Probiotic drinks such as kombucha and kefir are incredibly popular in the UK right now. While there are many health-related issues to be concerned about when it comes to our bodies, gut health is one that often gets overlooked. That’s where probiotic drinks come in! Research suggests the good bacteria in these drinks can help to combat bad bacteria and prevent a number of issues, from UTIs and bloating to long-term conditions like IBS.
We’ve all heard of the big brands like Actimel and Yakult, but there’s a wealth of other products out there that are just as tasty and good for you. That's why we've put together a ranking of the top 10 best probiotic drinks from online stores including Amazon, Tesco, Asda, and Waitrose. Moreover, we have partnered with Nutritionist Tara Corbett for reviewing and fact-checking the article so that we can deliver the best information to our users.
mybest UK specialist Tara is a nutritionist and energy coach who helps clients lose weight, improve their eating habits, and get their energy back through their nutrition. Tara specialises in helping busy parents specifically improve their eating with ease and without overwhelm, and get back on track so the whole family can benefit.
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Tara is a nutritionist and energy coach who helps clients to lose weight, improve their eating habits, and get their energy back through better nutrition. She specialises in helping busy parents improve their diets without overwhelming them with information, and get them back on track so that the whole family can benefit.
Probiotics appear naturally in fermented dairy products such as yoghurt or kefir, which is why these are such common options in terms of probiotic drinks. Yoghurt drinks are made by using bacteria to ferment cow's milk into a more viscous consistency. They're usually thinner than the kind of yoghurt that you eat with a spoon, so they're easy to sip on.
Kefir is made in a similar way by mixing milk with kefir grains and allowing it to ferment. Rather than just using bacteria, kefir uses both bacteria and yeast, resulting in a drink that’s much thinner than yoghurt and that has a tart, sour taste. Traditionally, kefir is made using cow, goat, or sheep’s milk, but it can also be made using plant-based alternatives or even water.
What people tend to enjoy the most about dairy-based drinks is their tangy tartness. If you don’t like the way plain yoghurt tastes though, there are plenty of drinks with sweeter flavours nowadays.
If you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or you just don’t like dairy, you might want to consider a water-based drink instead. These are usually easier to drink, as well as being lower in calories and sugar if these are important considerations for you.
Kombucha would be the obvious choice if you wish to avoid dairy. This fizzy, fermented tea drink has gained popularity in the past couple of years due to its health benefits, in addition to its delicious and refreshing taste. A great alternative to regular fizzy drinks, it's not too sweet and has a slightly sour kick.
Switchel is a similar-tasting drink that's usually made with a combination of water, vinegar and ginger, instead of fermented tea. The addition of fermented vinegar is actually what makes this drink full of healthy probiotics. Although it may sound like the start of a savoury recipe, it actually makes a surprisingly tasty beverage!
The most common type of friendly bacteria around is lactobacillus acidophilus. This bacteria lives in your intestines and helps produce lactic acid by breaking down the lactose in your body. It’s the active ingredient found in fermented drinks such as kombucha and if you’re buying a probiotic drink, chances are it’ll contain this type of bacteria.
Another type of friendly bacteria found in probiotic drinks is bifidobacterium, which lives in your intestines and stomach. Not only does it assist you with digesting dietary fibre, but it helps to prevent infections by staving off harmful bacteria. This kind of bacteria is typically found in dairy products such as kefir and yoghurt, as well as miso paste.
Of course, there are many other types of healthy bacteria that can be found in probiotic drinks. While they all essentially do the same thing, it’s still best to check the ingredients before you buy to make sure your drink will provide your body with lots of gut-friendly goodness!
If you’re vegetarian, you don’t have to worry about your options as all probiotic drinks are naturally meat-free. Those who are vegan or lactose intolerant, however, will need to tread carefully in order to avoid drinks made with cow's milk. Luckily, as we mentioned earlier, there are many dairy-free alternatives out there such as water and tea-based drinks.
It should also be noted that due to the brewing process of kombucha, there may be trace amounts of alcohol present. As it's usually is less than 0.05%, it won't always be mentioned on a product's label. If you're underage or trying to avoid all alcohol, be sure to take this into consideration!
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Organic Kefir Baked Milk｜500 ml
Deliciously Smooth and Creamy, With No Added Sugar
Pink Grapefruit & Guava Kombucha｜275 ml
100% Organic and Raw Kombucha
Dark Choc Coconut Shot｜125 ml
Decadent Dairy-Free Kefir With Calcium and B6
Mango Kefir｜500 ml
British-Made Kefir With 13 Strains of Live Cultures
The Gutsy Captain
Kombucha MixBox｜400 ml
An Exciting Selection of 8 Kombucha Flavours
Blackcurrant Kombucha and ACV Drink｜250 ml
Fruity Kombucha With Apple Cider Vinegar
The Classic Yakult Taste With Less Sugar
Kefir Slurpy Drink ｜100 ml
Mango Probiotic Drink That’s Perfect for Kids
A Thirst-Quenching Kombucha Made Using Traditional Fermentation Techniques
Coconut Yogurt Drink｜100 ml
Fancy something a bit different to regular milk kefir? Biotiful Dairy makes this decadent drink by baking whole British milk and caramelising it, before adding kefir grains to start the fermentation process. This produces a rich, creamy beverage that's super sweet without any sugar being added.
