We know that probiotics are great for gut health, but what are probiotics? If you do not know what probiotics mean, it might be hard to understand their importance and necessity in our daily diet. Here’s a short example: let’s say you are popping a few antibiotics lately to recover from some inflammation. With the medicines messing with your gut health, that’s the time you need a proper balance of good and bad gut bacteria more than usual, and probiotics are the savior.
In this article, we will be going into detail about the importance of probiotics and then answer a rather specific question: does vegan yogurt have probiotics? We will also be providing alternatives to vegan sources of probiotics in case yogurt is not your thing. But first, let’s understand what probiotics are, to begin with.
What are Probiotics?
Our body is teeming with bacteria residing in our gut. While it might sound not-so-appealing, rest assured that is nothing to fear or worry about. We are supposed to balance good and bad bacteria in our gut for its proper functioning. Bringing back our previous instance, popping antibiotics is one of the surest ways to disrupt your good and bad gut bacteria balance.
It could lead to a weak immune or digestive system, skin issues, and weight gain. What role do probiotics play here? Probiotics are living organisms helping restore the balance of good and bad bacteria. They cure digestive disorders and diarrhea and reduce the severity of allergies and eczema. Moreover, they also assist in maintaining a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and help in boosting your immune system.
That is why it is important to have food rich in probiotics. There are several natural sources of vegan probiotics such as yogurt, kombucha, kimchi etc. But these sources are sometimes not readily available in such cases vegan probiotic supplements will help you out. As probiotics function is to maintain a good balance between digestive health, energy level, hormonal balance and energy level. Which is why after including probiotics in your diet it generally takes 1-4 weeks of time to show results.
Benefits of Probiotics
It is quite apparent that probiotics are essentially good additions to the human body. But if you want to be assured further, probiotics can help avert numerous serious ailments, be it physical or psychological. Apart from helping balance friendly bacteria in our digestive system, they also help treat as well as prevent diarrhea, as we mentioned earlier.
One of its lesser-known benefits is the improvement of mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), autism, and poor memory. In fact, there are a few probiotics that will even help you maintain a healthy heart, so do be on the lookout for those. If you suffer from allergies or eczema, probiotics are a good way to reduce their symptoms and cure them gradually.
They can also help reduce the chances of a few digestive disorders by maintaining good gut health. One of its most important functions is an improved immune system. Lastly, probiotics bear yet another extremely appealing benefit: they have been proven to help in belly fat and weight reductions.
How to get Probiotics without Dairy?
There are numerous vegan sources of probiotics that aren’t necessarily yogurt. Here’s a list of foods with probiotics that are 100% vegan-friendly:
This is an effervescent, fermented tea beverage that has a sweet and slightly acidic taste. This strongly-brewed tea mixes well with sugar and ferments over time with the help of yeast culture and symbiotic bacteria. After a few weeks, it consumes much of the sugar, leaving behind active enzymes, acetic acid, polyphenols, and vitamin C. This is essentially a traditional Chinese beverage that can be bought from stores as well as made at home.
This is a spicy Korean delicacy that is used as a side during breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Korea. The common ingredient is mostly cabbage, garlic, carrots, ginger, salt, and chili peppers. This is an easy way to add flavors and spiciness and a healthy amount of probiotics to your daily diet. Read the labels before purchasing since many kimchi jars contain fish sauce. You can also make kimchi at home
You can slather this sour, tangy cabbage on some vegan sandwiches, bratwurst, and savory soups. Despite its German association, it’s important to know that much like other probiotic foods, and this was also created in Asia- China, to be specific. Look out for unpasteurized sauerkraut. You can also make this at home with cabbage and salt. Sauerkraut contains good bacteria, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K.
4. Sourdough bread
This fermented combination of flour and water uses natural probiotics to ferment on the counter. The probiotics add to its slightly sour flavor, packing in a heavy dose of gut-friendly components. Some store-bought sourdough bread is made untraditionally without fermented ingredients, so be on the lookout for those.
