Our gut health plays a major role in our health and well-being. It might sound crazy but our gut houses over half of the body’s immune system and immune response. If our gut isn’t healthy that means our natural defense system isn’t going to be very healthy either. Taking care of our gut helps us to take care of our entire being. A little research will show you that depression and anxiety can stem from gut health issues like an imbalance or overgrowth of intestinal bacteria.
A healthy gut is a happy gut. Yogurt has been gaining more and more popularity among the population and with good reason. It’s so good for you and your gut. It’s full of probiotics which are full of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms. I know, bacteria sounds gross and in some cases it is but when it comes to our gut they are especially beneficial. There are actually several strains of beneficial bacteria that are good for us A lot of fermented foods contain probiotics but yogurt is the hit of the topic right now, especially Greek Yogurt due to the probiotic content.
On that note, one of the greatest benefits found inside a container of your favorite yogurt are the probiotics! Probiotics are living microorganisms that can restore and improve our gut’s microflora. You might not know this, but the surface of our skin and even our gut have different bacteria strains found on and inside of them. Believe it or not, there are many strains of beneficial bacteria that is actually good for us. Our gut is a prime example. Without the proper balance of beneficial bacteria our gut health can decline. This is because the beneficial bacteria in our gut is responsible for several things, one of them being breaking down the food we eat so that it can be distributed throughout our body. Without the bacteria the food will not break down properly leaving too much bulk mass potentially causing a blockage. Not to mention, we wouldn’t receive the nutrients we need.
Fermented foods are made using a process called lacto-fermentation. Bacteria, yeast, and a variety of microorganisms are responsible for breaking down sugar and starch in the food we eat and turns it into lactic acid. Lactic acid created during the fermentation process is a natural preservative and it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria which is the reason that fermented foods have such an extended shelf life.
Fermented foods digest easily as the nutrients break down into their most digestible form. The process of lacto-fermentation can add nutritional value to your food, producing B vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes not naturally present in the food before fermentation. Which is like an added bonus.
So What’s The Link Between Yogurt and Gut Health?
The word “lacto” as in the portion of the term lacto-fermentation refers to a specific species of bacteria called Lactobacillus. Various strains of these bacteria are naturally present in plants and even your gut microbiome. In fact, strains of Lactobacillus are often found in probiotic supplements because of their gut health benefits.
During the fermentation process, these strains of bacteria are able to multiply fast because, in addition to producing enzymes and nutrients, the fermentation process produces prebiotics, which is food for probiotics. So fermented foods are very high in probiotics and prebiotics, which feed your gut’s natural probiotics when you eat them.
Yogurt’s probiotics are going to feed your gut with beneficial bacteria, strengthen your digestive tract, and it helps us feel full so we don’t overeat. Yogurt has loads of health benefits that aren’t limited to our gut health. It is made with milk so it’s giving us a healthy does of animal proteins which we need to survive. It is full of vitamins and minerals and it tastes so good. Eat it alone or add it to your fruit salad, either way it’s going to do great things for your digestive health and healing.
For this reason, people with gut health issues, particularly Candida overgrowth or SIBO, often add fermented foods into their diet as part of their treatment protocol. They want to rebuild their population of probiotics that keep the bad bacteria and yeast in check. When dealing with gut health issues it is important to understand what is going on inside the gut universe before trying to treat gut issues yourself. For instance, gut health issues such as SIBO and leaky gut may require more fermented foods but in some cases it is actually best to avoid them as to not add more bacteria where there is an overgrowth.