People are looking for quick easy ways to add healthy products to their diets. Probiotics, live active cultures of beneficial bacteria that can restore balance and health to the digestive system, are becoming a popular health food trend. Probiotics work by strengthening the immune system and restoring good bacteria in the digestive system depleted by poor diet choices or use of antibiotics. Some of the fastest, convenient, and most effective ways to restore the beneficial bacteria is by consuming probiotic drinks.
Acidophilus milk is regular milk fermented with live cultures. It has a slightly tangy taste and thicker texture. Because acidophilus milk was one of the first probiotic drinks to gain popularity, it is now widely available in many grocery stores and costs about a dollar more per gallon than regular milk.
The cultured buttermilk found in stores today has added bacteria. Like acidophilus milk the fermentation process gives buttermilk a different taste and texture from regular milk. Buttermilk is a common probiotic product in most grocery stores and the price is comparable to or slightly more than regular milk.
Kefir by Lifeway
Lifeway produces a line of fermented dairy drinks under the brand-name Kefir that include a wide variety of flavors and styles, including Pomegranate, Blueberry, and Greek Style as well as low-carbohydrate and low fat versions. They also market a line for children called Probugs with colorful child-friendly packaging and flavors. One of the advantages over other milks is that Kefir contains up to ten strains of live bacteria versus the single strains found in acidophilus or buttermilk. Lifeway’s Kefir can be found in many larger grocery stores or ordered from some online food retailers. It costs about $1.50 for 8 oz. or about $5.00 for a 32 oz. bottle
Yakult is similar to Kefir drinks, but it originated in Japan and comes in single shot bottles. One of the advantages of Yakult is that a small serving of only a few ounces contains billions of probiotic cultures. The American version is marketed in 2.75 oz. bottles in several flavors. Yakult can be found in some larger city supermarkets or stores that specialize in Asian food and is about $2.50 for a single shot bottle.
Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Smoothies
Stonyfield Farm, a New Hampshire based milk and yogurt company, produces a line of organic probiotic yogurt smoothies containing six live active cultures. They come in a variety of fruit flavors and are widely available at many grocery stores and health and natural food stores. They cost about $1.89 for a ten ounce smoothie.
Mocafe’s Sofetto Blended Tart Smoothie
Mocafe produces a line of smoothie powder with live active probiotic cultures. The powder can be blended milk, juice, ice, water, and fruit to create home-made smoothie drinks. It can be purchased in mango or plain flavors from Amazon.com in three pound bags for about $21.
Wildwood Organics Probiotic Soymilk
For those consumers who are vegans or cannot tolerate lactose, Wildwood Organics produces certified organic probiotic soy-milk in Blueberry, Pomegranate, and Vanilla. It can be found in grocery stores in some larger cities or in health food stores and costs about $2.00 per ten ounce bottle.
Wholesoy Flavored Soy Drink
Similar to the Wildwood products, Wholesoy & Company, produces a soy yogurt smoothie drink with several live probiotic cultures added in flavors such as Peach, Strawberry, and Apricot/Mango that can be found in health food stores for about $2.19 for a ten ounce bottle.
Naked Juice Probiotic Juice Smoothie
If dairy or yogurt based drinks are not your taste, Naked Juice, a California based company produces a line of probiotic juices. These are marketed as 100% juice products with no added sugar or preservatives. They can be found in some larger grocery stores or health food stores for about $2.39 for a ten ounce bottle.
Good Belly Juice
NextFoods, based in Colorado, produces Good Belly juice containing several strains of probiotic bacteria. Good Belly juice is sold in four-pack single shots or in 32 oz. family sizes in flavors such as blueberry/acai, mango, black currant, or cranberry/watermelon. The juices can be found in health food stores. They also market a lemon/ginger flavored Big Shot 50 with fifty billion live active cultures. It is sold exclusively in the health supplement section of Whole Foods and intended for intense digestive upsets from long-term antibiotic use. You should check with a physician before consuming the health supplement version of Good Belly.
These, any many other probiotic foods and drinks can be a great addition to a healthy diet. The live active cultures contained in probiotic rich products such as those listed above can restore the good bacteria a digestive system disrupted by poor food choices, illness, or use of antibiotics. The digestive benefits along with the immune system boost makes consuming probiotic products an excellent choice for overall health improvement.
Note: Acidophilus milk and cultured buttermilk are made by a number of dairies and are not national name-brands, so there are no product websites.