Yogurt is showing up everywhere and in all sorts of varieties: low-fat, fiber-enriched, Greek-strained, and even cultured from almond, coconut and goat milk for those sensitive to lactose. Yogurt’s main claim to fame is its gut-friendly bacteria, known as probiotics, which aid digestion and boast a slew of health benefits. New research shows it could also help lower cholesterol.
A new study from McGill University in Canada had more than 100 people with high cholesterol eat two servings of probiotics a day. Nine weeks later, their L-D-L or “bad” cholesterol levels were 12 percent lower than those who took the placebo. Total cholesterol dropped 9 percent while H-D-L or “good” cholesterol and blood triglycerides were unchanged. The yummy yogurt also reduced cholesterol esters by 6 percent. Cholesterol esters are a derivative of cholesterol itself but are still considered a type of fat.
So how does strained dairy impact cholesterol? Scientists believe the bacterium lactobacillus can lower cholesterol levels by breaking up molecules known as bile salts, thereby reducing absorption of cholesterol in the gut. And all it took was 200 milligrams a day, much less than the amount of soluble fiber or other supplements required to achieve the same effect.
Unpasteurized sauerkraut and Korean kimchi, which are fermented vegetables, also contain probiotics along with a slew of immunity-boosting vitamins. Miso soup, made from fermented soybean pastes, is packed with probiotics, too, and can take a bite out of appetite. Soft cheese, sourdough bread, buttermilk, tempeh and sour pickles also pack a punch. Kefir (kuh-FEAR) and acidophilus are drinkable forms of the fermented fat-fighter. However and whatever you eat, be sure to pick probiotics to cut cholesterol.