Probiotic foods are foods that contain microorganisms like bacteria, but the good kind, and yeast. These are referred to as probiotics. While you have been told that bacteria cause illnesses and should be completely avoided, not every bacteria are bad.
Probiotics have some health benefits including improving digestive health, reducing the effect of lactose intolerance, improving heart health, and more. With such benefits, taking probiotics would do your body a lot of good.
People often depend on supplements for their supply of probiotics, but you can get it from some foods as well.
Today, we would be looking at some of the healthy probiotic foods in Nigeria.
Yoghurt is, perhaps, the most probiotic-rich food. It is made from the milk of cows or goats, which is left to ferment. The fermentation process is achieved with the help of bacteria in the milk. The bacteria stay even after the yoghurt has been packaged and sealed.
When shopping for your yoghurt, make sure you choose the one made from natural milk or with an ‘organic’ sign on it. Or, you can just stick with Greek Yoghurt, which contains low sugar.
Yoghurt is great for people with lactose intolerance. The bacteria would make it easier to digest the yoghurt without any stomach problems.
Garri is another food that is rich in probiotics. Garri, which is made from cassava, goes through the process of fermentation before it becomes the stuff we eat.
The probiotics become active in the garri during that fermentation process. The longer the fermentation, the higher the probiotics level.
Pap, also called ogi (Yoruba) or akamu, is a meal made from corn and millet. The corn is left to sit in water for some time, which allows it to ferment.
One good thing about pap is that it does not involve any form of processing, which means it preserves all the probiotics. Hence, it is one of the most natural probiotic foods in Nigeria. It is also affordable, readily available and can be easily prepared.
4. Fura da nono
Fura da nono is a form of local drink that is very popular in the north. Fura da nono is made from raw cow or goat milk that has been left to ferment for a day or two.
Besides its sweet taste, fura is a very healthy drink and is rich in various nutrients, including probiotics.
Kunu is another popular drink in the north. It is made from fermented millet, which gives it a rich, creamy taste. Kunu is rich in fibre and also helps lower the risks of diabetes. In addition to that, it also supplies your body with a healthy amount of probiotics.
This one is popular with the Igbos. Ugba is made from fermented oil bean seed. It features popularly in Abacha, also known as ‘African salad’, where it adds taste and flavour to the meal. Ugba is also known as ukpaka in Nigeria. This is one of the most readily available probiotic foods in Nigeria.
7. Locust Beans
Locust beans, also known as iru in Yoruba, is another food rich in probiotics. Locust beans are used as an ingredient in preparing local dishes as it helps add taste and flavour to the dish. Other health benefits of locusts beans includes lowering cholesterol levels, treating hypertension and preventing diarrhea.
8. Green Peas
Green peas is a common ingredient used for preparing jollof rice or salad in Nigeria. A study found that green peas may contain a probiotic called leuconostoc mesenteroides.
Green peas are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C and E, zinc, and antioxidants that strengthen your immune system.
Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink that is becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria. It is made by adding kefir grains, which are cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast, to cow’s or goat’s milk.
Kefir is thought to have originated from the Turkish word “keyif,” which means feeling good after eating. This drink has been linked to various health benefits, including improved bone health, digestive health, and protection against infections.
It is also a good option for people with lactose intolerance. It contains several major strains of friendly bacteria and yeast, making it a more diverse and potent probiotic source than yogurt.
Ogiri is a popular fermented food in Nigeria that is known for its unique flavor and pungent smell. This healthy food is made by fermenting oil seeds such as castor oil seeds, sesame seeds, or egusi seeds.
The seeds are boiled until they are soft, wrapped in banana leaves, and allowed to ferment in large clay pots for several days. After fermentation, the mixture is smoked for two hours and mashed into an oily paste known as ogiri.
This probiotic-rich food is commonly used for flavoring soups such as egusi soup, oha soup, onugbu soup, and utazi soup, as well as other delicacies. Studies have shown that ogiri has powerful probiotic potential.
Although it has a strong smell, ogiri is a healthy food that is rich in probiotics and is a staple in Nigerian cuisine.
11. Palm Wine
Palm wine is a popular and healthy probiotic food in Nigeria that is widely consumed in many parts of the country. It is produced from the fermentation of sap from a variety of palm species, including coconut palms and oil palms.
The alcoholic beverage is a sweet, milky, effervescent, and alcoholic beverage with some health benefits. According to studies, palm wine contains a variety of probiotic bacteria that can promote digestive health, boost the immune system, and might lower cholesterol.
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