Focusing on our gut health is important to keep our immunity in check.
By Chef Prabhakar Nagaraj
Probiotic foods have been gaining a lot of importance in recent times. Basically, it is about how factors related to digestion were and should always be present in the menu. The need is to understand the ingredients that improve gut health by enabling secretion of digestive juices in your stomach. There has been a large influx of such products in the market which have been garnering a lot of attraction. For all foods consumed digestion is a necessity. The process of digestion is breaking down the food that is in complex forms into simpler forms so that it gets absorbed as energy by the body.
There are certain bacteria that enhance gut health and with the modern way of cooking, we have failed to include it in our diet. Going back to the ancient methods of cooking that safeguard these gut healthy bacteria can be useful for us. For example, leftover rice can be soaked in water and consumed in the morning. This is something that was very helpful to the farmers because of the work they did and the food they ate. Basically, such kind of bacteria is needed to aid in good digestion which will result in better energy all through the day.
We value food that is tasty over food with health benefits because we have a greater preference to taste. Examples such as that of molecular gastronomy cuisines are getting popular because of their innovative look and feel but are just chemicals that do not help the bacteria to their job in the stomach.
There are several ingredients that we can incorporate in our diet for the betterment of our gut health and curd tops this list. Bacteria thrive in room temperature and foods that have a content of water and starch host these bacteria as they have sugars vital for the bacteria’s growth. This is the way of nature. Such awareness has been there for a long time but has been forgotten with the advent of modern lifestyle. Now that it is termed as ‘probiotic’, people are getting attracted to its modern terminology. For example, our menu also includes simple yet nutritious dishes such as ragi balls soaked overnight which are eaten with chopped onions and coriander leaves.
Focusing on our gut health is important to keep our immunity in check, especially during this pandemic. The best way to do this is by making changes in our eating preferences. Along with taste, it is also necessary to understand the nutritional needs of our body as that is what keeps our overall health in check.
(The columnist is Managing Partner, Elior India. Views expressed are the author’s own.)