By Sangeeta Pradhan
Spring is here! Hooray! Finally after a prolonged winter, that much awaited season called spring has arrived in New England, ushered in by bright, yellow crocuses peeping through cool green fronds, and tulips nodding their pretty heads in the gentle breeze. The crisp, fresh air is filled with the woodsy fragrance of mulch and subtle scent of daffodils, making you want to linger outside and fully imbibe the awesome beauty of nature.
It’s these magnificent colors that inspired me to create a dessert that pops with color and flavor. This mango dessert reminds me of the vibrant yellow of daffodils, while the inspiration for using blueberries as a garnish came from the vivacious blue of mid-spring hyacinths and early spring crocuses.
The gut friendly yogurt ensures that this dessert is as wholesome and nutritious as it is delicious!! Finger-licking good, so make sure you make enough for second helpings!!!
Don’t forget to scroll down to my Registered Dietitian’s tip to get a preview of what makes yogurt so gut friendly and what makes the gut microbiome the latest and most intriguing frontier in medicine today!! Find out what all the fuss is about!!
Number of servings: 7-8.
- 2.5 cups mango pulp ( I used Deep Kesar mango pulp from my local Indian grocery)
- 2 cups full fat, organic yogurt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- pinch of brown sugar or to taste
- 1 cup boiling hot water
- 2 packets unflavored gelatin
For the garnish:
- 1 freshly peeled and sliced kiwi
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- Mint leaves, few sprigs
- Combine the mango pulp, yogurt, honey and brown sugar in a high speed blender until completely combined and smooth.
- Pour into a large bowl and set aside.
- Add the two packets of gelatin to the boiling hot water, stirring briskly until completely dissolved.
- Pour the dissolved gelatin into the yogurt-mango mixture from step 2 and stir to combine.
- Pour into dessert glasses and chill until set, about a couple of hours.
- Garnish if desired with mint leaves, sliced kiwi and fresh blueberries.
Registered Dietitian’s tip: Yogurt and other fermented products such as kefir are packed with beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus, or Bifidobacterium. These friendly bacteria act like the marines so to speak, helping protect your gut barrier and preventing harmful bacteria and their products from slipping across the gut wall into the sterile core of the body and the blood stream, where they could subsequently trigger inflammation, the basis of all chronic disease. What is interesting is that studies in mice models show that when these critters are fed a diet high in fat, the gut barrier protecting Bifidobacteria become “extinct” as it were, setting the stage for metabolic disorders and inflammation.
Evolutionary co-adaptation: In fact, our intestinal friends (consisting of a staggering 100 trillion cells), have co-evolved with us since the dawn of time, providing us not only with the enzymes to degrade complex carbohydrates, and extract vital amino acids and vitamins, but also modulate the immune response, and set the inflammatory tone in our bodies. When we harbor a thriving and diverse “microbiota” as it is now called, where beneficial bacteria predominate, out competing harmful bacteria, the mood shifts towards decreased inflammation in the body and improved health.
Fuel for friendly bacteria: Our modern world of manufactured foods, many of which are processed to the point where most, if not all life-giving nutrients are wiped out, do not allow our bacterial inhabitants to thrive and prosper. What does stimulate the growth of our microbial friends is the regular consumption of whole and unprocessed foods, rich in prebiotic fibers (onions, garlic, bananas, leeks, artichokes, etc), and fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir that can virtually “inoculate” your gut with a healthy dose of these invisible critters.
What’s safe? The most commonly consumed “probiotic bacteria” in products in the United States are strains of different species of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, as well as the yeast Sacccharomyces cerevesiae. Probiotics that contain these microbes as well as Streptococcus thermophilus have extensive safety profiles, and are thus considered safe for use in generally healthy populations. However, folks who are immunocompromised in any way, recovering from surgery, or who have compromised gut integrity should take probiotics only under the supervision of a health care provider.
Disclaimer: This blog is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your physician or registered dietitian for recommendations tailored to your specific needs.