If you’ve already committed to adding more yogurt to your diet (kundos), the next step is to make sure you get every possible benefit from it. Whether you prefer flavored yogurt, Greek yogurt, skyr or non-dairy, vegetable yogurt, registered dietitian and nutritionist Kristie Leigh, RD, Director of Science at Danone North America, has tips to ensure you get the most out of every tasty spoon.
How to get the most benefit from yogurt for gut health and digestion, according to an RD
1. When shopping for groceries, keep the yogurt cool by placing it along with other cold items in your shopping cart.
Dairy yogurt should be kept cold for food safety reasons. But temperature matters when it comes to all types of yogurt, including those of plant origin, and here’s why (except for food safety factor): According to Leigh, yogurt should stay between 32 ° F and 45 ° F to protect its live, active cultures that strengthen the gut and has some practical suggestions for maintaining this temperature.
First, Leigh recommends keeping yogurt in your basket next to other cold or frozen products while you shop, and then stacking the same products together to keep the yogurt cool on the way home. Once home, store the yogurt on a medium shelf — avoid the refrigerator door, where temperatures fluctuate the most. “This will help ensure that live and active crops and the quality of the yogurt are maintained,” says Leigh.
2. A little research can help a lot when it comes to finding the yogurt that meets your needs
Leigh points out that not all yogurts contain probiotics and there are many different types of probiotic strains, each of which offers different benefits. Knowing which specific strains (if any) are in your yogurt is the key to knowing what you get out of it. For example, according to Leigh, the widely used Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG The strain has been shown to support the health of the immune system. However, it is not always simple. For one, Leigh notes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the use of the word “probiotic” on food labels. This means that you will need to dig deeper to learn more about specific strains — especially since not all yogurts contain probiotics.
The first step, says Leigh, is to search the product label for the specific strains in yogurt. The names of these strains usually consist of the genus, the species and the specific strain, which are expressed as a combination of numbers and / or letters. Linking a directory name to a search engine can help you understand what benefits – if any – are associated with that directory. “There are products that contain many different ‘probiotics’ in a formula, but without the strain information you will not be able to determine if the bacteria in the product are actually studied probiotic strains or cultures with no known benefit,” says Leigh.
Leigh also points out that when it comes to the number of probiotic strains in a yogurt serving, it is not always best to have more. “Depending on the benefit you are looking for, you may only need one probiotic strain to get that benefit,” he says. The same goes for the number of colony forming units (CFUs), which is the number of live microorganisms in the product. “The number of CFUs needed to get the benefit depends on the probiotic strain, so without a little research, it is difficult to know if you are getting the amount you need,” says Leigh.
Leigh also recommends that you look for probiotic products with multiple benefits. “For example, some yogurt brands can do dual functions by supporting your gut health as well as your immune system. The brand new Activia + Multi-Benefit yogurt is a great example – it is full of probiotics, it supports your gut health and has as vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C that help support the immune system “.
3. Combine your yogurt with plant-based foods to diversify your diet
Although yogurt can do a lot of weight on its own when it comes to gut health, mixing it with plant-based foods can add flavor, texture and additional benefits to toning the gut.
Citing findings from the American Gut Project, a co-funded citizen science program that collects data on the human microbiome, Leigh notes that people who consume 30 different plant species a week have been shown to have a greater diversity of gut bacteria – an indicator of good health. of the gut — compared with those who ate 10 or fewer plants a week. “Fortunately, many plant foods go well with yogurt, such as fruits, cereals, vegetables and even nuts,” says Leigh. The takeaway? Filling your yogurt bowl with dried cranberries, cherries, banana slices, peanut butter, roasted almonds or chia (or all of the above) is a major boost to your gut health.
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