But not all foods that contain probiotics are made the same. Some manufacturers pasteurize their yogurt after the bacteria is added. This kills off the beneficial bacteria, lessening the health benefits from yogurt. Check the label to make sure it lists "live and active" cultures. If you don't see that statement, then the pasteurization process has killed the probiotics.
As foods that contain probiotics age, the amount of bacteria lessens. So, if you purchase yogurt, try to get the freshest available. Some brands of frozen yogurt also contain probiotics, but many do not.
Kefir is another source of probiotics. Kefir is a beverage fermented with beneficial bacteria. It is usually made from cow, goat or sheep milk. It can also be made with soy, rice or coconut milk. The milk is mixed with kefir (Lactobacillus kefiri), other species of good bacteria, as well as various types of yeast. This mixture is then stored at a temperature that allows the bacteria to culture the milk, leaving it thick and slightly bubbly. The mixture is strained and sold as a thick beverage in different flavors. Kefir is more prominent in ethnic markets, but is usually available in health food stores.
Other probiotic foods include various cultured dairy products. Cultured butter milk is a common source found in most grocery stores. It is used commonly in baking, but keep in mind that most probiotics are sensitive to temperature. Many beneficial bacteria die in heat.
Acidophilus milk is another cultured dairy product. It is mixed with Lactobacillus acidophilus and allowed to ferment. Some organic, American manufacturers of foods that contain probiotics have started producing sour cream and cottage cheese containing probiotics.
Outside of the U.S., there are additional sources of probiotic-containing cultured dairy foods. This includes lebne from the Middle East and kermavilli from Finland.
Food sources containing probiotics can also be found outside of the dairy aisle. Probiotic-rich fruit juice based drinks have become typical. Fermented cabbage, another source of probiotics, can be found in many popular dishes such as sauerkraut, kimchi, cortido and courcroute. Salted gherkins and brine-cured olives are also foods that contain probiotics. To receive the benefits of probiotics, they must be made in the traditional way and contain good strains of lactobacilli. Various cereals and grain bars also contain probiotics.