Yogurt is more than just an easy breakfast or midday snack. This dairy product provides countless benefits that range from improving gut health to supporting immunity to building muscle. And although yogurt may be delicious on its own, adding flavorful ingredients can turn it into a more well-balanced meal as well as contribute additional health benefits.
One of those benefits can be helping to reduce chronic inflammation—something that many people can benefit from. While acute inflammation naturally occurs after an injury or illness, chronic inflammation occurs when the body can't turn off its inflammatory pathways, which may be a side effect of excess alcohol consumption, being overweight, inadequate exercise, and stress. Chronic inflammation is long-lasting and can eventually lead to several diseases and conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and metabolic disorders.
If you want to reduce inflammation, there's no better time to start than first thing in the morning with your yogurt at breakfast. And according to Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT, author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook, The 7 Ingredient Healthy Pregnancy Cookbook, and Fueling Male Fertility, the best yogurt combination to reduce inflammation is adding wild blueberries and walnuts.
"It is no surprise that one of the most popular yogurt combos is also one of the best combos to manage inflammation," says Manaker. "Topping yogurt with wild blueberries (the tiny ones that are often found in the frozen foods section) and walnuts can give your dairy base a boost of nutrients, some of which have anti-inflammatory properties."
How blueberries and walnuts can help manage inflammation
According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, wild blueberries are a rich source of anthocyanins and other flavonoids with anti-inflammatory activities.
"These sweet fruits have no added sugar and offer a satisfying taste to any dish, including a yogurt-based one," says Manaker. "Wild blueberries have a higher concentration of the anthocyanin antioxidant versus conventional blueberries, allowing them to have a greater antioxidant capacity per serving."
When it comes to walnuts, Manaker suggests that they are the only tree nut that is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)- the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid.
"Data suggests that this fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties along with it being a source of plant-based protein and fiber," says Manaker.
Not only that, walnuts make for a rich source of anti-inflammatory vitamins and antioxidants. This includes vitamin E and other phytonutrients such as phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids.
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Although there are so many ways to eat yogurt to help with your health, you may want to consider this as the winning combination—especially, if you're thinking about how to help decrease inflammation.
"This combo will not only help your body combat inflammation, but it will also offer some seriously satisfying flavor with no added sugar needed," says Manaker.