Digestive Helper? Testing GoodBelly Probiotic Products

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Digestive health is one of the secrets to great skin, but I'll be honest— not all of my readers and clients are excited about eating probiotic-rich sauerkraut, kimchi and miso. So I'm always on the lookout for tastier ways to boost the healthy bacteria in our gut, and I jumped at the chance to sample a few of GoodBelly's probiotic-packed offerings.

What's so important about getting probiotics from foods in your diet? For one, probiotics in foods generally far outnumber probiotics from a supplement in terms of concentration. You can get trillions of live, friendly bacteria in fermented foods. GoodBelly's products contain between 10 billion and 50 billion colony forming units (CFUs), a standard measure of probiotic bacteria. The specific strain of probiotics used in GoodBelly products is lactobacillus plantarum 299V, which is especially well-suited to survive digestion in our acidic stomach and make it all the way to our intestines, where it's needed.

If you're not used to eating probiotic-rich foods, it's a good idea to start with small portions, since you can experience some temporary bloating and discomfort if you get too enthusiastic.  I thought GoodBelly's plain Straight Shots (shown above) were ideal for starting slow. These tart, pear-flavored little juice shots contain 20 billion active cultures  and have 30 calories and 3 grams of sugar each, making them the most low-sugar of GoodBelly's offerings.

GoodBelly's Probiotic Coconut Water was my next favorite probiotic drink, and it appealed to me because, unlike probiotic kefir, it's dairy-free. When I sampled the drink, I found it to be more of a treat than a daily drink, due to its content of 13 g of sugar per 8 oz. I also tried GoodBelly's GoodBelly+ in Mango and found it to be super-sweet (9 g of sugar in one shot), despite its high content of B vitamins and C.

GoodBelly explains that the sugar content of in these products is necessary to sustain healthy bacteria on the shelf, but for me the high content of sugar means that these products are not my most recommended way to consume probiotics on a daily basis. The exception is the Straight Shot, which is a great starting point for anyone who wants to boost digestive health, or anyone who needs a convenient way to get extra probiotics in his or her diet now and then. It's tasty, ultra-convenient, and the grinning face on top is pretty adorable. It's also the cheapest of GoodBelly's products (I found a 4-pack on sale for $2.50), so it's a sweet & low-commitment way to give probiotic foods a try.

Let's drink to gorgeous skin!

What's your favorite way to get probiotics in your diet? Have you tried GoodBelly, or other probiotic drinks and noticed a difference in your skin?