Actimel: The Benefits of Probiotics For My Gut Health

Prior to looking into probiotics, Actimel was something that I never really gave much thought to. Like most people, I just assumed it was another overpriced yogurt based drink and didn’t know if there was any real Actimel benefits. I was pretty skeptical and asked the same question of “does Actimel work?” like other people likely ask. But recently I’ve found that incorporating as many sources of probiotic in my diet as I can, is crucial to my gut health, and my overall health in general.

Actimel bottle with yogurt everywhere
Here’s my daughter delightfully modelling the Actimel bottle – she also has the vast majority of the yogurt down her top

What Does Actimel Do?

Actimel effectively works in the same way that all other probiotic sources do. They’re all about your gut health. You’ve probably seen adverts in the past from the likes of Activia, Yakult, Bio-Kult and whatever other bio live product you can name. They all effectively help to cultivate the good bacteria that helps your body – and in some cases your mind – to function.

Of course, people often question whether things like Actimel even work, and research often indicates that probiotics do. And they also vary rarely have any side effects, which is always a plus.

Actimel Ingredients

My main concern with the Actimel ingredients is the sugar. Of course it’s a milk based product and as such is going to contain some form of sugar. But I don’t know why there needs to be any unnecessarily added sugar. It’s not like Actimel is something consumed solely for the taste. People buy it for the health benefits. And it’s literally a shot, so even if it didn’t quite taste that good, then would you really care for a quick shot of milk?

Actimel ingredients: Here is a list of the ingredients found in the strawberry and blueberry flavours of actimel
Here’s the Actimel ingredients if you’re into that sort of thing – of course this can vary bottle to bottle

The most important part of the Actimel ingredients is the probiotics. Each bottle contains two strains of probiotic and that’s Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, and another called Streptococcus Thermophilus. They also have a third strain called L. casei Danone® – I mean Actimel literally invented their own probiotic strain. I’m not sure if I should be impressed or slightly puzzled as to why. These probiotics can be incredibly healthy for you. But they’re not the only source of probiotic that you can include in your diet.

Actimel Benefits and General Benefits of Probiotics – Do Probiotics help with Depression?

Probiotics are the best. I’ve even talked in the past about how they can help reduce the effects of colic. So if you’re looking for this to be slightly related to the world of parenting – since this is technically a parenting blog – then there’s that.

Actimel yogurt all over my table
You can also give Actimel to toddlers to distract them for five minutes and leave a huge mess! Wonderful!

I’ve attributed part of my recovery from depression on the benefits of probiotics. Research does indicate that probiotics can help reduce the symptoms of depression, although it’s hardly a massive reduction. But for me, it’s been told to me as if the bad bacteria in my gut thrive on sugar, so they produce the craving that makes me want to eat anything sugary. This then leads to a worsening depression, at least for me, and then allows the cycle to continue. What probiotics do, and things like Actimel, is help prevent the growth of that bad bacteria that wants the sugar.

This is rather antidotal, but all I can say is that when I consume probiotics regularly I have been less likely to be depressed. If you want a different source of probiotic that is easy to consume that isn’t Actimel, then here are some of the things I’ve bought to take as an additional supplement:

I Don’t Just Rely on Actimel – There Are Other Probiotics Too

I try to drink around one bottle of Actimel a day. And by Actimel I pretty much mean whatever probiotic yogurt based drink is available. There’s no loyalty here. If Yakult is on sale then I’ll be buying that instead.

But Actimel has enough for 10 billion probiotic cultures right from the get go. On top of that I only try to eat yogurt that’s bio live – something like Yeo Valley has been great for that – and if I can get my hands on some Kefir then I’m all over that too. Although I will say that Kefir does have an acquired taste. It’s heavily fermented milk. And it basically smells a lot like newborn baby poop, so you can understand why I was put off the stuff for quite a while.

Then I always try and take supplements. There are some with ridiculous amounts of bacterial strains. I currently take one that has 50 billion per capsule. But that’s a one month supply for £13.69. If you want something a little cheaper that will last you longer then you could go with 180 tablets with 2 billion in each.

If you suffer from IBS or IBD then perhaps probiotics are worth looking into too. You can get supplements for IBS and IBD to try and help.

If you want non diary sources of probiotics then you can try and add some kimchi or sauerkraut into your diet. They’re both basically fermented vegetables. If the idea of fermenting some cabbage with lactic acid bacteria sounds delicious to you, then give that a go. I tend to have a more reasonable reaction when thinking of fermented cabbage:

How I feel when I think of eating fermented cabbage

Just Give Probiotics a Go

Look, I’m not here to sell you anything. This isn’t a sponsored post or even an Actimel advert – although if you’re someone who works for Danone then feel free to hit me up, let’s chat! – I’m just here to talk about something that works for me. Maybe it works because I think it works and it’s all placebo. Or perhaps it works because it genuinely just works. I don’t care either way, because I know that when I take probiotics I feel so much better for it.

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Ross

I’m a 26 year old married father of one. I started blogging after suffering postnatal depression when Isabelle was born. These days I talk about much more than just that.

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