Time Out Dubai speaks to health experts in Dubai, this time from Saudi German Hospital, to bring a useful guide to friendly bacteria
If someone told us when we were kids that a certain group of bacteria is good for you, we would have a) laughed and b) played in the sand for a little bit longer. We might have been taught that bacteria can make us sick, but over recent years, particularly with our increasing use of antibiotics, the idea that certain bacteria can keep us fit and healthy has caught on.
In a nutshell, behind our abs lie a host of friendly bacteria and yeast that help digest food and keep the gut in check. Think of them as staunch bouncers of the digestive system – nothing can filter through unless they get the nod from a team of a trillion bacteria. But they can’t just survive on their own. They need a little push from the queen of the gut – probiotics.
Probiotics are the live micro-organisms found in yoghurt and other fermented foods that help keep the stomach healthy and ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, for example. The digestive tract and its inherent woes are like a really clingy friend: constant love and affection will keep it sane and happy. So when do you need probiotics?
The alarm is sounded in the form of bloating and painful rumbling in the tummy. When you experience painful indigestion, it means your gut isn’t lined with healthy bacteria. The best way to get natural balance back is to feed yourself the good stuff.
Dr Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterologist at Saudi German Hospital, says, “Probiotics realign the digestive tract’s bacteria and help break down food and extract all the nutrition from it. It’s interesting because people think you need to take a probiotics supplement everyday, but really, you don’t. If you’re healthy and not bloated, you’re fine.” Dr Ganjhu also suggests upping your daily water and fibre intake.
Basically, she says, just “listen to your body.” Saudi German Hospital, Hessa Street, Al Barsha 3, www.sghdubai.ae (04 389 0000).