Probiotics are an important part of a good diet. Probiotics are healthy bacteria or healthy “flora” that are very similar to the good bacteria in our own gut. This good bacteria balances and wards off the growth of harmful bacteria, like candida, and helps support the immune system. While you can take a probiotic supplement, fermented foods have probiotics too.

The most common food  advertised for its healthy probiotic cultures is yogurt Рwhich does in fact have naturally occurring cultures that are good for digestion and regularity. But where yogurt is concerned, you must read the ingredients.

Reading, “sugar, sugar, sugar, preservative, red dye” is not a good choice! Here’s an example list of ingredients from the yogurt brand I used to eat every day during my younger years – I’ve sensed learned better!

Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Non-Fat Fat Milk, Blueberries, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Cornstarch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Kosher Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Tricalcium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Aspartame, Potassium Sorbate added to maintain freshness, RED #40, Vitamin A Acetate, BLUE #1, Vitamin D3.

I don’t know about you, but the HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), genetically modified ingredients, chemically created sweeteners, dyes, etc… are not ingredients I want in my breakfast. Especially not when I’m trying to be “healthy.”

To get your healthy yogurt fix, try a whole-fat, plain, organic yogurt. My picks are Seven Stars Farm or Hawthrone Valley. Even better if you can get it from a local farmer with grass fed cows!

If you want to make your yogurt sweet, add some maple syrup, fresh fruit, or stevia to it. You can even make your own “fruit on the bottom” by defrosting some frozen berries and lightly pulsing in a food processor with a little honey (optional).

You can also make a savory yogurt, perfect for veggie dipping. I love a combination of basil and walnuts for a tasty “pesto yogurt.”

Vegans can opt for fermented coconut yogurt as a great way to promote good digestion while enjoying the smooth creaminess.

Yogurt and dairy can be heavy for certain people. Experiment with dairy and see if it’s right for you. My body does not react well to milk, but with the natural cultures of yogurt, kefir, or cottage cheese, I don’t have negative reactions. However, I know quality is key. Also time of day can be an important factor. So see what works for you and respect your bioindividualit.