If you’ve already committed to incorporating more yogurt into your diet (kudos), the next step is to make sure you take advantage of every possible benefit from it. Whether you prefer flavored yogurt, Greek yogurt, Skyr, or Non-dairy vegan yogurtRegistered Dietitian and Dietitian Kristi LeeRD, Director of Scientific Affairs at Danone North AmericaContains tips to ensure you get the most out of every delicious spoonful.
How to Reap Most of Yogurt’s Benefits for Your Gut Health and Digestion, According to the RD
1. When grocery shopping, keep yogurt cold by placing it along with other cold items in your cart
Yogurt containing dairy products needs to be kept cold for food safety reasons. But temperature matters when it comes to all types of yogurt, including plant-based yogurt, and here’s why (plus the food safety factor): According to Leigh, yogurt should stay between 32°F and 45°F to protect its live, active, gut-boosting cultures, And she has some practical suggestions for maintaining this temperature.
First, Lee recommends keeping the yogurt in your cart alongside other cold or frozen products while you shop, and then packing these items together to keep the yogurt cold on the way home. Once home, store the yogurt on a medium shelf—avoid the refrigerator door, where temperatures fluctuate more. “This will help ensure live, active cultures and maintain the quality of the yogurt,” Lee says.
2. A little research can go a long way when it comes to finding the yogurt that meets your needs
Lee points out that not all yogurts contain probiotics and that there are many different types of probiotic strains, each with different benefits. Knowing the specific strains (if any) that are in the yogurt is key to knowing what to make out of it. For example, according to Leigh, the . file Lactobacillus rhamnosus GGI was a breed Proven to support immune health. However, it is not always direct. First, Lee notes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the use of the word “probiotic” on food labels. This means you’ll need to dig deeper to learn more about specific strains – especially because not all yogurts contain probiotics.
The first step, Lee says, is to search the product label for specific strains in yogurt. The names of these breeds usually consist of a specific genus, species, and subspecies, expressed by a set of numbers and / or letters. Entering the breed’s name into a search engine can help you see what benefits, if any, that particular breed is associated with. “There are products that contain many different ‘probiotics’ in one formula, but without strain information you won’t be able to determine if the bacteria in the product have actually been studied for probiotic strains or cultures without a studied benefit,” Lee says.
Lee also stresses that when it comes to the number of probiotic strains in a serving of yogurt, more isn’t always better. “Depending on the benefit you’re looking for, you may only need one probiotic strain to get that benefit,” she says. The same applies to the number of colony forming units (CFUs), which is the number of microorganisms in a product. “The number of CFUs needed to get the benefit depends on the strain of the microorganism, so without a little research, it’s hard to know if you’re getting the required amount,” Lee says.
Lee also recommends looking for probiotic products with multiple benefits. “For example, some brands of yogurt can do double duty by supporting gut health as well as the immune system. The new brand Activia + multi-benefit drinkable yogurt Great example – it’s full of probiotics, supports gut health, and contains vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C to help support the immune system. “
3. Pair yogurt with plant foods to diversify your diet
Although yogurt can do a lot of the heavy lifting on its own when it comes to gut health, mixing it with plant-based foods can add flavor, texture, and additional gut-boosting benefits.
Citing results from American Gut Projecta publicly funded citizen science project that collects data on the human microbiome, Lee notes that people who consume 30 different types of plants per week have been shown to They have a greater diversity of gut bacteria— an indicator of good gut health — compared to those consuming 10 or fewer plants per week. “Fortunately, many plant-based foods are deliciously paired with yogurt, such as fruits, grains, vegetables, and even nuts,” Lee says. Takeaway? Layering yogurt with dried cranberries, cherries, banana slices, peanut butter, toasted almonds, or chia (or all of the above) is a powerful step for your gut health.
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