We know beneficial bacteria lives all throughout our bodies, but the gut bacteria plays a crucial role in our health. The gut flora, also called the microbiome, is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. Recent research has shown that a healthy and balanced gut microbiome may play a role in reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system.

On the other hand, bad bacteria can promote inflammation that has been linked to autoimmune diseases. When an unbalanced gut flora is present it could possibly contribute to a wide range of diseases and conditions including allergies, diabetes, celiac, asthma, obesity, arthritis, irritable bowel disease, cancer, autism and even mental and psychological conditions. There is a clear connection to a healthy gut and overall physical and mental health.

So, what causes the gut flora to become unbalanced? A diet high in processed foods and excessive sugars, pesticide residues and even early exposure to antibiotics could alter the microbiome. To ensure a healthy, happy gut you should focus on unprocessed foods, watch your sugar intake, eat plenty of greens and add fermented foods into your diet. The live bacteria found in fermented foods and yogurt is key to keeping your gut healthy and balanced.

Yogurt with live cultures is a great way to ensure probiotics are making their way into your digestive tract. This layered yogurt parfait can easily be made ahead of time and would make a perfect breakfast option or afternoon snack.

Make Ahead Yogurt Parfaits with Blueberries and Strawberries
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups organic vanilla yogurt
  • ¼ cup strawberry fruit spread or jam
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Place two cups yogurt into a bowl. Add strawberry spread and lemon juice, whisk to combine.
  2. Distribute the blueberries into four small glass jars.
  3. Next add three spoonsful of vanilla yogurt into each jar.
  4. Sprinkle with almond slivers and strawberries.
  5. Add three spoonsful of the yogurt strawberry spread mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with almond slivers and strawberries.
  7. Add another layer of vanilla yogurt and top with strawberries and almonds.
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About the Author

Elizabeth Jacob

Elizabeth Jacob is a freelance writer who has found a passion for cooking and photographing her way through the kitchen. After her nine-year-old son’s diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease and several struggles with doctors, she decided to fight his battle with dietary changes and clean eating. With her love of good food, learned photography skills and background in creative writing, she documents their journey on her lifestyle blog. You can also follow along on her Instagram accounts @KicknCrohns and @ElizabethMJacob, Facebook and Twitter.