Probiotics, also known as good bacteria that live in the digestive tract. There are about 400-500 types of good gastrointestinal bacteria. These are essential to fight bad bacteria and regulate digestion. Lactic acid bacteria, bifido bacteria and yeasts are commonly used as probiotics to aid digestion.

Why probiotics are essential: Our gastrointestinal bacteria need to be kept in check for our digestive system to function properly. Probiotics ensure proper functioning of the digestive system and help prevent problems like constipation. They can also prevent infections like urinary tract infections, fight cold and cough and enhance immunity. This is why everybody needs a good dose of probiotics every day.

There are many natural sources of probiotics. You must have these probiotics regularly if you want to keep indigestion and related diseases away:

Yoghurt: One of the cheapest, easiest and healthiest ways to get your dose of probiotics is by having yoghurt or curd every day. While store-bought curd is popular with many, it is best to set curd on your own and eat that. To set curd, boil 500 ml milk and wait till it becomes warm. Put two spoons of curd (this could be last night’s or store-bought) and beat it. Mix the warm milk in it and constantly stir it for about 100 times. Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place overnight or for at least 6-7 hours.

Kimchi: You may have eaten kimchi in Asian restaurants. But did you know how healthy kimchi is or your gut? It is one of the best natural probiotic foods you can make at home. Kimchi is essentially pickled cabbage. To make kimchi, combine chopped cabbage with vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, red chilli flakes, sesame seeds, garlic and ginger paste, sugar and salt. Keep this in a jar and allow it to ferment for about 5 days. Then keep it in the fridge. It’s best to eat this after 15-20 days.

Lemon juice with whey: This is a fairly simple recipe that needs just regular lemon juice and whey (the water that’s left when you hang curd and let the water drain into a bowl). Squeeze 8-10 lemons into a jar. Fill it with 10 cups of water and 2 cups of whey. Stir sugar or honey and let it sit for 2-3 days. Then store the lemonade in the fridge. You can drink this chilled. You could add liquid stevia to this too if you want more sweetness.