We all know yogurt is great for digestion, but it is also a potent inflammation-fighter. This makes yogurt an important part of the Arthritis Healing Diet. But choose your yogurt carefully: heavily-sweetened yogurts spiked with artificial gunk won’t help your arthritis.
1. Yogurt’s super bugs tame inflammation. Researchers have discovered that yogurt’s beneficial bacteria snuff out different kinds of inflammation. One study looking at probiotic bacteria strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium animalis, and Propionibacterium freudenreichii found that each strain lowered different inflammation markers in the blood. Less inflammation means less joint damage, so eat your yogurt!
2. Not all yogurts are created equal. Steer clear of any yogurt containing sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring, candy and cookie pieces or fruit; they bear little resemblance to real yogurt and the added sugar and chemicals do you no favors. That means most of the familiar brand names you’ll find in an ordinary grocery dairy case should be avoided. Many commercial yogurt products also have been heated to extend shelf life. Unfortunately, this also kills the beneficial bacteria.
When shopping, look for plain, grass-fed, organic yogurts with “live active cultures”. You’ll find them at your local farmers market, or at Eatwild.com’s state-by-state listing of farmers. In organic and conventional groceries, look for Natural by Nature (80-100% grassfed), as well as Stoneyfield, Nancy’s Organic and Organic Valley brands (minimum 30% grassfed).
3. How much yogurt should you eat? For maximum healing, have at least one cup of plain yogurt daily. For breakfast, add your own fresh fruit, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, chopped walnuts and a dash of cinnamon. For lunch, blend a low-cal smoothie full of other Arthritis Healing Superfoods like fresh or frozen berries, banana and ground flaxseed or wheat germ. You can also mix yogurt into savory dressings for salads and vegetables. Or grab a yogurt for a perfect bedtime snack; both the calcium and the protein will help you sleep.
For a change of pace, try Greek yogurt which is thicker and has a richer taste. Or you can knock back a glass of kefir, yogurt’s drinkable cousin. Kefir contains its own unique varieties of beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus Caucasus, the Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus. Feel free to add a touch of cinnamon and berry juice for extra flavor and healing.
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