9 Best Probiotic Drinks for Gut Health & 5 You Should Avoid

by Ella

Probiotic drinks have gained immense popularity in recent years for their potential benefits to gut health. These beverages are packed with live beneficial bacteria that can support digestion, boost the immune system, and promote overall well-being. However, not all probiotic drinks are created equal. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the 10 best probiotic drinks that can enhance your gut health and discuss five options you should avoid due to various factors. Whether you’re new to probiotics or looking to expand your knowledge, this article will help you make informed choices for a healthier gut.

The Importance of Gut Health

Before we dive into the world of probiotic drinks, it’s crucial to understand the significance of gut health. The human gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiota or microbiome. These microbes play a pivotal role in various aspects of our health, including:


Digestion: The gut microbiota assists in breaking down and absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat.


Immune Function: A healthy gut contributes to a robust immune system, helping defend against infections and diseases.


Mental Health: Emerging research suggests a strong connection between gut health and mental well-being, with some referring to the gut as the “second brain.”


Inflammation: An imbalance in the gut microbiome can contribute to chronic inflammation, which is associated with numerous health conditions.

Weight Regulation: The composition of the gut microbiota can influence weight management and metabolism.

See Also: 10 Strategies for Improving Gut Health + what to eat & avoid

Probiotic Drinks: What Are They?

Probiotic drinks are beverages that contain live, beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. These bacteria are similar to the microorganisms naturally present in our gut and can contribute to a healthier balance of the gut microbiome when consumed regularly.

Probiotic drinks come in various forms, including yogurt-based drinks, kefir, kombucha, and more. The probiotics they contain can help restore or maintain a balanced gut microbiome, supporting the functions mentioned earlier.

The Benefits of Probiotic Drinks

Before we dive into our list of the nine best probiotic drinks for gut health, let’s explore some of the key benefits of incorporating them into your diet:

Improved Digestion: Probiotic drinks can help regulate digestion by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can alleviate issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

Enhanced Immune Function: A significant portion of our immune system resides in the gut. Consuming probiotics can strengthen the immune system by maintaining a balanced gut microbiome.

Mental Well-Being: Emerging research suggests a strong connection between gut health and mental health. Probiotic drinks may contribute to reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Nutrient Absorption: A healthy gut microbiome is crucial for efficient nutrient absorption. Probiotics can help ensure your body absorbs essential vitamins and minerals.

Reduced Inflammation: Some probiotics have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

9 Best Probiotic Drinks for Gut Health

Now that we understand the benefits of probiotic drinks, let’s explore the nine best options available to promote gut health.

1. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented dairy product that originated in the Caucasus region. It is made by adding kefir grains to milk, which contains a mixture of bacteria and yeast strains. The fermentation process results in a tangy, slightly effervescent drink that is rich in probiotics.

Key Benefits of Kefir:

High in probiotics, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.

Contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin K2, and magnesium.

May improve lactose digestion in individuals with lactose intolerance.

2. Kombucha

Kombucha is a trendy fermented tea that has gained popularity for its unique taste and potential health benefits. It is made by fermenting sweetened tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The result is a slightly fizzy, tart beverage with a variety of probiotic strains.

Key Benefits of Kombucha:

Contains beneficial bacteria like Acetobacter, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces.

Rich in antioxidants, which can help combat oxidative stress.

May support liver detoxification.

3. Yogurt Drinks

Yogurt drinks are a convenient way to consume probiotics, especially for those who enjoy the creamy texture and familiar taste of yogurt. These drinks are typically made from fermented milk and can be found in various flavors.

Key Benefits of Yogurt Drinks:

High in live probiotic cultures, including Lactobacillus and Streptococcus strains.

Good source of protein and calcium.

May promote weight management when included in a balanced diet.

4. Fermented Vegetable Juices

Fermented vegetable juices, such as sauerkraut and kimchi juice, are excellent options for individuals looking for probiotic-rich drinks without dairy. These juices are made by fermenting vegetables with salt and various spices.

Key Benefits of Fermented Vegetable Juices:

Contains probiotic strains like Lactobacillus plantarum and Leuconostoc mesenteroides.

High in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from the fermented vegetables.

Supports gut health without dairy for lactose-intolerant individuals.

