Although consuming something that’s alive might sound like a challenge from NBC’s “Fear Factor” TV show, probiotic beverages introduce consumers’ digestive systems to beneficial live cultures in a more appetizing way. For example, kefir, kombucha and probiotic juice-type drinks help consumers attain their daily dose of gut health with a fruity or herbal taste. By drinking these beverages, consumers also take in probiotics that replenish the organisms in their gastrointestinal systems that modulate their bodies and prevent infections, reports the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in an adequate amount, confer a health benefit on the host, which, in this case, is the human consumer, states the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, Sacramento, Calif. Most commonly, probiotics are associated with digestive health benefits in addition to improved tolerance of lactose, according to the California Dairy Research Foundation, Davis, Calif. Some probiotic strains can support inflammatory responses, skin care and a healthy metabolism, which can help fight obesity, adds Michael Bush, senior vice president of Ganeden Biotech Inc., Mayfield Heights, Ohio. However, in order to offer full health benefits to a human, the probiotics must be alive at the time of consumption, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology notes.