Eating yogurt with meals has been recommended by Ayurveda practitioners for centuries. Especially for those with gut or other inflammatory issues. Now modern science has confirmed this Ayurveda practice of eating yogurt with meals actually reduces inflammation. It also helps digestion and improves metabolism according to the research.
Yogurt fights inflammation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Connecticut tested 120 women. For nine weeks, they had half the women eat 339 grams of yogurt just before meals. The other half received a placebo pudding.
The researchers tested the women for inflammation markers, including CD14, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP), LPS activity and interleukin-6 (IL-6). They also tested the women’s levels of glucose, triglyceride, and insulin.
The study found the group consuming the yogurt before meals had between a 72 and 40 percent decrease in inflammation levels using the different markers. The scientists also found significantly less hypoglycemia (higher blood sugar) levels following their meals among the group consuming the fermented food.
The researchers discussed the improvements after eating yogurt in terms of “metabolic endotoxemia.” ‘Endo’ relates to the body’s internal levels. And ‘toxemia’ relates to levels of toxicity within the body. In other words, the yogurt helped prevent undesirable compounds from getting into the bloodstream.
And because inflammation is related to the body’s immune system having to deal with toxins, reduced toxins means reduced inflammation. This is also one reason probiotics help relieve iinflammatory irritable gut syndrome (IBS) according to other research.
The yogurt also improved the “postprandial metabolism” of the patients. This means their ability to process the sugars and other compounds, and assimilate the nutrients from the foods. We’ll discuss this in a moment.
Yogurt improves blood health
Another study from Switzerland’s
The researchers tested the blood in 14 men over a two-week period. They were given 400 grams of yogurt before their meals twice a day. Their blood was tested 6 hours before and after each test meal.
The researchers found that eating the yogurt improved the men’s postprandial serum metabolomes.
Okay, that’s a mouthful I know. Remember, ‘postprandial’ means after a meal. ‘Serum’ relates to the core essence of the blood. And ‘metabolomes’ relates to the various metabolites that are existing in the bloodstream following a meal.
Anyway, the researchers found that the yogurt improved the post-meal metabolites among the men. They had improved levels of free amino acids, reduced bile acids, and improvements in their indole derivatives.
In other words, once again the fermented milk food improved the blood compounds after meals. This means that the yogurt improved the digestive process and helped control bad compounds from getting into the blood.
This relates directly to the first study discussed above – showing reduced inflammation following eating yogurt with a meal.
How does yogurt do this?
Okay, so yogurt is some kind of magical sauce, right? Well, not exactly. Yogurt is a fermented food, yes. It is chock full of probiotic bacteria. These probiotic bacteria are hungry. And they are used to taking care of their host. As I’ve discussed in my books, they help protect our bodies from invaders, and they help us digest our foods.
Remember that yogurt cow’s milk fermented with probiotic microbes (healthy gut bacteria). Hopefully we’re talking about happy cows. Organic milk cows are typically better taken care of, and have to be let outside to eat grass. Grass-fed cows are not only happier. They also produce better milk.
So organic yogurt is definitely better for us than conventional yogurt in terms of nutrition and happy cows. But it is the probiotics in the milk that help our gut digest our foods better. Probiotics also improve brain health. They also lower anxiety and depression.
These probiotics produce various enzymes that help break down a number of our foods. The probiotics also produce lactic acids that help manage the pH of our intestines.
They also fight off bad bacteria. This means a reduction a bad compounds because bad bacteria produce a number of endotoxins. This reduction in endotoxins is likely the precise relationship between yogurt and a reduction of inflammation.
This reality has been confirmed by numerous studies over the years. For example, a 2007 study tested 51 people. Of this group 30 consumed at least 200 grams of yogurt per day, while 21 of the people did not consume yogurt. The researchers tested their fecal samples (stool) and found that those who consumed the yogurt had significantly more populations of probiotic bacteria in their samples and significantly less Enterobacteria in their samples. Enterobacteria are pathogenic bacteria.
The researchers also found that those who did not consume yogurt daily had significantly greater levels of toxic byproducts of pathogenic bacteria. Meanwhile, yogurt consumers had more healthy gut enzymes such as beta-galactosidase. Greater beta-galactosidase levels have been linked with a lower risk of colon cancer in other research.
Because the endotoxins produced by bad bacteria in our gut will get into our bloodstream and produce an inflammatory response.
This is why the ancient Ayurvedic tradition advised people to eat yogurt with their meals for thousands of year. For this reason we find most Indian restaurants will serve a yogurt dish just prior or with most meals. Sometimes it will have little chunks of cucumber, rendering a sauce-like feel.
Definitely, consider adding some plain yogurt to your meals – before is preferable. As the research above shows, there is a definite benefit.
I don’t know about you, but I’m having some plain yogurt before dinner tonight.
Pei R, DiMarco DM, Putt KK, Martin DA, Gu Q, Chitchumroonchokchai C, White HM, Scarlett CO, Bruno RS, Bolling BW. Low-fat yogurt consumption reduces biomarkers of chronic inflammation and inhibits markers of endotoxin exposure in healthy premenopausal women: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2017 Dec;118(12):1043-1051. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517003038.
Burton KJ, Rosikiewicz M, Pimentel G, Bütikofer U, von Ah U, Voirol MJ, Croxatto A, Aeby S, Drai J, McTernan PG, Greub G, Pralong FP, Vergères G, Vionnet N. Probiotic yogurt reduce postprandial inflammation and both alter the gut microbiota of healthy, young men. Br J Nutr. 2017 May;117(9):1312-1322. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517000885.
Alvaro E, Andrieux C, Rochet V, Rigottier-Gois L, Lepercq P, Sutren M, Galan P, Duval Y, Juste C, Doré J. Composition and metabolism of the intestinal microbiota in consumers and non-consumers of yogurt. Br J Nutr. 2007 Jan;97(1):126-33.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.