If you've shopped in Japan, then you've also most likely seen some of these small drinks resembling energy shots, though with a more yogurt-like texture. In fact, Yakult is a popular probiotic beverage.
What are probiotics?
Think of antibiotics - drugs designed to kill or lessen the effects of harmful bacteria on the body. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria (your body needs lots of good bacteria for digestion) designed to balance intestinal function and improve the immune system.
Who came up with this?
Probiotic bacteria occur naturally, of course, but many strains have been developed to test for the most beneficial in the human body. The one used in Yakult is lactobacillus casei Shirota, created by Minoru Shirota.
Ok... then what is this drink?
Yakult is little more than sterilized milk powder, sugar, and glucose, cultured with 8 billion bacteria. Unlike those in yogurt, these bacteria will survive digestion in the stomach, enabling them to travel to the intestines.
Why drink this?
- Poor diet
- Old age
So the next time you see a mysterious clear bottle with red Japanese writing, crack open one, and enjoy the vitality... everything is a factor when you want to live as long as the average Japanese.