This kefir is high in protein, calcium and vitamins B12 and B2, as well as being packed with over 40 strains of live cultures that all contribute to a healthy gut. For a delicious treat at any time of day, we absolutely recommend this brilliant bottle!
If you're looking for a completely raw and organic kombucha that's suitable for vegans, Equinox offers this delightful option. Made from organic Chun-Mee green tea, raw cane sugar and live kombucha cultures, it's packed with enzymes and antioxidants that are incredibly good for your gut.
The pink grapefruit and guava flavour of this bottle is sweet and sharp; it's infused with floral notes of hibiscus and rose petals as well as rosehip, honeybush, and nettle leaf. If that doesn't tickle your tastebuds, we don't know what will!
Considering it's such a creamy probiotic drink, you might be surprised to learn that Biomel is totally dairy-free! It's made with coconut milk, as well as a blend of vitamins B6 and D, calcium, and billions of live active cultures. What's not to love?
Not only is this decadent drink suitable for vegans but the ingredients are 100% natural and free from common dietary irritants like lactose and gluten. There's no reason to miss out on tasty flavours just because you don't do dairy!
The Collective uses a combination of British milk and other natural ingredients to produce a silky smooth kefir with a slightly effervescent finish. Available in a marvellous mango flavour, it makes the perfect breakfast drink or snack on the go.
This kefir is packed full of healthy bacteria goodness to keep your tummy happy. Not only is it an amazing source of calcium, vitamin B12 and protein, but it also boasts up to 13 strains of different live cultures. That's right, 13!
If you're serious about Kombucha, The Gutsy Captain offers a variety box with four different flavours for you to sample and enjoy. From the original, unflavoured recipe to sweet raspberry and fiery ginger lemon, there's sure to be something for everyone!
Following the original Chinese recipe for kombucha, The Gutsy Captain uses high quality natural green tea fermented with organic raw can sugar alongside their own culture of live bacteria and yeast. For a unique and refreshing taste that'll keep your insides running smoothly, opt for this superb set of cans.
Willy's blackcurrant flavoured kombucha is made from ingredients that are grown, harvested and fermented at their farm in Herefordshire. Their recipe uses a combination of just 5 ingredients, including apple juice, green tea kombucha, and craft apple cider vinegar to produce a lightly sparkling probiotic drink.
If you already know you're going to love this drink, the good news is that you can easily grab a multipack from Amazon! Unfortunately, there's no option to buy a single can to try it out before committing to a whole set.
Who doesn't love the sweet yet tangy taste of Yakult? It's practically a cult favourite in Asia! With 20 billion strains of Yakult's own unique L. casei Shirota bacteria, the lighter version is also enriched with vitamins D and E while containing 67% less sugar!
Of course, if you've already tried Yakult, you might be a bit bored drinking the same thing every day of the week, as it only comes in one flavour.
Help to support your little one's immune system and digestive health naturally with this yummy drink that's designed especially for kids! Slurpy is the first-ever kefir product in a pouch to be sold in the UK, which is pretty cool, and it has a resealable cap too.
Made with real mangoes and whole, organic milk, it's bursting with berry flavour. Plus, it's a source of vitamin B12, calcium, and billions of live cultures. Naturally, grown-ups won't be impressed with the small size of the product, but it should be just enough for kids' tummies.
Remedy's switchel is made from carefully sourced, all-natural ingredients, using long-aged brewing and traditional live-culture fermentation techniques. Containing only raw organic apple cider vinegar, honey, ginger juice and absolutely no sugar, this blood orange-flavoured drink is perfect for quenching your thirst.
Although it's delicious and good for you too, we're not quite sure what the specific active cultures are in this particular can. If you'd prefer to know exactly which healthy bacteria are in your drink, you might want to skip this one.
A popular probiotic yoghurt drink, Actimel is ideal for providing a gut healthy start to your day. An affordable choice for those looking to introduce live cultures to their diet, this pack of 8 is a fraction of the price of many similar fermented milk drinks.
Available in a range of flavours, we chose the coconut variety for its refreshingly light taste. The only downside is that Actimel contains a higher amount of sugar per 100 ml.
Probiotic drinks are generally safe to consume during pregnancy and have been said to even contribute to supporting the immune system in a small way. However, probiotic drinks do not carry the same levels of bacteria as supplements so won’t have as great an effect. Always consult your doctor if you’re unsure.
Probiotic drinks are great immune system boosters, but as with most things, moderation is key. Up to two drinks a day for an adult and one a day for a child should suffice in improving gut health. You should also not expect to see changes right away, so give them time to work their magic.
Written and researched by Dodo Wang
No. 1: Biotiful Dairy｜Organic Kefir Baked Milk｜500 ml
No. 2: Equinox｜Pink Grapefruit & Guava Kombucha｜275 ml
No. 3: Biomel｜Dark Choc Coconut Shot｜125 ml
No. 4: The Collective｜Mango Kefir｜500 ml
No. 5: The Gutsy Captain｜Kombucha MixBox｜400 ml
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