Yogurt’s hidden gem – Probiotics

By Laura Schmidt RD, LD

The human digestive system is naturally inhabited by billions of bacteria that are collectively called the “microbiome.” Most of the bacteria resides in the lining of the human gut, which contains about three pounds of bacteria. The balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria is vital for immune health, and can be thrown out of balance by a wide range of circumstances. These include antibiotic use, poor diet, excess alcohol intake, stress, and disease. In circumstances like these, beneficial bacteria can decrease in number, allowing harmful competitors to thrive. Beneficial bacteria aid in absorption of nutrients, fight against infections, and help with digestion. Poor gut balance can cause digestive problems including gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Emerging research is showing healthy individuals tend to have a more diverse makeup of bacteria compared to people with certain diseases. Research is being done studying the link between gut bacteria and almost every disease in the body. While the evidence is still forming, there appears to be a link between certain cancers, obesity, inflammatory and intestinal diseases and bacteria makeup of the gut.

A diet containing probiotics and a wide variety of plant foods that are low in sugar and saturated fat may help create a more diverse microbiome. Dannon Oikos Triple Zero yogurt is the dietitian pick for November, and is a great source of beneficial probiotics, plus it contains prebiotics as well. Prebiotics act as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Chicory root is the prebiotic source in Oikos Triple Zero yogurt, and is naturally sweet, but provides no calories. The main sweetener in the yogurt is stevia, a natural plant-based sweetener. Other sources of prebiotics include fibrous plant foods, especially leeks, artichokes, asparagus, bananas, legumes, and oatmeal.

There are many other probiotic products on the market with claims for potential health benefits, many of which only have preliminary research to support at this time. The following foods contain probiotics:

Yogurt, Kefir (fermented dairy product, consistency of liquid yogurt),Sauerkraut and Fermented foods, such as mirin and tempeh.

The World Health Organization states that probiotics must remain alive for duration of shelf life and be in amounts high enough for beneficial effect for product to claim probiotic effect. Make sure to look for the “live and active cultures” logo!

Adding Oikos Triple Zero yogurt to your daily diet is a delicious way to increase your probiotic intake. It comes in many delicious flavors including Banana Crme, Chocolate, Coconut Crme, Coffee, Strawberry, Salted Caramel and many more. In addition, each single serving size container boasts 15 grams of filling protein, making this a great addition to your breakfast or afternoon snack. Use the vanilla Triple Zero yogurt to make this Raspberry Yogurt with Dark Chocolate recipe, a perfect sweet ending to any day.

Raspberry Yogurt with Dark Chocolate

Serves 1 (about 1/2 cup)

All you need:

1/4 cup raspberries, divided

1 container vanilla Oikos Triple Zero Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp Hy-Vee honey

1 tsp grated dark chocolate

All you do:

1. Mash 2 tablespoons raspberries with yogurt and honey. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons raspberries and a sprinkle of chocolate.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 160 calories, 1.5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 65mg sodium, 22g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 8g sugars, 16g protein.

Daily values: 1% Iron.

Source: EatingWell, Inc.

The information is not intended as medical advice.

Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Laura Schmidt is a registered dietitian representing Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.

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