Lori Alton via NaturalHealth365 – If you’re one of those individuals who craves a cup of coffee or tea before starting your day, great news: your morning brew just got a lot healthier. At least, that’s what scientists at the National University of Singapore are hoping to accomplish – with the help of some friendly microbes.
According to a March 21 statement from the university, two doctoral students have succeeded in adding live probiotics – beneficial microorganisms – to the popular beverages without sacrificing flavor, drinkability, or shelf life. Probiotics help maintain the health and balance of the gut microbiome, the community of “friendly” bacteria in the intestinal tract, in turn strengthening the immune system, fighting pathogens, and even supporting a stable mood. Clearly, probiotic coffee and tea sound like a win/win!
Here Is How Probiotic Coffee and Tea Improve the Digestibility and Absorption of Nutrients
Study supervisor Liu Shao Quan, an Associate Professor from the Department of Food Science and Technology at NUS, noted that probiotics are traditionally found in dairy-based foods, such as yogurt and soft cheeses. For vegans and lactose-intolerant individuals, plant-based probiotic beverages such as coffee and tea can provide a viable alternative. “The fermentation process creates compounds that improve nutrient digestibility while still retaining the health benefits associated with coffee and tea,” Prof. Liu declared.
Each serving of probiotic coffee or tea contains at least one billion live probiotics, the daily amount recommended by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. The products can be stored, either chilled or at room temperature, for up to 14 weeks.
Antioxidant-Rich Coffee Fights MULTIPLE Life-Threatening Illnesses Such as Cancer and Heart Disease, According to Science
Doctoral student Alcine Chan crafted the new probiotic coffee by adding specific nutrients and live probiotics to brewed coffee, then fermenting the mixture for a day. Although the process sounds simple, Ms. Chan noted that the formulation was “tricky.” Not all types of probiotics can grow in coffee, she reported, and not all nutrients meshed well with the taste of coffee. Ultimately, she was satisfied with the results, saying that each prototype retains its distinctive coffee taste. The coffees also retain their original polyphenols, along with their caffeine.
According to researchers at the prestigious Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, regular coffee drinking is associated with significantly lower odds of developing an array of serious diseases – including type 2 diabetes,heart disease, depression, obesity, liver cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Studies also support the ability of coffee to preserve memory and protect against falls in older people.
Researchers say that it is not just the caffeine in coffee that drives its health benefits. Its chlorogenic acid, bioactive tannins, and potent antioxidants get some of the credit as well.
Both Black and Green Tea Are Strongly Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory – Now, They Can Be Probiotic as Well
Ms. Wang Rui, the student who created the probiotic tea, added nutrients and probiotics to a tea infusion and allowed it to ferment for two days. The final product, she reported, has a fruity, floral taste, with a similar “mouthfeel” to conventional tea. “Drinkers can add sweeteners, and milk, or cream, based on their preferences,” she noted. Ms. Rui added that any type of brewed tea could be used for the product.
As with the coffee, the patented fermentation process allows for the polyphenols in tea to be retained.
Tea, which contains beneficial compounds known as catechins, is credited with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Black tea is linked with improved immune function, while green tea can lower unwanted LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Both black and green tea have been linked in observational studies with longer lives.
Support the Hard-Working Gut Microbiome With Probiotics
Bacteria in the gut microbiome perform a range of indispensable functions, including absorbing nutrients, synthesizing vitamins, breaking down dietary fiber, destroying pathogens, and strengthening the immune system – 80 percent of which exists in the gut. “Friendly” bacteria also bind to toxins and carcinogens, promoting their excretion from the body.
In fact, so important is the microbiome to health that bacterial imbalances can trigger autoimmune disorders, metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Microbiome balance can be disturbed by unnecessary use of antibiotics, poor nutrition (a diet high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates), pharmaceutical medications, and normal aging.
Fortunately, supplementary probiotics and probiotic foods can help encourage healthy microbial balance.
Two types of bacteria, in particular, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, are probiotic “superstars” with an impressive array of benefits – which include increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol, regulating immune response, reducing inflammation, improving blood sugar control, and reducing potentially cancer-causing DNA mutations. In a clinical study involving patients with type 2 diabetes and published in Nutrition, researchers found that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria in yogurt improved fasting glucose and A1c, a measure of blood sugar control over time.
Some people experience anxiety, headaches, heart palpitations, and insomnia from caffeine, which is found in both coffee and tea. Naturally, if you are sensitive to caffeine, you shouldn’t drink these beverages. Or, you could try switching to decaffeinated varieties, which still provide some health benefits.
Presumably, the field of probiotic enrichment will take the healthy contributions of coffee and tea to a whole new level – and do it without any noticeable loss of aroma and flavor of your morning “cuppa.” Naturally, if you don’t want to drink coffee (and still want to consume more probiotics, you can try adding miso soup, tempeh or sauerkraut to your diet.