Yum, yum, yum. Yogurt. Love it. I get this amazing yogurt from a local store in Baltimore that orders it from Pequea Valley Farms in Lancaster, PA. It is by far the best yogurt I've ever had. Made from grass-fed cows milk, the flavor is rich and zippy, and the texture is thick and satisfying. It's a bit pricey, but thanks to the fact that it only comes in full fat varieties, you only need a quarter cup to fill you up.
Yogurt that contains live and active cultures (be on the lookout for this on the label) is so, so good for you. It puts good bacteria in your intestines and stomach that help digest food and keep away the bad bacteria. The bacteria Lactobacillus helps break down lactose and sugars and converts them to lactic acid, which keep bad bacteria at bay. The bacteria found in yogurt are types of probiotics. You've all heard of those, right? They're also found in other fermented foods, such as miso, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut.
Probiotics are essential for replacing good bacteria that may have been killed off by taking antibiotics. They have been correlated with helping to treat irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and constipation. But, it's not instantaneous -- you have to add in probiotics daily, and it may take a while for the good bacteria levels to increase.
There is a correlation between probiotics and lowering inflammation levels in the body. They also have been shown to boost immune systems, which help to prevent catching the flu and the common cold, according to one study. For more information on the fascinating studies on probiotics, check out this article.
I topped my lovely, tasty yogurt with blueberries. I admit, I gave in and bought them at Whole Foods even though they're not in season here. Blueberries are another powerhouse that are packed with antioxidants, which I raved about in a previous post. I didn't add any sugar to my yogurt since lots of sugar can inhibit the good effects of probiotics, but I did add toasted pecans and some cinnamon to boost the sweetness a bit.
How do you like your probiotics?
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