There are different types of yogurt in the market, but one that has gained huge popularity in recent years is Greek yogurt.
What makes Greek yogurt different from other types of yogurt is its nutritional profile. It is full of protein, calcium, probiotics, vitamin B12 and potassium. Also, it contains less lactose than other dairy products.
During the process of making Greek yogurt, excess water, and lactose are drained out. This results in a creamy, rich yogurt with a nice tart taste.
Plus, the acidic property of this type of yogurt makes it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients.
Greek yogurt is also a versatile food that can be used in a number of ways. You can eat it on its own as a snack or top it with fruits and nuts of your choice. You can also use it as a substitute for mayonnaise or cream. Another option is to use it in smoothies or blended drinks.
You can eat 2 or 3 cups of nonfat Greek yogurt on a daily basis. No matter how you want to eat Greek yogurt, you’ll reap the benefits of its nutritional profile.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of Greek yogurt.
1. Improves Digestive Health
One of the main benefits of Greek yogurt is the probiotics it contains.
The digestive tract naturally contains different types of bacteria – some good and some bad. The good bacteria that you get from the probiotics in Greek yogurt help further increase the good bacteria in your gut and promote digestive health.
A high amount of friendly bacteria in the digestive system helps deal with different digestive problems, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
2. Maintains Bowel Regularity
The probiotics in Greek yogurt help move food through the gut and promote bowel regularity.
Moreover, Greek yogurt is an easily digestible food. Also, its nutritional profile helps with digestion of other foods. This is important for maintaining bowel regularity and preventing problems like constipation.
Irregular bowel movements can make the stools become dry and harder to pass. Also, it will leave behind toxins that may cause damage to both the bowel and the overall body over time.
3. Aids Weight Loss
Including nonfat Greek yogurt in your diet is a must if you are trying to lose some pounds.
Greek yogurt contains double the amount of protein than traditional yogurt. Because the body takes longer to digest protein, it can help make you feel and stay full for a longer time. This helps curb your appetite between regular meals, which is important when trying to lose weight.
A 2003 study by the University of Tennessee found that eating three servings of yogurt a day can increase fat loss. People who followed a high-calcium diet, which included three servings of yogurt, lost 22 percent more weight and 61 percent more body fat as compared to those who solely reduced calories.
Researchers also have found that an afternoon snack of Greek yogurt, containing 24 grams of protein, led to reduced hunger, increased fullness and delayed subsequent eating compared to lower protein snacks in healthy women, according to a 2013 study published in Appetite.
Plus, Greek yogurt has a good amount of calcium, which can limit fat production in the body. The iodine in Greek yogurt is important for proper thyroid functioning, which is essential for a healthy metabolism. Better metabolism facilitates weight loss.
4. Controls Blood Pressure
To keep your blood pressure under control, include a few cups of Greek yogurt in your diet. The potassium in it helps control blood pressure. Just 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt contains 240 mg of potassium.
Potassium relaxes and prevents constriction of blood vessels, which would otherwise cause blood pressure to rise. This mineral also balances out the negative effects of sodium.
The vitamin B12 in the yogurt helps your body produce red blood cells to help oxygen reach each and every part of your body, including the heart.
Also, Greek yogurt is an important source of calcium and magnesium, which is believed to help lower high blood pressure.
5. Keeps the Brain Healthy
Being a fermented food, Greek yogurt is also beneficial for your brain health.
The probiotics play a key role in maintaining a healthy balance between the gut and brain. The gut and brain are linked through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, where there are several neurons that are important for a healthy mind.
In a 2014 animal study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, researchers found that properly controlled fermentation may often amplify the specific nutrient and phytochemical content of foods that may be associated with mental health.
Also,the vitamin B12 in Greek yogurt allows brain cells to form new connections, a process that allows memory formation. Vitamin B12 is a vital component of myelin, the coating that protects many brain cells.
Furthermore, eating fermented foods may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Fights Depression
Good microbes living in your intestines may influence your mood and anxiety level. In fact, eating Geek yogurt on a daily basis gives a boost to the good microbes in your intestines. This can help fight depression and improve your mood.
A recent 2017 study published in Scientific Reports found that probiotic bacteria found in yogurt with live cultures can reverse depression symptoms in mice.
Apart from probiotics, the potassium in Greek yogurt helps maintain the electrical conductivity of the brain and nerve transmissions. It also helps in transporting serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness.
7. Supports Bone Health
When it comes to bone health, Greek yogurt is very beneficial.
Greek yogurt contains important nutrients like calcium, which is important for building and maintaining strong bones and muscles. Without enough calcium, bones may become weak and the risk increases for osteoporosis, a progressive disease in which the bones weaken and become vulnerable to fractures.
Just one serving of Greek yogurt has 18.7 percent of your daily requirement for calcium.
Apart from calcium, it also has magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and protein, which work together to promote strong, healthy bones.
Additionally, the vitamin D and live active cultures in Greek yogurt strengthen bones and increase bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis.
8. Maintains Oral Health
Greek yogurt can help you keep your beautiful smile by improving your oral health.
The probiotics in Greek yogurt protect against cavities. The good bacteria help control the growth of “unfriendly” bacteria in the mouth that can cause several oral problems as well as bad breath.
It also balances your mouth’s pH levels, thus creating a less accommodating environment for bacteria to grow and flourish.
Plus, Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and protein, two important nutrients that promote oral health.
9. Boosts Immunity
A healthy immunity is a must if you want to live a disease-free life. To boost your immunity, start eating Greek yogurt.
Yogurt with live cultures can lead to higher levels of immunity-boosting cells. The healthy bacteria in the yogurt signal the immune-boosting cells in your body to power up and fight off harmful germs.
The good microbes also help the body absorb nutrients properly and make the digestive system strong. These two factors are important in boosting the immune system.
Also, Greek yogurt provides nutrients including protein, calcium, iodine and potassium that are important for keeping your body healthy.
10. Maintains Urogenital Health
Like the digestive tract, the urogenital tract needs a balanced bacterial environment. The probiotics in Greek yogurt can boost the growth of good bacteria in the urogenital tract. This in turn can prevent or treat several conditions like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
A 2006 study published in Drugs analyzed several studies and concluded that probiotics can be beneficial for preventing recurrent UTIs in women. However, further research is needed to confirm these results.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Mid-Life Health reports that probiotics must not be considered a panacea for treating urogenital infections. However, it can improve and maintain urogenital health.