Yogurt is an excellent probiotic snack that is filled with live healthy cultures to aid your digestive system. But since not all yogurt is made equally, how do you find the right yogurt to support gut health?
There are certain things to look for in high-quality probiotic yogurt. It should contain at least 100 million cultures in each gram when it was manufactured, or have the Live and Active Cultures seal. Choose yogurt with the least sugar possible, just around 7-9 grams in each cup.
Knowing how to shop for the best yogurt for your gut will ensure you consume only the healthiest varieties out there. Continue reading the guide below to learn more.
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The Best Yogurt for Gut Health
The live probiotic content in yogurt makes it one of the healthiest snacks for gut health.
However, not all yogurt is made the same: many commercial yogurt brands contain too much sugar, too little probiotic cultures, or both. So how can you identify which yogurt is best for your gut?
At Least 100 Million Cultures
The live bacterial cultures in yogurt, also called probiotics, are essential for keeping the gut and digestive system health. Regular consumption of live probiotics reduces inflammation, strengthens the immune system, and ensures the intestines are healthy.
Unfortunately, far too many yogurt brands manufacture for the taste instead of its health benefits for the gut. That is why some brands contain too little cultures for it to be beneficial at all. Even if they taste good, they won’t benefit your digestive health.
You can identify the culture and probiotic content simply by reading the yogurt container. Ideally, it should have 100 million live cultures at the time of its manufacture. The International Dairy Foods Association also has the Live and Active Culture Seal on some brands, verifying its probiotic content, though even without the seal, the ingredient panel provides you with the information you need.
When it comes to frozen yogurt, it should have at least 10 million cultures in each gram.
Eating too much sugar can reduce the healthy bacteria population in your gut. A high sugar intake has also been linked to inflammation and compromised immune system. That’s why consuming yogurt that is low in sugar is best for your gut health.
When shopping around for yogurt, look for brands that contain under 9 grams of sugar in each serving. Plain, unflavored yogurt is usually best as it won’t contain added sugars; the same applies for full-fat, non-fat, or Greek yogurt.
High-protein yogurt is excellent for supporting gut health, especially if you have mild gastrointestinal conditions.
Protein is necessary for the gut to repair and regulate itself in many ways: it promotes the production of stomach acid, helps the gut heal itself, and boosts the pancreatic enzymes that break down food and nutrients for better absorption. That’s why yogurt with high amounts of protein is ideal for gut health.
On average, a 6-ounce cup of yogurt has 5-8 grams of protein in each serving. Greek yogurt, on the other hand, is naturally protein-rich and contains 10-15 grams of protein in a 6-ounce cup.
Best Store Bought Yogurt Brands for Gut Health
There are so many brands of yogurt in the market that it can be overwhelming to narrow down the healthiest options. However, knowing which brands have gut-friendly options can make it easier to determine which is best for you. Below are some popular brands of yogurt that carry a good selection of yogurt that is best for the gut.
Chobani is an American yogurt brand that has been around since 2005. It’s one of the most famous yogurt brands in the United States, and for good reason. They carry a wide range of regular and Greek yogurt varieties made from dairy as well as plant-based sources, offering customers with a fantastic array of yogurt to suit specific dietary needs.
While all Chobani varieties have higher-than-average probiotic content, they also do have a line of Chobani Probiotic yogurt that is made with billions of probiotics as well as a unique mix of special probiotic strains. This line of yogurt and yogurt drinks was designed specifically for supporting digestive and gut health.
Chobani yogurt also contains high protein, with 6 grams in each cup while its Greek varieties contain as much as 15 grams in each serving.
Fage is a Greek yogurt brand that was established by the Filippou’s family in Greece back in 1926. By the 1950’s through the 1980’s, their tasty and healthy Greek yogurt became famous around Europe before it finally made its way to the United States in the 2000s.
Today, Fage is still a family-owned business that takes pride in making healthy, high-protein, probiotic-rich Greek yogurt. They use only natural ingredients in each yogurt, and given that they follow Greek yogurt recipes, they are very high in protein. Fage Total, for example, has more than 10 grams of protein for every 100 gram serving.
In addition, they make their own live and active cultures for yogurt and they have varieties with no sweeteners or sugars added. Fage Total contains just 5 grams of sugar and 16 grams of protein.
Stonyfield was founded in 1983, originally as a non-profit organic farming school in New Hampshire. The founders, Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg, developed a delicious yogurt recipe made with fresh milk from their cows. The yogurt, which was completely organic, ended up becoming a big hit.
Decades later, Stonyfield’s organic yogurts are still well-loved around the country. They specialize in making healthy yogurt that boats of billions of probiotics in each serving. All are verified USDA Organic, Halal-certified, Kosher-certified, non-GMO, and gluten free. Depending on the type of Stonyfield yogurt, their protein content ranges from 6 to 16 grams in each serving though they also have low sugar varieties.
With all the excellent brands of gut-healthy yogurt out there, finding a delicious but healthy yogurt has never been easier. Just remember to always read the nutrition label.