Healthy eating has taken center stage among many Americans recently. More people are turning to organic products like milk or organically grown meat, as well as soy products and locally grown produce. In the midst of the health food movement, there is a group of food products known as probiotics. Probiotics turn up in several different food products. Most notably, supermarkets sell probiotic yogurt and milk.
Antibiotics are a substance well known by many; when sick, doctors often prescribe antibiotics in order to rid the body of harmful substances. Probiotics exist as an inverse to this. Rather than get rid of bacteria within a body, probiotics promote the growth of helpful bacteria. Probiotics are bacteria grown for the express purpose of aiding many different bodily functions within humans. Probiotic milk, therefore, is any milk that contains probiotics.
Probiotics have been a part of history for a long time. Drugs.com notes that the Bible’s Old Testament mentions Abraham using sour milk as a means of achieving longevity. Additionally, Romans would use fermented milk to treat gas, around 76 B.C. InnVista states that Elie Metchnikoff, a Russian Nobel Prize winning scientist, first developed the notion probiotic milk in the early 20th century. He observed Bulgarian peasants drinking fermented milk and attributed their health and longevity to the consumption of this milk. The first use of the term probiotic in connection to the development of these good bacteria was in 1965.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, probiotics come from one of two different groups of bacteria primarily: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These groups are further divided into certain species, and each species is divided into different strains. For example, acidophilus milk is a type of probiotic milk containing the strain Lactobacillus acidophilus, according to Dairyforall.com.
The process of creating probiotic milk involves several steps. The milk is retrieved from cows, then sterilized and cooled. After the curing process, the milk receives the strain of bacteria that the specific manufacturer has decided to use. After being treated with the bacteria, the milk is then put into containers and incubated, then cooled again. During this second cooling time, the milk ships to its final location and is sold in a supermarket or health food store.
Probiotic milk has been tied to several health benefits in humans. The consumption of probiotic milk is used as a means of regulating bowel movements and treating diarrhea. Probiotic milk is also thought to help with respiratory and urinary tract infections, allergies and immunity boosting, according to Drugs.com. Women with vaginosis are told that probiotic milk can help clear up symptoms. In order to benefit from probiotic milk, it is recommended that it should be consumed daily.