5. Coconut Water Kefir

Coconut water kefir is a dairy-free alternative to traditional kefir. It is made by fermenting the clear liquid from young green coconuts with kefir grains or a kefir starter culture. The result is a refreshing, probiotic-rich drink with a subtle coconut flavor.

Key Benefits of Coconut Water Kefir:

Contains probiotic strains and beneficial yeasts.

Low in calories and rich in electrolytes, making it a hydrating option.

Suitable for those with dairy allergies or sensitivities.

6. Lassi

Lassi is a traditional Indian yogurt-based drink that is both delicious and gut-friendly. It is made by blending yogurt with water and various spices, such as cumin or cardamom. Lassi comes in sweet and savory varieties, making it a versatile choice.

Key Benefits of Lassi:

Contains probiotics from yogurt cultures.

May aid in digestion, particularly when consumed after meals.

Rich in probiotics and a good source of calcium and protein.

7. Water Kefir

Water kefir is another dairy-free probiotic drink made by fermenting sugar water with water kefir grains or a starter culture. It is often flavored with fruit or herbs to enhance its taste.

Key Benefits of Water Kefir:

Contains a variety of probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, and yeast.

A good source of probiotics for those avoiding dairy or soy.

May contribute to a balanced gut microbiome.

8. Yakult

Yakult is a popular probiotic drink that originated in Japan. It contains the beneficial bacteria strain Lactobacillus casei Shirota and is known for its sweet and tangy flavor. Yakult is available in small, convenient bottles.

Key Benefits of Yakult:

Contains a specific probiotic strain, Lactobacillus casei Shirota, which has been extensively studied for its potential health benefits.

Suitable for on-the-go consumption.

May help regulate bowel movements and support gut health.

9. Milk Kefir

Milk kefir is similar to yogurt but with a thinner consistency and a slightly tangier taste. It is made by fermenting milk with kefir grains or a kefir starter culture, resulting in a creamy, probiotic-rich beverage.

Key Benefits of Milk Kefir:

High in a wide variety of probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Contains essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and protein.

Supports digestive health and may improve lactose tolerance.

5 Probiotic Drinks to Avoid

While many probiotic drinks offer numerous health benefits, some may not be as beneficial as they claim. Here are five probiotic drinks to be cautious of:

1. Probiotic Sodas

Some companies market probiotic-infused sodas, but these often contain added sugars and artificial ingredients that may negate the potential benefits of the probiotics.

2. Fruit-Flavored Yogurts

Yogurts with fruit flavors often come with added sugars, which can negatively impact gut health. Choose plain yogurt with active cultures and add fresh fruit for natural sweetness.

3. Probiotic Shots

Probiotic shots, while convenient, may not provide as many probiotic strains as other fermented foods and drinks. Opt for a wider variety of probiotics from whole foods.

4. Sweetened Kefir

Kefir can be a healthy choice, but sweetened versions often contain excessive sugars. Choose unsweetened kefir or add a small amount of natural sweetener if needed.

5. Fruit Juice with Added Probiotics

Fruit juices with added probiotics may contain high levels of sugars and lack the fiber found in whole fruits. Instead, opt for whole fruits or blend them into a smoothie with yogurt or kefir for added probiotics.

How to Choose the Right Probiotic Drink

When selecting a probiotic drink to support your gut health, there are a few factors to consider:

Probiotic Strains: Look for drinks that specify the strains of probiotics they contain. Different strains offer different health benefits, so choose one that aligns with your goals.

Sugar Content: Some probiotic drinks can be high in added sugars. Opt for options with minimal added sugar to maximize health benefits.

Allergies and Sensitivities: Consider any dietary restrictions or sensitivities you may have. If you are lactose intolerant or avoid dairy, choose dairy-free options like coconut water kefir or water kefir.

Taste Preferences: Probiotic drinks come in various flavors and consistencies. Choose one that you enjoy to make it a regular part of your diet.


Probiotic drinks can be a valuable addition to your diet, promoting gut health and overall well-being. Incorporating fermented foods and beverages like kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and others can provide your gut with the beneficial bacteria it needs to thrive. However, it’s essential to be discerning in your choices and avoid probiotic drinks with excessive sugars or artificial additives.

By selecting the right probiotic drinks and incorporating them into a balanced diet, you can support a healthy gut microbiome and enjoy the potential benefits that come with it, including improved digestion, a stronger immune system, and enhanced overall health.



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