Probiotics
Is That Yogurt Good for You? - All About Probiotics
Author

Fact Checked By Jill Armijo, PTA, CHC

Yogurt is an excellent source for probiotics, helping digestion and maintaining a healthy immune system.

Before we get into which types of yogurt are the best for your gut, let’s look at the benefits of probiotics in the body.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria (yeast or microorganism) found in humans from infants to adults, typically located in the gut, small intestine, and large intestine. 

Good probiotic bacteria is also found in dairy milk products, breast milk, kombucha, pickles, kimchi, and made into supplement pills. 

Probiotic health benefits include:

  • Reducing gastrointestinal issues like Lactose Intolerance and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (1)
  • Supporting a healthy digestive tract for every age, infants to adults
  • Balancing microbiome to help break down nutrients in food
  • Supporting vaginal health (2)
  • Promoting mental health and clarity

There are Two Families of Probiotics

Probiotics are classified into two different family species with multiple strains in each. These probiotic families are (3): 

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacterium

Let’s look at the differences, similarities, and benefits between the two probiotics.

Lactobacillus can be found within the human body.

This probiotic typically settles in the small intestine to help move food within the digestive tract and separates the nutrients before moving food through the large intestine.

It can also be found in animals like cows and utilized in fermented dairy milk forms like yogurt.

Bifidobacterium is the probiotic strain that lives in your gut and settles in the large intestine(colon).

This bacteria helps the digestive system move food through the stomach, minimizing any pain, discomfort, or backups.

This strain lives in all people from babies to adulthood.

Health Benefits of Probiotics

Though there are two strains of probiotics, they tend to have similar characteristics and benefits.

  • It supports a healthy digestive tract in the gut, small intestine, and through the big intestine.
  • Benefits Lactose Intolerant individuals
    • Probiotics break down the sugar in milk, making it easier for them to digest the proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Reduces acid and bile in the stomach when feeling nausea or our gut is trying to reject food.
  • Can help balance microbiome to assist with any gastrointestinal issues like (4):
    • Celiac Disease
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    • Chronic Diarrhea
    • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
    • Peptic Ulcer Disease
    • Crohn's Disease
  • Defeats constipation

For Digestion and Stomach Pain

  • Promotes a healthy overall immune system by supporting a healthy digestive tract (5)
  • Helps with weight management
  • It can help shield you from infection
  • Supports oral health
  • Can reduce hormones like insulin
  • Supports vaginal health (6)
  • It may help reduce belly fat and can make you feel full after eating (7).

Healthy Immune System & Weight Management

  • It helps infants digest breast milk.
  • Separates the best nutrients for babies in milk, formulate, and regular food
  • Supports the microbiome in their gut to reduce constipation or backups

Healthy for Babies

  • Preserve a healthy level of cholesterol - lowers LDL
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Supports healthy vitamin d levels
  • Maintain levels of CRP in blood for less inflammation and healthy arteries and heart
  • Healthy fibrinogen - blood plasma is not too thin or thick(risking blood clots)
  • Relieve occasional bloating

Heart Health Benefits

Improved Mental Health

  • Research has shown positive reactions from most age groups, infant through adulthood.
  • It can help maintain a healthy response to occasional stress

There have been studies on both strains of probiotics and their relationship to mental health and wellness (8).

The studies showed improved levels of stress and anxiety, depression, and OCD. It can also increase mental clarity and memory too! (9)

Helps Replenish Good Bacteria

Taking probiotics is also great when on antibiotic medication because it actively fights bacteria in the body and can reduce your amount of good and healthy probiotic bacteria in the gut.

Eating some yogurt or taking fiber pills can help bring back some good bacteria that will stay and improve digestion.

Let’s Talk About Yogurt!

Not only does yogurt contain probiotics that help improve your digestive tract, but some types, like Greek, yogurt can raise the number of good bacteria living in your body for prolonged gut health (10).

Make sure to choose yogurt that has active/live cultures like these brands (11) (12):

  • Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr - a whole-milk yogurt with active cultures
  • Fage Total - a greek yogurt containing more protein and 2% milk
  • Yoplait Light - any flavor is great
  • Stonyfield Farm Organic - either the Greek yogurt or regular is fine. This brand also has a soy option for non-dairy eaters.
  • Nancy’s Probiotic Whole-Milk Yogurt
  • Chobani - a classic choice for probiotics and loaded with protein, gluten-free, and has no GMOs.
  • Activia
  • Noosa - the plain flavor is the best option for reducing sugar.
Author

Fact Checked By Jill Armijo, PTA, CHC

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS