There are countless ways to increase your intake of probiotics, vitamins and minerals; and drinking your way to better health has been a popular option for thousands of years.
Kefir is a drink that originated from the mountainous region that divides Asia and Europe; and although it’s not yogurt but a drink that has the added benefits of protein, calcium and probiotics which comes through the period of fermentation. It combines kefir grains with the milk of your choice (however it is traditionally made with dairy), left for 24 hours at room temperature to create the yogurt-like drink that has a tart, sour taste and slight ‘fizz’ to it!
Another interesting drink from across the globe is Ayran; created in Turkey, it is hailed to be the non-alcoholic national drink of the country for it’s refreshing and perceived healthy properties. It’s made from mixing water, yogurt and sometimes salt together to create a rehydrating yogurt-esque drink. This salted yogurt drink aids in replenishing the body’s natural salt lost through sweat, especially in summer time.
Kombucha is one of the alternatives to yogurt drinks that has numerous, positive health claims; it was originally consumed in China more than 2,200 years ago and has since expanded into Russia and eastern European areas. It’s made through a fermentation process of 1 to 2 weeks of green or black tea and white sugar.
Modern day yogurt drinks have evolved from the classics Kefir, Ayran and Kombucha but they’re still created to benefit your health; and be tasty at the same time!
Benecol is a popular yogurt drink that is packed with Plant sterols to aid in lowering cholesterol; this molecule is naturally produced by our bodies but it’s also contained in the food we eat. Too much cholesterol is harmful for the body as it can build up in your arteries, increasing the chance of blood clots – if simply drinking a plant sterol based yogurt drink can help reduce this risk, it’s a pretty good alternative!
Another modern take on the yogurt drink is Yakult, a probiotic fermented milk drink with over 6.5 billion L.casei strain Shirota in each bottle; helping your digestive system to increase the number of beneficial bacteria and keep you healthy!
YoGo is a yogurt drink that has been developed to help people who would prefer not to swallow a pill to take their supplements every day. The powdered yogurt stick is fortified with different vitamins or minerals, depending on the type chosen, to be added to milk, shaken and drank to switch up the way to intake supplements daily.
The common feature of these drinks is that they each contain that something extra to benefit your health.
Who are yogurt drinks for?
Yogurt drinks and the alike have been around for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years (as demonstrated by Kombucha), as a way for people to intake all the nutrients they need for a healthy and functional body. They are especially great if you would like to supplement but find it hard to swallow capsules or tablets, or just prefer something a bit tastier!
Benefits of drinking your way to health
Whilst some people may find it difficult to consume enough fermented food to digest enough probiotics that way, it’s becoming easier to increase intake of the good bacteria whilst knowing exactly which probiotics they contain through fortified foods and/or supplements.
As many of these ‘health’ drinks, especially kefir, ayran and YoGo are mixed with milk or yogurt, the body will be intaking more calcium and protein which are important for normal bodily function. The UK Recommended Daily Allowance for calcium is around 700mg and 50g for protein (NHS, 2017).
The popularity of probiotic yogurt drinks
Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in our digestive system, this is to keep the bad bacteria at bay; keeping a natural balance of bacteria in the gut and not make you ill (NHS, 2016). The two types of bacteria that help regulate our immune system, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, are included within yogurts to help increase the daily intake of probiotics (Yan and Polk, 2011).
While probiotic yogurt drinks are great and you may notice that your gut is showing less problems such as flatulence, constipation, or diarrhoea. There has been research that shows probiotics can shorten a spell of diarrhoea alongside the use of antibiotics by at least a day (Arnold, 2013).
The UK market of yogurt drinks generally markets towards the probiotic benefits; however, it’s not the only way yogurt drinks can benefit your health.
Yogurt drinks can be a delicious alternative to taking a supplement in a pill or capsule format. They’re an alternative way to ensure that your body has enough vitamins, minerals and probiotics. With YoGo not only can this be a way to intake probiotics, but also multivitamins, omega 3, plant sterols, and glucosamine. Just shake up the YoGo stick with milk in the small glass bottle and enjoy your cold, beneficial yogurt drink on the go.
Arnold, C. (2013). The pros and cons of probiotics. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Volume 13, Issue 7, pg 571-572.
NHS (2016). Probiotics.
NHS (2017). Reference intakes explained.
Yan, F., & Polk, D. B. (2011). Probiotics and immune health. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, 27(6), 496-501.