Yogurt is an ancient food, and has been around for 7,000 years. It is made in a variety of ways in India, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. You may have noticed that your local grocery store is full of a diverse selection of yogurts, including full-fat, low-fat, non-fat, Greek, drinkable Kefir, organic or even yogurts with added fiber.
Full-fat yogurt is made from whole milk and contains 3.25% milkfat, low-fat yogurt contains between 2 and 0.5% milkfat, and non-fat yogurt is made from skim milk and contains less than 0.5% milkfat. Greek yogurt has been strained to remove its whey, which results in a thick consistency, and about double the protein content compared to regular yogurt. Drinkable Kefir is a fermented milk with consistency and taste similar to a thin yogurt.
Whichever which type of yogurt you choose, look at the label to be sure it contains live and active cultures. These are good bacteria that transform liquid milk into yogurt and are beneficial for your gastrointestinal tract by promoting overall gut health and immunity. These live cultures help to digest lactose, so if you are lactose intolerant, yogurt may be a good option for you. Since yogurt is made from milk, it is also an important source of many nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, protein, potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins.
Yogurt has been found to have many health benefits in addition to gastrointestinal health. Because it contains calcium and vitamin D, it plays a role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. In addition, yogurt intake has also been liked in a reduction in the risk of high blood pressure. It may also be a good addition to your diet if you are trying to lose weight, since it has been shown to reduce hunger and help you to feel fuller.
Try some of these ideas to add yogurt to your diet:
• Make a breakfast parfait with fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola
• Top waffles or pancakes with yogurt and fresh fruit
• Blend yogurt, fruit, and flaxseed for a smoothie
• Dip raw vegetables in yogurt
• Use yogurt for salad dressing and dip
• Top quesadillas, tacos, soup, and chili with yogurt instead of sour cream