Ngozi Okafor, a Nutritionist, says Nigerians consume a lot of probiotics foods that will aid their digestion and help maintain their gut health.
Okafor, who disclosed this in an interview with NAN on Monday in Abuja.
According to her, “probiotics are usually gotten from fermented food, which are mostly what Nigerians eat.’’
“Some of these probiotics food common in Nigeria are fermented cassava product like garri, fufu, abacha and akpu,” she said.
“There are also fermented foods in maize product like pap and millet products like Kunnu, local condiments products like, dawadawa, and Africa locust beans.
“Also, we have the local drink like pito of local beer made from fermented millet or sorghum, palm wine from palm sap and “burukutu’’ from fermented grains.
“All of these foods, when taken moderately and responsibly will aid our digestion and our guts.”
Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora.
According to her, probiotics are also considered generally safe to consume but may cause bacteria-host interactions and unwanted side effects in rare cases.
She said that though there were many probiotic foods available in the country, some Nigerians could still consume probiotic supplements.
Okafor said conventional wisdom should tell a person to avoid bacteria, but some bacteria can promote better health, including probiotic.
She said probiotics were microorganisms naturally present in the digestive tract that aid digestion and reduce inflammation.
The nutritionist said that probiotics were bacteria and yeasts good for the body, especially in the aid of digestion.
According to her, they are generally considered safe because they are already present in a normal digestive system.
She, however, said that there are theoretical risks for people with impaired immune function.
“The body is full of bacteria, both good and bad, but probiotics are often called good or helpful bacteria because they keep guts healthy,’’ she said.
The nutritionist said that most probiotics were mostly sold as dietary supplements, which she disclosed do not undergo the testing and approval process that drugs do.
Okafor advised that it was preferable for people to take probiotics in food as they were natural.
“For example, after you take antibiotics, probiotics can help you replace them. It can help balance your good and bad bacteria to keep your body working the way it should,” she said.