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Natural Cure

Do you need curd for probioctics?

Curd has long been a staple in the Indian diet. Whether it is used as buttermilk called chaas in north India, majjige or sambaram in south India or used in its thick, creamy form as ‘dahi’ in biryanis, raitas, chaat or in the must-end-to all-meals - tayir sadam of south Indian cuisine, curd has, for long, thought to have cooling and digestive properties.

Today, we examine the claim of curd being good for the stomach and digestion as it is considered a probiotic 

What is curd?

Curd is a naturally fermented product of dairy. By adding a previous batch of curd called a ‘starter’ or by using a probiotic capsule, or by other means of adding ‘live’ cultures, boiled milk is ‘set’ to form curd. The proliferation of the small, initial set of bacteria under the right conditions, ferments the milk to form curd. The milk takes on a thicker, creamier consistency and also develops a slightly tangy taste.

Claims on health 

Every mother or grandmother insists on polishing off a meal with curd for its probiotic properties. Supposedly teeming with beneficial bacteria, it is claimed to settle the stomach after a heavy meal. Look behind every commercial curd or yogurt packet and you will see the same claim.

So are these claims right?

To analyze this further, we need some basic understanding of a few terms.

What is a probiotic?

Our body houses trillions of microorganisms. They play an important part in nutrition – digestion, assimilation, and excretion. They even govern our moods, cravings - and in fact, our personality.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are claimed to have health benefits when consumed. These foods contain strains of healthy bacteria like Bifidobacterium Lactis, Bacillus Mesentericus, Streptococcus Faecalis, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Longum, Bifidobacterium Bifidum, Lactobacillus Salivarius, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Sporogenes, and Clostridium Butyricum. They are said to help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or are prescribed to help your body’s community of microorganisms return to a healthy condition after being disturbed due to an illness or consumption of antibiotics.

How do microorganisms develop and flourish in the body?

When we follow a healthy diet, the gut populates with the right bacteria which keeps our digestion strong. The food we eat is eaten or digested by the bacteria in our alimentary canal. These bacteria develop organically just like a healthy soil houses earthworms and thousands of other microorganisms which makes for healthy, fertile soil.

Any good gardener will tell you that healthy soil cannot be built overnight. It needs natural inputs like biomass, water, sunlight, and favorable temperature along with loving tending to create the right conditions. The right conditions develop the right micro-organisms unique to that environment. 

More hype, less truth

Curd is strategically positioned as a probiotic, just like - milk for calcium, meat for protein, or fish for Omega-3. The truth of the matter is that curd is a product of milk and hence brings in the same problems as milk consumption i.e acid-forming, difficult to digest, high in fat and protein aggravating health problems, causing hormonal fluctuations, respiratory congestion, and increasing skin issues.

Effects on digestion

The process of curd fermentation breaks down most amount of the lactose present in the milk. It converts locates into lactate, which may make curd easier to digest compared to milk, especially for those who are lactose intolerant.

However, the protein casein, found in all dairy products milk is a complex, hard-to-digest complex protein that is implicated in many health issues. It is available in abundance even in curd.

For thousands of years, the body has been balancing its microbiome without the need for external anti or pro-biotics. All that nature asks for is the right inputs. 

We do not need any external sources of probiotics

External sources of probiotics disturb the existing balance of micro-organisms in the gut. If the internal conditions of the body aren’t conducive, these externally introduced ‘good bacteria’ die after a short period of time as they don’t get their food source.

Instead of consuming probiotics, focus on pre-biotics.

Pre-biotics are food compounds that induce beneficial microorganisms' growth or activity.

Healthy bacteria die and the bad bacteria develop when we take in unnatural foods or antibiotics (anti-life). This is a dynamic activity that keeps changing on a day-to-day basis. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and sprouts are life-promoting, especially when eaten in raw form. These natural foods are full of fiber and water which provide the right food and environment for the good bacteria to develop. 

Myth corner

There is a popular belief, that curd, or rather the watered-down, low-fat version i.e buttermilk has cooling properties. Copiously consumed during the summer months, it is thought to bring down the heat level, bring some respite and relieve even conditions of ulcers in the stomach.

These effects are just temporary. The truth of the matter is curd, due to its acidic and hard-to-digest properties, draws the vital energies of the body, causing heat and discomfort in the abdomen. Long-term usage aggravates stomach issues even further.

Why not go for other healthy, cooling drinks like bel sherbet, aam ka panna, spiced buttermilk, or Sol kadhi?

Conclusion

In summary, your internal environment creates the kind of bacteria needed to keep everything in balance. Nourish your body with the right regional, seasonal plant-based foods.

Follow a natural diet full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts, and your body will nourish and provide a home for the right bacteria and keep your gut bacteria in the right balance.

Popular Recipes With Curd Alternatives



Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food & lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. The views expressed by the users are their personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.

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