The Beneficial Bacteria

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

 Bacteria, despite being known to be disease-causing, have shown the ability to confer health
qualities when some live forms are consumed in adequate amounts. They act by either protecting the body from invasion of harmful bacteria or by assisting in the treatment of some illnesses by carrying out their normal metabolic activities. These particular bacteria are known as probiotic bacteria. Activities of probiotic Bacteria is strain-specific therefore, it has to be identified to strain level to function effectively.

 Do you know that all humans possess certain microorganisms in some parts of the body? These organisms, once they remain in those particular areas, don’t pose any risk to human health but hinder some disease-causing organisms from colonizing such areas. They are known as the normal flora. Therefore, introducing such beneficial live forms into the body will not be new to the body.

 Some of the benefits of Probiotic Bacteria include the following;
Improve the normal flora of the intestine.
Inhibit the activities of harmful bacteria by antagonizing them.
Improve brain function by reducing stress induced as a result of gut problems.
Produce bacteriocin(an antibacterial substance) and some acids which inhibits the growth of negative bacteria in the gut and vagina.

Most probiotic bacteria are known to be involved in the fermentation of most foods. These foods are not far-fetched but include some Nigerian local foods such as pap also known as ogi or akamu, nunu( which is fermented milk commonly taken by nothern Nigerians), the revered mmanya nkwu enu(palm wine),ogili(fermented locust beans also known as iru) and many more. However, some have also been packaged into various forms to aid consumption and make the action more specific. So when you eat that deliciously prepared fermented food or drink, you might not just be quenching a thirst or hunger but also improving your health through the activities of the beneficial bacteria in them.

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