The health benefits of yogurt.
From Greek to regular, plain to vanilla, single serving to family size tubs, a multitude of yogurt lines the shelves of your grocery’s dairy isle. The nutritious goodness found in yogurt is gaining popularity, and it’s largely because of its great taste and health benefits. As an added perk, yogurt works well as a convenient snack, a complement to a meal, or a fat substitute in your favorite recipe.
With all the yogurt love going around, it’s time you learned just what makes it so great.
Good For Your Gut
It may be unsettling to hear that bacteria live in your digestive tract. But take heart. Bacteria actual ensure your body maintains optimal functionality. These good microflora (bacteria in the intestines) work to keep a healthy balance of bacteria in your intestines, digest food, and support your immune system.
Many yogurts are made with live, active cultures of good bacteria. These yogurts are often labeled as containing probiotics, which means “for life.”
These active cultures help relieve gastrointestinal conditions such as lactose intolerance, diarrhea, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, and H. pylori infection. Eating yogurt following a stomach virus or a round of antibiotics will taste great and restore your gut’s natural balance.
To receive these great benefits make sure your yogurt contains active cultures and the label does not state that the yogurt was heat treated after culturing.
Supports Healthy Bones
Made from milk, yogurt is high in protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, many yogurts are fortified with vitamin D, which is necessary for strong bones. With that in mind, you can lower your risk of developing osteoporosis (a disease characterized by weak, fragile bones prone to breakage) by eating adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. How? By eating some yogurt every day.
Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Several studies have shown the benefit of yogurt extends beyond your colon and includes the health of your arteries and heart. Two to three serving of low-fat yogurt a day may lower high blood pressure, lessen the chances of thickening carotid arteries, and reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol.
What is it about yogurt that’s good for your heart? It’s filled with low-fat protein, rich in calcium, and high in B vitamins.
Lessens Frequency of Yeast Infections
If you suffer from vaginal yeast infections, try eating more yogurt. Commonly affecting diabetic women, yeast infections are remarkably frustrating – to say the least. The active cultures found in yogurt help to reduce the vaginal pH balance to a normal range and fend off those nasty infections that plague so many women.
Yogurt Buying Tips
With so many types of yogurt to choose from, how do you know which are the healthiest? Deciding between non-fat, low-fat, and whole-milk yogurt may be a matter of taste, sugar content, or calorie count.
The best way to hunt for yogurt is to find some that you like the taste of with the least amount of sugar possible. Plain yogurt doesn’t taste sweet, but it still has a small amount of natural sugar from the lactose found in milk.
Light yogurts contain artificial sweeteners. If you’re trying to avoid extra calories, light might be your best bet. But if you don’t care for the aftertaste or idea of artificial sweeteners, you may want to choose another type.
Greek yogurt is another healthy option, but make sure it’s filled with natural protein and not filled with cornstarch, milk protein concentrate, or gelatin.
And of course, get the most out of your yogurt by choosing those with live and active cultures as well as added vitamin D.
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