What Is Yakult & Why Is It So Popular?
Yakult is a cult favorite child-sized yogurt drink that became popular across Asian countries because of its delicious tartness paired with the health benefits. As a sweetened nonfat probiotic drink manufactured in Japan, Yakult carries natural probiotics that support healthy digestion. It is made by fermenting skim milk with a particular strain of bacteria, Lactobacillus casei, resulting in a distinct milky yet citrusy flavor. What’s not to love?
In 2018, Yakult made a special appearance in a Netflix movie called To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. This caused a massive spike in the drink’s sales worldwide. Now, Yakult has grown 2.6% in sales just weeks after the film was released. And even though they didn’t call the drink by name, people recognized the distinct bottle shape, peach color, and red foil cap!
Read on to find out more about this cult-favorite probiotic drink.
What Is Yakult?
Yakult is a fermented dairy beverage that was originally created in Japan back in 1935. It comes in tiny bottles that contain about 80 milliliters (just under 3 oz) of the citrusy, milky sweet drink.
Yakult is made by taking skim milk and fermenting it with a specific probiotic bacteria called Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LCS).
The original flavor is sweetened with a citrus vanilla flavoring, but this milk beverage comes in other flavors, too. There is also a Yakult Light, made with Reb-A, a stevia leaf extract, instead of regular sugar.
Is Yakult Good for You?
Because it’s marketed as a healthy probiotic drink, it’s important to look into how healthy this drink actually is.
Do those probiotics from LCS actually support good health? The short answer is yes!
What Exactly Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that occur naturally inside your body. Probiotic foods or drinks contain these beneficial live bacteria that survive your body’s digestion process and end up living inside your gut, helping to support everyday tasks from digestion to immune system function.
Common probiotic foods and drinks include yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
What Are Some Health Benefits of Yakult?
There are a lot of perks that come with getting healthy probiotics into your diet. There is a natural community of healthy bacteria living inside your gut, and supporting that community can do a lot to maintain good health holistically, not just within your GI tract.
The first real benefit of the probiotics from Yakult is that they aid your body with digestion. All of the good bacteria living in your intestines help your body break down and absorb a lot of the food that you eat.
By helping out these bacteria with probiotic-rich foods, your whole digestive system works just a little bit better. If you have problems with regularity, you might benefit from drinking two servings of Yakult every day.
Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota has been shown to help to relieve constipation, soften stools, and make for more regular bowel movements.
Gut Bacteria Support
We’ve mentioned the bacteria that live inside your gut. Well, these bacteria sometimes need a little boost. This is especially important if you’re on antibiotics, which can’t tell from the good or bad bacteria and end up killing any microorganisms they come into contact with.
Probiotics help replenish the population of bacteria in your gut, and Yakult does a good job of that. Yakult has 6.5 billion LCS bacteria per bottle! It does a wonderful job at keeping your gut microbiome healthy and populous.
Plus, your gut bacteria don’t just support your digestion. They can also help with other bodily functions like facilitating gut-brain interactions that affect mood and metabolism.
Immune System Support
Getting some of the Shirota strain in your diet can also serve to support a healthy immune system. Not only are the bacteria in your gut helpful in breaking down your food for you, but they also help keep you healthy since a lot of your immune system defense is inside your gut.
These bacteria are able to detect and deal with some harmful bacteria that enter the digestive tract. So by making sure your gut has enough LCS, you can support your body’s ability to protect itself.
Can I Drink Yakult Everyday?
Absolutely! It is actually recommended for adults to drink one to two bottles of Yakult every day to help support digestion and the immune system.
That said, this probiotic yogurt drink isn’t meant to replace other parts of your diet — keep in mind it’s only a little 3 oz. bottle, so you should see it as a probiotic supplement rather than a source of dietary nutrients like calcium or vitamin D.
Are Probiotics Safe for Everyone?
Probiotics are generally safe for everyone. After all, these bacteria live naturally in everyone’s bodies. Even infants over eight months old can have Yakult in small amounts! That said, there are a few exceptions to take note of.
It may be best to avoid taking probiotics if you have a weakened immune system due to major surgery or chemotherapy. Or, if you are currently sick with something that causes digestive discomfort, you might want to hold off until you’re healthy to enjoy Yakult.
If you have concerns about probiotics, consult with your doctor.
Potential Side Effects
Although probiotics are safe to drink, you might experience a few side effects if you’ve never really had a probiotic-rich food or drink before.
For some people, starting probiotics can cause an upset stomach, flatulence, and bloating for the first few days after taking them. This is a result of the gut bacteria getting a little boost. These side effects should pass within a few days.
How Often Should I Drink Yakult To See Benefits?
Yakult recommends that you drink one to two servings per day to see the benefits. Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is no easy task, so taking this probiotic drink at least once a day can help you support your gut bacteria’s health to make sure they can support you!
Overall, Yakult is a fantastic probiotic option for any age! Its popularity has been steadily growing since its inception, and for a lot of us, it’s been a staple of our childhood experience. If you want to support your gut health with a delicious probiotic at any age, Yakult is a great choice.
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