Could a Yogurt a Day Keep the Flu Away?

It can be a challenge to keep your kids from getting colds and flus when schools and day care centers are hot beds of germs perpetually cycling through the classroom. Is there any way to protect your little one from catching the latest virus (and keep him from bringing it home to infect the rest of the family)? New research suggests that probiotics may be the key.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria present in fermented foods that, when ingested, join your own naturally occurring native bacteria to promote good health. But not only do probiotics improve digestive health, they may also help keep infections at bay. The most likely scenario for how they do this is by competing with bad bacteria for food, thereby robbing the bad bacteria of the resources they need to replicate and cause an infection. Probiotics contribute to our “gut immunity,” an important source of protection from illness.

In this study, children who drank DanActive, which contains the probiotic lactobacillus casei, had 19 percent fewer infections than the children who drank an unfermented milk drink without probiotics. While these results are noteworthy, it is important to recognize that several of the researchers involved with the study worked or consulted for Dannon, the maker of DanActive.

More studies are needed to confirm these results, but foods containing probiotics are usually healthy choices anyway, so let your kids eat up!

Here are some good sources of probiotics:

  • All milk-based yogurt contains probiotics so there’s no need spend more on brands touting probiotics. Note: A lot of fruit-flavored yogurts are high in sugar, so check the label. The best bet is to buy plain yogurt and add fresh fruit.
  • Plain yogurt is also a great sub for sour cream on tacos and soups.
  • Kefir is a fermented milk drink, similar to a thin yogurt, which also contains probiotics.

More adventurous palettes, or those who don’t eat dairy may enjoy:

  • Miso is a soybean paste used in Japanese cooking. It can be added to soups, sauces, or glazes, but should be added at the end of cooking to preserve the probiotics.
  • Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of fermented vegetables.


  • I’m a big fan of yogurt but I have to admit that kefir is just so much easier to make. Both, of course, are great for your health.

    Kefir does have a wider variety of lactic acid bacteria in it – these are the good bacteria that we need – so is always a good choice for ensuring good health.

    People get hung up on probiotics. Eat lactic acid bacteria and you will get all the probiotics you need as well as many other beneficial bacteria that science has just not recognized as probiotic yet.

  • There is a new product that is much better than yogurt. MojoMilk ( is a probiotic chocolate milk that delivers 10x more active cultures than yogurt, and clinically studied probiotic strains. The powdered mix is added to milk and has 60% less calories than leading brands. Makes amazing chocolate milk and enhances the immune system…win/win!

  • OMGosh we LOVE our probiotics and make sure to take them everyday! We don’t do the yogurt thing though because we really want to make sure we are getting all the good bugs we really need without the sugars and calories too so we give our kids Belly Boost children’s chewables. They love them and I love them too!

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