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In between swooning over Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean Covey in Netflix's To All the Boys I've Loved Before, you may have noticed the main characters downing a red-topped "Korean" yogurt drink. As eagle-eyed fans were quick to point out on Twitter, the beverage is actually a *Japanese* probiotic called Yakult—and it's reportedly been flying off shelves since the movie was released.
Even though Yakult was never actually mentioned by name, the drink in the recognizable bottle is apparently selling like hotcakes ever since its cameo in the teen rom-com. The company's stock price has shot up almost 3 percent since the movie was released, Bloomberg reports.
So, what's the deal with the probiotic dairy drink? It's not just the fact that your new crush is a fan that might make you want to stock up on the kefir-like drink—Yakult is a powerful probiotic with some serious health perks.
"Probiotics are considered good bacteria. When consumed, they'll supplement your body's natural microbiome," says Keri Gans, R.D., a nutritionist in New York. In case you need a refresher, your microbiome is the natural balance of bacteria in and on your body that helps keep you healthy—feeding it with the good bacteria in probiotics is like giving it a microbiome fertilizer.
The Health Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics are super buzzy among health fanatics for a reason: There's a lot of emerging research surrounding the bacteria's benefits. Early studies have looked into probiotics' effects on things like cancer, heart disease, and your immune system, showing evidence that regularly consuming probiotics might lower your risk of certain diseases. (Related: 5 Legit Benefits of Probiotics—and How You Should Take Them)
Then there's the science behind the digestive health benefits. "There's a lot of proposed benefits of probiotics, but the one at this stage that has been proven is the relationship between probiotics and gut health," Gans explains. Yakult might be particularly useful for regulating your bathroom schedule. The drink contains a specific strain of probiotic called Lactobacillus casei Shirota, which studies have shown can help reduce chronic constipation. In other words, starting a Yakult habit can help regulate digestive issues and keep things running smoothly.
Yakult might also have some added benefits. In a study published earlier this year in Bioscience of Microbiota, Food and Health, researchers found that after eight weeks of downing a Lactobacillus casei Shirota–boosted drink, pre-diabetic obese patients had lower levels of harmful cholesterol. Studies also suggest it could boost your immune function—a study published in Clinical & Experimental Immunology found that the probiotic could increase your body's power to fight off infections.
How to Add Probiotics to Your Diet
Gans recommends having a probiotic daily. "There's really no negative to taking probiotics," she says. Luckily, there are tons of ways to work probiotics into your diet, Gans says—fermented foods, kombucha, certain yogurts, and kefir milk all have the stuff. The most important thing, is that "you make sure to choose a probiotic that contains live probiotics and active cultures. It should say so on the package," Gans says. (Yakult checks these boxes.)
Since everyone's microbiome is different, it might mean trying a few different probiotic brands until you find the one that gives you the biggest benefit. Most importantly, "it has to be something that you enjoy and that works for your body," Gans says. (Related: How to Find the Best Probiotic for You)
If you want to take a page from the TATBILB crew's book and try a sweet, citrus-y bottle of Yakult. Just watch out for the added sugars—one small bottle contains 11 grams. (The light version of the drink contains only 4 grams, though!) If it's not in the dairy aisle at your local grocery store, you can use Yakult's store locator to track down the nearest stash. Who knows, maybe you'll bump into Peter Kavinsky while you're there.