Probiotics are microorganisms or good bacteria that are ingested into the body, typically through foods or supplements. Research has revealed evidence that probiotics may help treat gastrointestinal problems, improve the immune system, treat/prevent yeast infections, lower blood pressure, fend off bacterial infections, aid in curing urinary tract infections, prevent early age eczema, and aid in weight loss for women. Note that probiotics need to be taken routinely for the health benefits to be realized.
It is not guaranteed that all Greek yogurt brands have probiotics. When shopping for yogurt, look for Greek yogurt having the verbiage “live and active cultures” on the label. You can see by the Dannon Oikos label below that their brand meets the National Yogurt Association (NYA) criteria for live and active culture yogurt.
According to the NYA website, their Live & Active Culture seal program includes “All yogurt manufacturers whose refrigerated products contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture, and whose frozen products contain 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. This level was based on a survey of leading research scientists involved in clinical studies of the health attributes associated with live and active culture yogurt. The seal appears on yogurt packages and indicates this level of live and active cultures is present in the product.”
The Live & Active culture seal program participants are listed here. Just because a yogurt brand lacks the above seal does not mean it does not contain probiotics. However, additional research may be required with the manufacturer.
There are foods outside of yogurt that may contain probiotics. These include sauerkraut, dark chocolate, pickles, tempeh, miso soup, ginger beer, some cheeses like Gouda, kefir, sourdough bread, and milk with probiotics. While research is still being conducted to determine the benefits of probiotics, the evidence is becoming clearer that probiotics play an important role in aiding and preventing a wide variety of health issues.