A glass of probiotic tea a day may keep the
doctor away. For that matter, so may a Red
Mango frozen yogurt!
What could be better than a refreshing glass of antioxidant iced tea? One that’s been fortified with probiotics! The Red Mango frozen yogurt chain has added probiotic-fortified iced teas to its menu of probiotic frozen yogurt. Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that live in the human gastrointestinal tract, are believed to benefit the immune system and help regulate digestion. A recent study conducted by Danisco shows that they may also reduce the incidence of cold and flu-like symptoms in children by 50%.
The all-natural teas, available in Lemonade Green Tea, Vanilla Black Tea and Wildberry Hibiscus Tea (herbal), use a new patented strain of probiotic called GanedenBC30, which will also be used in the frozen yogurts by September. This patented strain has been shown in clinical tests to have superior stability, which allows it to survive the journey into the digestive system, where it can be beneficial.
WHAT WE HADN’T THOUGHT ABOUT UNTIL TODAY: While many foods are labeled “probiotic,” and quite a few yogurts are probiotic or otherwise carry the “Live Active Cultures” seal from the National Yogurt Association, these terms only refer to the amount of live bacteria present in the manufactured yogurt. Many of these strains do not survive the journey through hostile environments to the stomach (temperature, acid, moisture levels). The genius of GanedenBC30 is that it is introduced to the body in spore form; when the spore gets to the intestines and deems that everything is A-OK, the beneficial bacteria inside are freed to multiply and do their thing.
Here are the four things to look for in an effective probiotic, according to Ganaden:
1. Survivability. The probiotic needs to survive the harsh acids of your stomach in order to arrive in your intestines.
2. Safety. An effective probiotic will have published clinical studies on its specific bacterial strain. Often, probiotic manufacturers claim safety studies conducted on strains different from their own.
3. Colonization. Even though a probiotic is able to survive your stomach acids and is safe, it still needs to be able to colonize, or multiply, to have a positive effect on your digestive health. Choose a probiotic that is able to colonize your intestinal tract with beneficial bacteria.
4. Quantity. Look for probiotic-fortified foods or supplements that contain at least one billion or more probiotic cells per serving.
The probiotic teas have five billion cells per serving and are made to order. The probiotics are mixed into the tea right before it is served, to ensure efficacy. They have fewer than 50 calories per 8-ounce serving and are sweetened with cane sugar. They are priced at $2.75 for a 16-ounce cup, and $3.25 for a 24-ounce cup. Our favorite was the Vanilla Black Tea—it had the most tea flavor. Wildberry Hibiscus was our second fave. We love hibiscus, and this tea is brewed with real hibiscus flowers. But the racy red flavor and acidity of real hibiscus is overpowered by the (admittedly more mainstream) wildberry flavor. Lemonade Green Tea needed double the amount of lemon flavor. These teas are brewed fresh and therefore not subject to a uniform quality control. We’ll have to try it again to see if Lemonade Green Tea was brewed with too little tea, or if the flavor itself needs some added oomph.
If you don’t live near a Red Mango, you can purchase GanadenBC30 in capsule form via Sustenex, which is carried by many drugstores and vitamin shops. A two-month supply is $19.95, and there’s a free offer at GetSustenex.com.
Become a probiotic pro: Read our Introduction To Probiotic Food.
More on probiotics, including foods that contain probiotics.
Check out our Probiotics Glossary.