Let’s talk yogurt. There are a lot of varieties out there – Non-fat, low fat, full-fat, cream top, Greek, and more.
Yogurt is an ancient dairy product that’s enjoyed all over the world. It’s believed that the first yogurt may have been fermented by accident, perhaps by nomadic people carrying milk in goatskin sacks. Now, it’s made from adding the bacteria streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus balgaricus to milk and allowing it to ferment.
Yogurt has a ton of amazing health benefits:
- Because of the breakdown of the sugar lactose during the fermentation process, yogurt is easier to digest by some lactose intolerant individuals than other dairy products.
- Yogurt is high in protein, making it a great option for vegetarians seeking to meet their protein needs. It’s also high in calcium and vitamin D. A healthy diet includes calcium in order to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. Calcium is also required for good digestion.
- There is also evidence that regular consumption of yogurt can promote vaginal health by balancing pH. The bacteria in yogurt can help treat and prevent chronic yeast infections in women.
Plus, yogurt is yummy! It’s a healthy, very filling food and a staple for many health-conscious people.
But not every variety of yogurt on supermarket shelves can help you reap these health benefits.
If you’re looking for a yogurt with those helpful active bacteria, look for a statement on the label that the yogurt contains live and active cultures. Also, the names of the added bacteria will be included on the list of ingredients.
Greek yogurt can be great because it has a higher concentration of protein. However, watch out for yogurts labeled as “Greek-style.” These may simply be products that have been thickened to resemble Greek yogurt, without the additional health benefits.
Some low fat varieties of yogurt essentially have watered-down nutritional benefits and contain artificial sweeteners. And flavored yogurts are usually made with sugary jam rather than real fruit for a longer shelf life.
The best yogurt choice seems to be a full fat, plain yogurt that contains live cultures. It’s also possible to make your own yogurt at home. Plain yogurt can have a sour flavor but adding fresh or frozen fruit or honey can add some natural sweetness to the dairy product. Make a smoothie with yogurt and add flax seed for extra fiber or chia seeds for an energy boost. Eating high fiber cereal with yogurt is also a great, tasty breakfast option and yogurt can even be used as a healthy alternative to sour cream.