Health Benefits Of Yogurt: Eating 1 cup of yogurt can provide almost half of your daily calcium needs. It also contains other vital nutrients. Humans have consumed yogurt for hundreds of years. It’s very nutritious, and eating it regularly may boost several aspects of your health. For example, yogurt has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as aid in weight management.
What is yogurt and how is it made?
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Yogurt is a popular dairy product made by the bacterial fermentation of milk.
The bacteria used to make yogurt are called “yogurt cultures,” which ferment lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. This process produces lactic acid, a substance that causes milk proteins to curdle, giving yogurt its unique flavor and texture.
Yogurt can be made from all types of milk. Varieties made from skim milk are considered fat-free, whereas whole milk options are considered full fat.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Plain yogurt without added colorants is a white, thick liquid with a tangy flavor. However, most commercial brands contain added ingredients, such as sugar and artificial flavors.
Here are six science-based health benefits of natural yogurt.
1. It’s rich in important nutrients
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Yogurt contains some of nearly every nutrient that your body needs.
It’s known for containing a lot of calcium, a mineral necessary for healthy teeth and bones. Just one cup provides 49% of your daily calcium needs.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, It’s also high in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12 and riboflavin, both of which may protect against heart disease and certain neural tube birth defects.
One cup also provides 28% of your daily phosphorus, 10% for magnesium, and 12% for potassium. These minerals are essential for several biological processes, such as regulating blood pressure, metabolism, and bone health.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, One nutrient that yogurt does not contain naturally is vitamin D, but it’s commonly fortified with it. Vitamin D promotes bone and immune system health and may reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart disease and depression.
2. It’s high in protein
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Yogurt provides an impressive amount of protein, with about 12 grams per 8 ounces.
Protein is shown to support metabolism by increasing your energy expenditure, or the number of calories that you burn throughout the day.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Getting enough protein is also important for appetite regulation, as it increases the production of hormones that signal fullness. It may help reduce the number of calories you consume overall, which is beneficial for weight management.
In one 2014 study, participants who snacked on yogurt were less hungry and consumed 100 fewer calories at dinner than those who ate lower-protein snacks with the same calories.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Yogurt’s fullness-promoting effects are even more prominent if you eat Greek yogurt, a very thick variety that has been strained. It’s higher in protein than regular yogurt, providing 20 grams per 7 ounces (200 grams).
Greek yogurt can potentially influence appetite management and delay feelings of hunger more than other dairy products such as whole or skim milk.
3. Some varieties may benefit digestive health
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Some types of yogurt contain live bacteria, or probiotics, that were either a part of the starter culture or added after pasteurization. These may benefit digestive health when consumed.
Many yogurts have been pasteurized, which is a heat treatment that kills the beneficial bacteria they contain. Even some yogurt varieties that are labeled as containing “live, active cultures” often have some probiotic loss due to varying storage temperatures and other factors. Despite this, your best bet for the most effective probiotics is still to check the label and look for one that contains live, active cultures.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Some types of probiotics found in yogurts, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, have been shown to lessen the uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common disorder that affects the colon.
One systematic review looked into multiple studies where people with IBS regularly consumed fermented milk or yogurt that contained Bifidobacteria. After 2 to 8 weeks, they found that 50% of the studies on the subject showed a significant improvement in symptomatic abdominal pain associated with IBS.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Another study found that yogurt with Bifidobacteria improved digestive symptoms and health-related quality of life among women who experienced minor digestive symptoms.
Furthermore, several studies have found that probiotics may protect against antibiotic-associated diarrhea and constipation.
4. It may strengthen your immune system
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Consuming yogurt — especially if it contains probiotics — regularly may strengthen your immune system and reduce your likelihood of contracting disease-causing agents.
Probiotics are known to potentially reduce inflammation, which is linked to several health conditions ranging from viral infections to gut disorders
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Research shows that in some instances, probiotics may also help reduce the incidence, duration, and severity of the common cold.
Moreover, the immune-enhancing properties of yogurt are partly due to its magnesium, selenium, and zinc, which trace minerals are known for the role they play in immune system health.
Vitamin D–fortified yogurts may boost immune health even further. Vitamin D has been studied for its potential to prevent illnesses such as the common cold and flu.
5. It may benefit heart health
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Yogurt’s fat content is one of the reasons why its healthiness is often controversial. It contains mostly saturated fat, with a small amount of monounsaturated fatty acids.
Previously, saturated fat was believed to cause heart disease, but current research shows that it’s more complicated. Nevertheless, fat-free and low fat varieties of yogurt are still popular in the United States.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, When discussing the healthiness of saturated fat, it’s important to keep in mind where it’s coming from or what types of fats are replacing it.
A diet containing saturated fats from full fat dairy products, such as yogurt, will not yield the same results as saturated fats from processed fast food. There is a lack of clear evidence that the fat in yogurt is harmful to your health. In fact, it may benefit heart health in some ways, though more research is needed.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Some research shows that the intake of saturated fat from whole milk products increases HDL (good) cholesterol, which may protect heart health. Other studies have found yogurt intake to reduce the overall incidence of heart disease.
Furthermore, dairy products like yogurt can help reduce high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. The effects seem to be most prominent in those already diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Yogurt may not be for everyone
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Some people need to be cautious with their yogurt intake, as it may cause adverse effects, especially in those with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks lactase, the enzyme needed to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk. After consuming milk products, it leads to various digestive symptoms, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Therefore, those with lactose intolerance may need to avoid yogurt.
However, some people who are lactose intolerant may be able to tolerate it. Some of the lactose breaks down during production, and probiotics may assist with its digestion.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, If you are lactose intolerant, it may be a matter of trial and error to determine if eating yogurt works for you.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Milk products contain casein and whey, which are proteins that some people are allergic to. In these cases, milk triggers a reaction ranging from hives and swelling to life threatening anaphylaxis.
For this reason, it’s best to avoid yogurt if you have a milk allergy.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Many types of yogurt contain high amounts of added sugar, especially those labeled as low fat. Excess sugar intake is associated with several health problems, including diabetes and obesity.
Therefore, it’s important to read food labels and note when added sugar is listed in the ingredients.
How to choose the best yogurt for your health
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Plain, unsweetened varieties are a good choice since they contain minimal ingredients without any added sugar. They can be mixed with other nutrient-dense add-ins like nuts, seeds, and fruit.
Whether you choose low or full fat yogurt is a personal choice. Full-fat varieties may contain more calories, but they are rich in nutrients and can be more satisfying both for taste and hunger.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Also, look for yogurts that contain live and active cultures to ensure you get your fix of health-promoting probiotics.
The bottom line
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, Yogurt is rich in nutrients and may boost your health when consumed regularly. It also may help reduce the risk of some diseases while also benefiting digestive health and weight management.
Health Benefits Of Yogurt, However, make sure to choose your yogurt wisely. For maximum health benefits, choose plain, unsweetened varieties that contain probiotics.