person eating probiotic yogurt with berries

What is Probiotic Yogurt and What are its Benefits?

CDHF

Written by: CDHF

Updated: February 22nd, 2024

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Yogurt is a staple many people’s diet. It is a dairy product that is made by fermenting milk with a bacterial culture. When perusing the dairy section at the grocery store, you will see that are there are many types of yogurts, with each having different nutritional benefits. One of them is probiotic yogurt – a great gut-friendly food to include in your diet.

Probiotic yogurt and gut health

Just like kombucha, kimchi and tempeh, yogurt is a fermented food. Fermented foods are produced by controlled microbial growth, and there are those that contain live microbes and those that do not. Fermented foods that contain live microbes, like yogurt, help increase the diversity of the gut microbiota, which is important for gut health. 

Additionally, while yogurt typically contains live bacteria, not all yogurts provide bacteria that are considered probiotics. It will be clearly indicated on the label of the yogurt if it is probiotic. Probiotics are specific bacterial strains that have been demonstrated to provide a specific health benefit when taken in adequate amounts. You can learn more about probiotics in our article.

What are the other benefits of probiotic yogurt? Keep reading to find out! 

Probiotic yogurt is nutritious. 

Dairy yogurt naturally contains several key nutrients that play important roles in our health, including calcium, vitamin B12, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Considering that many of us do not consume enough of some of these nutrients, integrating yogurt in our daily diet can help us improve our nutritional intake.1, 2

Probiotic yogurt may help prevent certain diseases.

The consumption of dairy products has been associated with the prevention of several chronic diseases. Fermented dairy foods, like yogurt, have been extensively researched. In fact, the consumption of yogurt has been linked to reduced weight gain and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.3

It can help digest lactose.

This advantage is of particular interest for people with lactose intolerance. Compared to milk, yogurt is typically well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance for several reasons. First, a reduced level of lactose is found in yogurt. During fermentation, yogurt ferments produce lactase, the enzyme in charge of lactose digestion, transforming approximately 20 to 30% of the lactose into more digestible components. Once eaten, lactase continues to be released by the ferments and carries on breaking down lactose. Moreover, unlike milk, yogurt’s semi-solid state benefits lactose digestion by slowing transit through the gut.

Finally, probiotic yogurt is enjoyable! 

Pleasure and convenience are key factors in making positive, sustainable changes to our diet. Thanks to its perfectly balanced tangy taste, creamy texture and versatility, probiotic yogurt can be eaten as such at any time or incorporated in many dishes. Just make sure to avoid heating or cooking it so as not to kill the probiotic bacteria. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Eating probiotic yogurt is an enjoyable way of having probiotics as part of a balanced lifestyle and healthy diet. As mentioned, be sure to look for the word ‘probiotics’ on the label to make sure that you get the most out of your yogurt!

References:

  1. Ahmed et al. Nutrient intakes of Canadian adults: results from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)-2015 Public Use Microdata File. Am J Clin Nutr 2021;114:1131-1140.
  2. Vatanparast et al. Consumption of yogurt in Canada and its contribution to nutrient intake and diet quality among Canadian adults. Nutrients 2019;11:1203. 
  3. Savaiano et al. Yogurt, cultured fermented milk, and health: as systematic review. Nutr Rev 2021;79:599-614.

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