Yogurt is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.
It can be eaten as a snack or incorporated into different recipes, desserts, or smoothies.
Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. All of which have many health benefits.
This article will discuss what yogurt is and its many health benefits.
What is Yogurt and How Is It Made?
Yogurt originally began in Turkey as thick, tart milk. It's now found all over the world in every grocery store.
Though each region produces yogurt in different ways, the base is the same.
Fresh milk is stored in a container to which live cultures are added. It then thickens and develops a sour taste.
This fermentation process produces a substance known as lactic acid, which acts as a preservative, keeping the cultured milk product edible for an extended period.
The live cultures used to produce yogurt are called probiotics. They include Lactobacillus bulgaricus, streptococcus thermopiles, Bifidus, Lactobacillus casei, and Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Yogurt can be made from all types of milk.
When it's made from skim milk, it is considered fat-free. When made from whole milk, it becomes full-fat yogurt.
Plain yogurt without added colorants is white in color and tangy in flavor.
But most on the market contain artificial flavors and added sugar to give a sweeter taste and more appealing color.
This in turns makes yogurts less healthy.
For the most health benefits, stick with unsweetened plain yogurt.
The Health Benefits of Yogurt
1. Rich in Many Nutrients
Yogurt is rich in some very important vitamins and minerals.
It's well known for containing calcium, a necessary mineral for bone health. You can meet 49% of your daily calcium requirement in one cup of yogurt (1).
Minerals essential for managing blood pressure, bone health, metabolism can also be obtained through yogurt.
The only vitamin not contained naturally in yogurt is vitamin D.
But it's fortified.
Needless to say, eating yogurt regularly can boost your overall health.
2. Very High In Protein
Getting an adequate amount of protein in your diet is important for a number of reasons. Protein helps build and repair tissues in the body.
It's the main building block for muscles, skins, cartilage, and bones. It helps with metabolism, appetite suppression and signaling the feeling of fullness.
According to one study, those who ate a high-protein afternoon yogurt snack had better appetite control, satiety, and ate fewer calories at later meals, compared to other commonly-consumed, energy dense high-fat snacks (11).
This is important for those who are looking to reduce their calorie intake for better weight management. With the feeling of fullness, fewer calories are taken in.
With Greek yogurt, the results are even more prominent. It has shown remarkable results in appetite control.
3. High In Calcium
Yogurt is rich in calcium. One cup contains 49% of the daily value. In low-fat yogurt, it has as much as 50% of the daily value (10).
Calcium makes up much of your bones and teeth and plays an important role in heart health, muscle contraction, and nerve signaling (12).
The daily recommended intake of calcium is 1,000 mg per day for adults.
For women over 50 and men over 70, 1,200 mg a day is recommended. For children between 4-18 should get 1,300 mg daily (13).
Unfortunately, a majority of Americans don't get enough calcium (14).
Adding yogurt to your diet is one way to add calcium to your daily diet.
4. It May Help Against Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition that lower bone density and makes them prone to fracture (15).
While treatments like medications and weight training are often sought out, as easy as adding yogurt to your diet can help prevent osteoporosis.
Yogurt is nutrient dense. It contains calcium, phosphorus, and protein that build and support your bone health.
5. Aid Weight Loss and Weight Management
To lose weight you need to eat fewer calories than you consume. It's the basis of any weight loss plan.
Yogurt contains several properties that may help reduce your calorie intake and lose weight.
Yogurt is high both in protein and calcium, both of which influence your weight loss efforts.
Protein, in particular, is higher in thermic, needing greater energy to break down and diest. This naturally lowers your calorie intake.
High calcium foods like yogurt are also shown to increase body fat breakdown and preserve metabolism during dieting according to researchers at the University of Knoxville (16).
6. It May help Improve Your Digestive Health
Yogurt contains probiotics. They are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system.
They're also known to help with gastrointestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas (17).
Probiotics are additionally liked to the improved immune system as well as a reduced cancer risk.
To those with IBS, short for Irritable Bowel Syndrom, probiotics in yogurt can be hugely beneficial.
This is supported by one study on IBS patients (18).
Those who consumed yogurt or fermented milk with bifidobacteria content showed their bloating and stool frequency improved after a mere 3 weeks.
But do not get mistaken. Not all yogurt contains probiotics.
Look for the varieties that contain 1 million cultures a gram at a bare minimum for health benefits.
When To Avoid Eating Yogurt
Although yogurt offers many health benefits, it may not necessarily benefit yours.
For example, people with lactose intolerance or have a milk allergy have to be pretty cautious with their yogurt intake.
How to Pick The Healthiest Yogurt
Yogurt comes in many varieties. But when it comes to picking the best and healthiest yogurt for your health, always go for ones with minimal ingredients and without added sugar.
Full-fat yogurt contains more calories than low-fat, but that doesn't mean they are unhealthy. Just make sure to stick to with the recommended portion size.
Again you should also look for yogurts that contain live and active cultures to ensure you get your fix of healthy probiotics.
The bottom line is best yogurts for your health should contain fewer ingredients and have no added sugar. Also, pick ones that contain probiotics.
Different Types of Yogurt
Soy yogurt is a good alternative for vegans and vegetarians. It's made from soybeans, a legume that contains all the essential amino acids.
It provides healthy fats, calcium, and antioxidants such as isoflavones. It is also free of cholesterol and lactose. This makes soy yogurt a friendly choice for those who have a hard time digesting dairy products.
Yet, it also has a downside. Soy yogurt is lower in vitamin C.
Whipped yogurts are often high in sugar and contain fewer proteins than other types.
Yogurt drinks unless specifically stated on the label generally contain high amounts of sugar and low amounts of probiotics.
To Wrap Up
Yogurt is rich in many nutrients that may improve your health when eaten regularly.
It has been shown to benefit digestive health, boost the immune system, and help with weight management.
But like anything else, make sure to always pick plain, unsweetened ones that contain probiotics.
Do you eat yogurt for breakfast or snack?
Do you eat it with other superfoods like chia seeds and honey? We'd love to hear your favorite yogurt and how you eat it!
Leave us a comment below to let us know!