Researchers are pumping probiotics into a new dairy product—and it's not yogurt.
Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

You may think you have a handle on all of the probiotic foods that could improve your gut health, but we’re betting you’ve never heard of this one.

If you're tired of eating yogurt or kimchi to balance your microbiome, get ready, because a team of researchers is hoping to bring "functional feta" to a dairy aisle near you. A new study published in the journal Food Microbiology claims that certain probiotic strains are perfectly matched for feta cheese.

Researchers from the Institute of Technology of Agricultural Products added beneficial bacteria to a feta cheese culture that ended up mimicking the exact same product we're already used to in our salads.


The bacteria the researchers used, called L. planatrum, multiplied more than what was necessary to classify the product as "probiotic" within the new blend of feta cheese—even after sitting in a cold freezer for a nine-month test period. The good-for-you bacteria also held up during an initial test of six months at a higher temperature of 53 degrees fahrenheit, which is similar to the conditions found in retail environments, according to the published research.

Should this research lead to probiotic feta cheese, you wouldn't taste too much of a difference—the lead researcher on the study noted that the L.plantarum test was particularly successful since the final product tasted like regular feta, but with a slew of added probiotic benefits.  

Feta cheese is a huge staple of Greek cuisine and part of a healthy Mediterranean diet, so if these researchers end up making this already good-for-you diet staple even healthier, we're all for it.