activity.
Hypertension and diabetes are prevalent among corporate employees due to stress and eating habits. Fermented fish is known to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Consumption of probiotics for gut health can reduce the negative impact of many gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and colon inflammation. They help maintain a healthy gut flora which helps maintain good health and stay fit.
For the working folk who tend to care less about their food habits, probiotics could serve as a good dietary supplement as they are available on store shelves very easily these days and offer a wide range of choices as well.
So which of these probiotics foods have you tried yet?
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