5. Plant-based milk
Dairy products aren’t necessarily the only way to get enough probiotics in your body. You can take help from plant-based alternatives that offer the same gut-strengthening benefits as non-dairy milk products. For instance, soy and nut milk are great sources of probiotics since most manufacturers add active probiotic cultures to double the dose.
What is Vegan Yogurt?
A plant-based alternative to our good ol’ traditional dairy yogurt, vegan yogurt is made of milk alternatives. Natural yogurt is usually made from animal milk, which goes against the vegan community’s ethics, principles, and practices. To counter the dilemma, the market has come up with numerous vegan yogurt options that do not make use of animal products as ingredients.
The most commonly used vegan milk alternatives are coconut, almond, cashew, soy, and hemp milk. All of these lead to some healthy yet delicious vegan yogurt. Go ahead and pick one up based on your choice of flavor, protein, fat, and fiber content. They are all quite great to consume, and you can have them guilt-free due to their natural sourcing.
Does Vegan Yogurt Have Probiotics?
So, does dairy-free yogurt have probiotics? In all possibilities, yes! Probiotics are crafted during the bacterial fermentation process, and the source of the yogurt (dairy or non-dairy) does not play a role here. There are tons of non-dairy probiotics that are soy-based, just as there are coconut and almond probiotics as well.
The tricky part is that numerous commercially advertised yogurts- both dairy and non-dairy- are pasteurized, so make sure you read the ingredient list on the label to ensure that your vegan yogurt contains probiotics.
How Do I Know if My Vegan Yogurt Contains Probiotics?
It’s important to note that not all store-bought yogurts will be probiotic, so make sure you keep an eye out for a few terminologies while purchasing vegan yogurt. Usually, when yogurt is manufactured, a few probiotics or live cultures are used to ferment the milk and provide it with a distinct sour flavor.
Make sure the ingredient list mentions live and active cultures. A healthy yogurt must contain no less than 100 million cultures per gram during manufacturing. If you notice words such as “heat-treated,” it usually means that all live bacteria have been killed to prolong shelf life. Steer clear of those.
Best Non-Dairy Yogurt with Probiotics to Buy in 2022
There are tons of non-dairy vegan yogurts in the market which contain probiotics and are good for our gut health. Here are some of them
This is one of the more common ones that the vegan community loves a lot. It is the right amount of creamy and delicious while still being 100% vegan friendly, with cashews as its main milk alternative. This yogurt is filled to the brim with probiotics, and it is traditionally cultured with about 5 live active cultures.
As for how it is made, simply blend in organic vanilla with rich cashew milk. This vegan-friendly yogurt is non-dairy, soy, lactose, and gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, and includes no artificial flavors and sweeteners. Throw in a few granola bars or mix it into a smoothie, and you are good to go!
This one is yet another popular choice of vegan-friendly yogurt with probiotics. It includes a diversity of active cultures, which essentially means it is entirely probiotic.
Here are the cultures included: S. Thermophilus and L. Bulgaricus. Apart from that, it includes oat milk (Water and Whole Oat Flour), Organic Cane Sugar, Faba Bean Protein Apple Puree, Tapioca Flour, Cinnamon Natural Flavor, Coconut Oil, and Citric, Agar, and Live Acid. This non-dairy yogurt weighs 0.38 pounds and has an Apple flavor.
Weighing 1.5 pounds, this Harmless Harvest Coconut flavored yogurt is climate pledge friendly. It uses sustainable certifications to highlight its commitment to help preserve our natural world.
It is one of the more delicious yet healthy alternatives to natural dairy yogurt, and its inclusion of probiotics makes it all the better. It contains organic coconut milk (water and organic coconut meat), Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Cane Sugar, and live and active cultures such as B. Lactis, L. Acidophilus, L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Rhamnosus, L. Casei, and B. Bifidum.
So, does dairy-free yogurt contain probiotics? The short and simple answer is yes! They even have similar bacteria strains found in typical dairy yogurt. So, if you belong to the vegan community, finding probiotic vegan-friendly yogurt is never a challenge. However, make sure you look out for live and active cultures on the yogurt labels while purchasing. We hope this article helped you gain a new perspective regarding vegan-friendly yogurts with probiotics. Choose wisely, and experiment with different products to find the one you love the most!