We all think of yogurt as a healthy food, but it may come as a surprise as to just how many health benefits this nutritious food can provide. Here are ten reasons why yogurt should be part of a healthy diet.
1. Good for strong bones
Yogurt is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, both of which are important to keep bones strong. For children and teenagers, yogurt can provide the calcium needed to build bones for the future and for adults it can help to prevent loss of bone density that occurs naturally with age.
A diet high in calcium can help to prevent osteoporosis, as well as fractures in later life.
2. A great source of protein
Yogurt is high in protein, which is an important part of a healthy diet. Protein is required to provide the body with the essential amino acids required to build muscle and other structures. For this reason it is an ideal snack for post workout recovery. (See also 10 healthy post workout snacks for 9 more great options)
Yogurt provides a good option as a protein alternative for those who do not eat meat.
3. Good for gut health
The ‘good’ bacteria found in yogurts which contain active cultures can help protect the gut in a variety of ways. By populating the gut with healthy bacteria, benefits can be seen for conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease or syndrome, pylori infection and even lactose intolerance.
Yogurt can also provide the good bacteria to repopulate the gut after a course of antibiotics that may have killed off the natural bacteria.
4. May reduce risk of high blood pressure
A study in university students in Spain found that low fat dairy intake was associated with lower incidence of high blood pressure. The study itself was done with milk; however, it seems likely that the same results will be seen with low fat yogurt.
5. May increase satiety
Due to its high protein content, yogurt is a great food to keep you fuller for longer. A 2006 study concluded that yogurt produced a greater satiety rating in participants than fruit or dairy based fruit drinks.
6. May help to prevent yeast infections
There has been some suggestion that consuming yogurt that contains the active strain of bacteria Lactobacillus may help to prevent the occurrence of vaginal yeast infection.
It should be noted that not all yogurt contains this particular active culture and more research is needed as to the most effective way to introduce lactobacillus into the body to reduce risk of infection.
7. Often tolerated in those with lactose intolerance
Although yogurt contains some lactose, it is often better tolerated by those with lactose intolerance than other dairy products such as milk. It is therefore a good way for some lactose intolerant individuals to obtain calcium, vitamin D and protein.
8. Possible anticancer properties
It has been suggested that yogurt consumption may be associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer, possibly due to an enhancement in immune response. There is also some suggestion that yogurt consumption may be associated with lower incidence of upper digestive tract cancer, although further research is required to investigate this.
9. Possible improvement in immune response
Studies into the effect of yogurt or its bacteria on the immune response have suggested a possible improvement or reduced risk in conditions ranging from colon cancer, asthma and gastro-intestinal disorders.
Although most studies to date have been carried out in animals and further research is required to validate the effectiveness in human beings, there is a possibility that consuming this food may be beneficial in improving immune response.
10. May help with weight loss
A 2011 study investigating the relationship between consumption of various foods and weight change over a four year period, found that yogurt was associated with weight loss over the period.
It is possible that this effect is due in part to the effect on satiety, but there is also a possibility that the active culture in yogurt and their effect on the gut may also play a part.
People who eat yogurt are also more likely to have healthier diets overall, according to another study done this year, so it is possible that this also has an effect on weight change over time.
References used in this article