If it isn’t already, your digestive health should be high up on your priority list. Unhealthy eating habits are linked to colorectal cancer, which is the third most common cancer among both women and men worldwide. Not only that, but a properly functioning digestive system affects our immune, heart, hormonal, and even mental health! Most recently, scientists have discovered a simple way that we can prevent disease and keep our tummies happy — eating yogurt.
Yogurt for the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer
In a 2020 review of studies published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers set out to determine if eating dairy yogurt could help prevent colorectal cancer. The scientists used data from two large studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which included 83,054 women and 43,269 men. The follow up took place between 26 and 32 years later.
During that time, 2,666 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed among the population. Participants also completed a food frequency questionnaire which told the researchers how much yogurt they consumed. According to the findings, consuming as little as one serving of yogurt per day was associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer — even decades later.
One thing that’s important to note is that when compared to those who didn’t eat yogurt, those who did were also more likely to report being physically active, taking multivitamins, consuming less alcohol, having a colonoscopy, and eating less red meat — all of which are said to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. That being said, yogurt is full of probiotics, a nutrient that protects the digestive tract and improves gut health.
Probiotics and Your Health
Health experts have long suggested that consuming probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, can benefit not only our digestive systems, but also our overall well-being. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that populate the gut and influence so many aspects of our health. On the other hand, consuming things like antibiotics, pesticides, preservatives, and other chemicals found in our foods can negatively impact the bacterial environment in our gut, which is why it’s so important to replenish them with probiotics.
A healthy microbiome complete with probiotic bacteria has been linked to improved brain health, a healthier nervous system, and even better immunity. When it comes to our digestion, probiotics can help treat digestive conditions like IBS and symptoms like constipation, intestinal inflammation, and diarrhea.
Consuming yogurt is one of the easiest ways to take care of your digestive system, so add a serving a day into your diet. Your tummy — and the rest of your body — will surely thank you!
This article was updated on Wednesday, October 5 at 11:30 a.m. EST. It was originally published on January 7, 2020.