To be fair, not just yogurt but all fermented foods! Yogurt just happens to be the best known for its probiotic content. All fermented foods contain probiotics, as long as they are unpasteurized!
Lets talk about your intestinal flora! Is that too personal😉
The bacteria in your system outnumber your cells of your body 10 to 1! That is a lot of bacteria, and they reside in your intestines and colon. There are a variety of strains, some good, some bad and many indifferent! You need these strains as some make vitamins, such as K, and provide for the optimal conditions for absorption of nutrients.
The “bad” ones? Well they provide you with that embarrassing gas and bloating😳
The trick is learning how to balance these competing strains.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet is a great start. Consuming probiotics is key toward meeting this goal.
How are fermented foods produced?
Bacteria will ferment milk to produce lactic acid, which gives yogurt the tangy taste. Bacteria that feed on skim milk produce the fat free variety of foods.
Plain yogurt, that does not have any additives, should be white and thick. Commercial brands that add colors and sugars are not good for you. Those additives will actual feed the unhealthy flora that you are trying to replace and may contribute to weight gain over time.
According to the official definition, probiotics are “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Which is a fancy way of saying they are good for you! Probiotics are usually bacteria but some yeast also have this function. But with so many strains to choose from, which should you be looking for in your yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh?
All fermented foods, with live active cultures, contain probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus thermophilus. Be sure to read the label and look for these specific strains!
Benefits of consuming fermented foods, particularly yogurt
It is high in calcium which is needed for healthy teeth and bones. In fact, 1 8oz cup is 49% of your daily recommended total.
Yogurt is high in B vitamins, and required for heart health. 💕
It is also high in Phosphorus, Magnesium and Potassium, all needed for bone health, regulating blood pressure and metabolism. In fact, that same 1 8oz cup has 38%, 12% and 18% of each of those ions, respectively.
Yogurt is high in protein! Remember P is for Protein? We talked about how important protein is for a variety of reasons. Regular yogurt has 12 grams/7 oz, which is pretty good, but greek yogurt (which has been strained to remove all the water creating a denser product) has 22grams/ 7oz!
Protein will help you feel fuller longer and may aid in weight control. Studies have shown that particpants who consumed greek style yogurt remained fuller longer and ate fewer calories throughout the day, compared to participants who consumed regular yogurt.
In another study, obese individuals, who have different flora than lean people, had a fecal transplant from a person with a lean weight flora. This caused weight loss in the obese host. This result confirmed that gut microorganisms can help with weight control.
In 2013, a study of 210 patients with central obesity (belly fat) was conducted. The subjects were given Lactobacillus gassers supplements. It was determined that the bacteria was responsible for a weight loss of 8.5% in 12 weeks. When the patients stopped ingesting the bacteria they gained all the weight back in just 4 weeks!
Probiotics lower levels of inflammation.
Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Cause the lowering of total cholesterol levels, and particularly, LDL.
Lowering blood pressure.
Skin health benefits, such as controlling acne, rosacea and eczema. 😊
Any Side Effects?
You could experience gas and mild discomfort for a couple days as the new bacteria settle in, after that your digestion should be better than it was before the probiotics.
Some antibiotics will be less effective due to the high calcium content in yogurt (and any dairy products). Your doctor or pharmacists will tell you to curtail your dairy intake while on the medications.
Many commercial yogurts contain additives that you do not want in your system, such as added sugars or dyes. I like to buy plain yogurt and add in fresh fruit to control the carbs and minimize calories. Making your own is actually quite easy!
I hope you are interested in probiotics, if you weren’t before. There are quite a few benefits to be had!😋