If you’re the grocery shopper in your house, it’s hard to ignore the growing section of yogurt in the dairy aisle. Growing in popularity, yogurt options have exploded in the last several years. Full of protein, calcium, and probiotics, yogurt represents an awesome superfood! We’ve heard about the health benefits of yogurt for years, but few people fully understand why this creamy snack is so good for us. Take a look at why yogurt is a great part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Calcium and Vitamin D
It’s no secret that calcium and Vitamin D play an extremely important role in bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. There is some research to support the theory that calcium is a key component in developing or maintaining bone mass and that Vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium by our bodies. The consumption of both nutrients together is believed to be beneficial to skeletal health. And, both of these nutrients can be found in many types of yogurts. As you know, yogurt is a dairy product and as such contains a significant amount of calcium. As with many dairy products, there are a lot of yogurts on the market that are fortified with Vitamin D. Yoplait prides itself on offering one of the highest daily value percentages of Vitamin D (20% DV) when compared to other yogurts (10% DV). Other yogurts fortified with Vitamin D include Breyers, Dannon, and Stoneyfield Farm.
Great Source of Protein
You may have noticed the recent push towards Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a thicker type yogurt and is often referred to as yogurt cheese. This yogurt starts the same as regular yogurt, but undergoes a process to strain and remove its way. Greek yogurt offers more protein than traditional yogurt as well as fewer carbohydrates. This makes it a great choice for vegetarians or individuals on a Mediterranean or low-carb diet. Traditional yogurt contains protein as well, just not as much as Greek yogurt. Protein is essential to our body’s ability to build muscle and burn fat. Traditional and Greek yogurt are great protein boosters!
Probiotics and Gut Health
Perhaps the biggest attraction to yogurt is for its profound ability to impact the health of our gut. The gut represents all of your gastrointestinal organs; colon, stomach, bowels, etc. The healthy functioning of the gut requires a delicate balance of good bacteria. There are a lot of elements that may impact the balance of bacteria in the gut; use of antibiotics, chronic illness, and a poor diet to name a few. When the bacteria flora in the gut becomes unbalanced the body can experience a host of negative symptoms; digestive issues, mental issues, vitamin deficiencies, immune deficiency and more. Yogurt with active cultures represents one way of adding good bacteria to the gut to support it’s healthy functioning.
One of the most popular yogurts known for its ability to balance the gut flora is Activia. Activia contains the bacteria Bifidus Regularis, which represents a probiotic beneficial to the gut. Research has shown this specific probiotic culture to be able to travel through the digestive track and help regulate the digestive system. On the contrary, Yoplait adds Lactobacillus acidophilus as an additional probiotic. Only yogurts containing active cultures will have the necessary probiotics to aid the digestive system.
Weight Loss and Satiety
Many people consider yogurt to be a “diet” food. Many brands of yogurt feature a “light” or “fit” offering that contains the same amount of protein but with fewer calories. These types of yogurts support weight loss because they keep people full longer. Contrarily, the full-fat yogurts contain protein but may also contain nearly double the amount of calories when compared to the light versions. If you’re looking to yogurt to help you lose weight, be sure to read the nutrition labels. It’s certainly not a magic fix to weight loss and should accompany a balanced diet and exercise program.
Yogurt represents a very nutritious snack and fits well as part of a well-balanced diet. Full of calcium and many yogurts fortified with Vitamin D provide great support for the body’s skeletal heath. High protein, particularly seen with Green yogurt, aids the body in the building of muscle and the burning of fat. High protein, low-calorie yogurts are a great option for individuals looking to lose weight while not feeling hungry all of the time. Yogurt with active cultures is extremely beneficial to the balancing of healthy bacteria in the digestive system. The digestive system is center to the body’s health; it is responsible for the absorption of essential nutrients. Yogurt supports a healthy digestive system. There are a lot of options on the market today and yogurt can be found in tons of different flavors. With the numerous health benefits and tasty options, yogurt should become a daily snack!