Learn about the health benefits of yogurt and how to choose among the many options in the grocery stores.
Yogurt is a calcium powerhouse and a source of high-quality protein. Yogurt is nutrient rich because it is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for its calories! The benefit of eating yogurt is improved health. Yogurt contains healthy bacteria, known as probiotics, that help keep your digestive and immune systems functioning well. It is also a good source of protein and nutrients important for bone health.
Yogurt is a cultured milk product that is soured and thickened by the action of specific lactic acid-producing cultures added to milk. The lactic acid produced by the culture coagulates the milk protein, thickening the milk and adding the characteristic sour flavor.
Why is yoghurt good for you?
The health benefits of the lactic bacteria in yoghurt are well known. These include immune system support; less constipation, stomach acidity and diarrhoea; lower body fat; protection against food poisoning bugs; stronger bones and fresher breath. A highly nutritious food, providing appetite-satisfying protein, and a clutch of vitamins and minerals, unsweetened yoghurt makes an extremely healthy snack. Don’t pour off the whey liquid that separates from the milk solids – it’s full of protein. Organic milk is more nutritious than the non-organic equivalent.
Prevent high blood pressure
Every day 70 percent of us consume more than twice the recommended amount of salt; over time that can lead to hypertension and kidney and heart disease. The potassium in yogurt, almost 600 milligrams per eight ounces, may help flush some of the excess sodium out of your body. Who ate the most low-fat dairy two or more servings daily, were 54 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate the least.
Probiotics may help treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with antibiotics; irritable bowel syndrome; and certain intestinal infections. Babies and toddlers fed yogurt instead of milk had less diarrhea than the children given milk. Lactobacillus acidophilus, a type of good bacteria found in some yogurts, may be particularly beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome.
Easier to digest than milk
Many people who cannot tolerate milk, either because of a protein allergy or lactose intolerance, can enjoy yogurt. The culturing process makes yogurt more digestible than milk. The live active cultures create lactase, the enzyme lactose-intolerant people lack, and another enzyme contained in some yogurts (beta-galactosidase) also helps improve lactose absorption in lactase-deficient persons.
Yogurt can be an excellent source of protein, but one variety may contain more than double the protein of another. Greek yogurt, which is strained to make it thicker, has up to 20 grams of protein per container; traditional yogurt may have as few as five grams. If you’re eating it for the protein, look for brands that provide at least eight to 10 grams per serving.
Yogurt may speed weight loss due to its low calorie content and fat-burning properties. Obese people in the study who ate yogurt as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost more body fat and retained more lean tissue than those who didn’t eat yogurt. The yogurt eaters also lost 81 percent more weight in their midsections. The weight loss could be due to calcium, which increases fat breakdown when yogurt is included in a reduced-calorie diet.
Yogurt can boost immunity
Researchers who studied 68 people who ate two cups of live-culture yogurt daily for three months found that these persons produced higher levels of immunity boosting interferon. The bacterial cultures in yogurt have also been shown to stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the bloodstream. Some studies have shown yogurt cultures to contain a factor that has anti-tumor effects in experimental animals.
Yogurt can lower cholesterol
There are a few studies that have shown that yogurt can reduce the blood cholesterol. This may be because the live cultures in yogurt can assimilate the cholesterol or because yogurt binds bile acids, (which has also been shown to lower cholesterol), or both.