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health benefits of yogurt

The Pros of Probiotics

Written on February 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm , by

Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern

Many yogurts pack a healthy amount of "good bacteria." (Photo by Jonathan Kantor)

We often hear that probiotics are important to maintain healthy digestion, but what exactly do they do? FITNESS recently learned all about the friendly bacteria from Dr. Melina B. Jampolis, M.D., who we met with at an Activia event. We asked her about the digestive system, the role of probiotics in overall health and how to incorporate the live microorganisms in our diets. Here’s what she had to say:

How do probiotics help regulate our digestive system?

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that live in our intestines. The gut contains 70 percent of our body’s immune tissue so a healthy gut is important for healthy immune function. Probiotics help keep the cells of the colon healthy, promoting good digestion. Things like stress, lack of sleep, medication and infection can throw off the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the intestines which can lead to overall health and digestive problems. This bacteria keeps the cells that line the gut healthy, they produce vitamins and produce lactase, an enzyme that helps break down milk.

Can you get probiotics from frozen yogurt? 

It depends on the preparation of the frozen yogurt and if probiotics are added. Although yogurt contains live cultures, it does not contain probiotics unless they are added. If it is frozen slowly the probiotics can survive but if it’s just placed in the freezer they will not.

How can those who don’t like yogurt incorporate probiotics into their diet?

Probiotic supplements, both refrigerated and shelf stable, are available. You can also find different strains in chocolate bars and juices but the benefits of probiotics are strain specific so if you are looking for a specific benefit, such as supporting a healthy digestive system, it is important to choose a clinically validated product.

Pastry Chef and Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts judge, Johnny Iuzzini, showed us how easy (and delicious!) incorporating probiotics into your diet can be. Check out his sweet recipe!

Panna cotta is Italian for cooked cream. (Photo courtesy of Activia)

Yogurt-Orange Blossom Panna Cotta

  • 2 1/4 cups Activia Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 gelatin sheets or 1 tablespoon gelatin powder
  • Lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  1. Heat sugar and milk until hot.
  2. Soak the gelatin in ice water for 10 minutes then squeeze out excess water and add to the hot milk. Allow milk to cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir in the vanilla yogurt, lime zest and orange blossom water and pour into a 4-ounce ramekin or a mold and allow to set in the refrigerator.
  4. Once set, carefully unmold into the serving bowl by inverting and releasing one edge.

Food Fight: The Greek Yogurt Debate

Written on December 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm , by

yogurt cup

Photo by iStockPhoto

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

It seems like everyone has jumped onto the Greek yogurt bandwagon. Perhaps this is because it’s relatively low in calories, often fat free, and packs a strong protein punch. This powerful combination can help you feel fuller for longer with less calories, and often help you maintain a healthy weight.

Because of Greek yogurt’s recent buzz and skyrocketing sales, not all Greek yogurts that have hit the market are as great as they claim to be. Additionally, determining which yogurt fits best into your diet depends on more than just nutrition facts. Texture, cost, and versatility all play a role. To help you determine which Greek yogurt is best for you, let’s take a look at three of the most common varieties available.

1. Yoplait Greek Yogurt

Yoplait Greek yogurt is relatively inexpensive; however, many do not consider it to be a true Greek yogurt because it contains milk protein concentrate for added protein power and several different thickeners in its flavored varieties. Milk protein concentrate is also considered to be a controversial ingredient since it is often imported from other countries where safety regulations aren’t as stringent.

On a more positive note, this brand does have a wide variety of flavors available and boasts double the protein of traditional yogurt. It is also a great source of both calcium and vitamin D. If you are a fan of traditional Yoplait yogurt, you may find this brand enjoyable; however, it is important to note that the flavored varieties often contain more sugar (18-20 grams per serving). According to Yoplait’s website, all of their products contain live and active cultures, important probiotics that have been shown to be beneficial for overall health. Some diets, like The 17 Day Diet, advise a daily serving of probiotic-rich yogurt. Unfortunately, the live and active cultures used are not individually listed on the ingredient list, making it difficult to know which type or quantity of each is found in the end product.

Keep reading to see how Chobani and Stoneyfield Oikos compare! Read more

Help Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives This Month

Written on October 3, 2011 at 9:35 am , by

One little pink lid can make a big difference. (Photo courtesy of Yoplait)

Want to support Breast Cancer Awareness month but have no clue where to start? You can start by eating (seriously!). Yoplait has made it ridiculously easy to do a good deed with its 13th annual Save Lids to Save Lives campaign to help Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Whenever you buy a BCA Yoplait cup, just save the pink lid to mail it in or redeem it online. Yoplait will donate ten cents to a local Susan G. Komen for the Cure affiliate in your area for each lid redeemed by December 31, 2011 up to $2 million. Not only are you supporting a good cause, you have the chance to make a big impact to an organization in your area that is near and dear to your heart.

To redeem your lids online and get more information about the campaign, visit savelidstosavelives.com.

Now tell us: How are you supporting BCA month?

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