What are probiodic drinks?
Probiotic drinks are beverages that are infused with probiotics (not to be confused with prebiotics). So, what are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts, usually found in large numbers inside our digestive system. They’re also naturally occurring substances that provide health benefits to the host (i.e. you and me). They make us feel better and contribute to our overall health.
When you put a spoonful of probiotics in your mouth, you might not feel a thing. But if our intestines are the city and the bacteria found there are its citizens, then gut microbes can be considered a “good” kind of citizen. They form a sort of microbial organ that helps us to digest foods and regulates intestinal immunity.
The main way they do that is by creating a protective layer against the bad bacteria and yeasts present in our gut. Plus, it’s been proven that they can also stimulate immune responses to keep infections at bay.
So you can see why we often take probiotics during a virus to fight it from the inside! But you should know that your digestive system already contains lots of these good bacteria, even if you don’t take probiotic supplements.
The idea behind taking them is to increase the number of healthy microorganisms in the gut, thus reducing the space available for sick germs like Salmonella, E . coli and Clostridium difficile – this last one being responsible for about 15% of hospital-acquired infections in Canada (and more than half of cases of diarrhea!).
Probiotics are found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut.
What are the health benefits of probiotic drinks?
Probiotic drinks help balance the microbiome with healthy gut bacteria that contribute to many health benefits including
- reducing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD)
- preventing and reducing the severity of H. pylori stomach infections – this bacterium is a major cause of stomach ulcers
- helping protect against yeast infections
- helping boost the immune system
- may improve mental health
- may improve heart health by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol
How are probiotics added to drinks?
Most probiotics are added to drinks by filling the container with a liquid containing the live bacteria, then sealing it. This is called “live encapsulated culture”. The container is then kept sealed until just before it’s used. Water-based products such as fruit juice, smoothies and fermented milk can be used. Those containing plant oils (such as olive oil) could damage the probiotics and decrease their effectiveness.
The bacteria in live culture drinks usually survive in the gut when consumed.
What are some probiotic drink brands?
- Activia – drinkable yogurt
- Chobani – drinkable Greek yogurt
- GoLive – probiotic & prebiotic drink powders
- Huzzah – probiotic seltzer water
- Humm – kombucha
- KeVita – sparkling probiotic drinks
- Karma – probiotic water
- Remedy – kombucha
- Yakult – drinkable yogurt
Where can I get probiotic drinks?
You can buy probiotic drinks at retailer shops online, on Amazon and at health food stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.