Yogurt’s healthy benefits from head (to gut) to toe

481133924

If you haven’t figured out by now the amazing health benefits of yogurt, then you’re missing out on one of the best foods you can be eating.  This calcium-rich concoction loves your bones.  Yogurt loves them so much that a recent study clearly showed why we should be choosing yogurt regularly if we want to achieve and maintain strong bones.

Greek yogurt is especially beneficial as it has less sugar and more protein than regular yogurt. 

Study results on yogurt’s benefits to bones

A large observational study– the largest ever done on dairy intake and bone frailty measurements – surveyed over 4,000 Irish adults over the age of 60.  The focus was on investigating the association of the intake of yogurt on bone mineral density, bone biomarkers, and physical function in the study participants.

Results showed that women who consumed higher amounts of yogurt had increased hip and neck bone mineral density readings of 3.1 to 3.9% higher than women who had the lowest yogurt intake.   Men with higher yogurt consumptions had greater vitamin D concentrations when compared to men who did not eat yogurt.   Also found was for each unit increase in yogurt intake, women had a 31% reduced risk for osteopenia (low bone mineral density and considered a precursor to osteoporosis) and a 39% lower risk for the brittle bone disease of osteoporosis.  Men with high yogurt intakes had a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis. 

These findings coincide with the current USDA recommendations on the importance of dairy foods such as yogurt.  Yogurt offers a rich supply of calcium, protein and vitamin D.  Calcium and vitamin D in particular are crucial for maintaining healthy bone mass.  Calcium helps to solidify bone making it strong while vitamin D’s job is to support sufficient calcium levels in the blood making sure our bones absorb calcium. 

Other health benefits of yogurt

·      Good source of“good” bacteria

Not only is yogurt a best friend to your bones but it also loves your gut.  The “good bacteria” yogurt contains is what makes it a standout among foods in helping with the balance and diversity of bacteria in your intestines or gut.  Without a healthy balance of good bacteria from a probiotic food such as yogurt, too much bad bacteria can build up causing damage to the immune system.  The bacteria found in yogurt does its job by helping us digest our food, destroys harmful microorganisms, and even helps produce vitamins.  These beneficial bacteria can also boost your immune system and reduce stomach issues of diarrhea and pain.

·      Good source of protein

When it comes to protein content, Greek yogurt beats milk hands down.  Most Greek yogurt will have usually at least 8 grams up to 20 grams or more in a one cup serving compared to a glass of milk which as 8 grams of protein in one cup.  Protein has many functions in the body from building bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, hair, and blood.  As we age, an adequate protein intake becomes even more important in order to maintain muscle mass. 

·      Good source of vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is only found in food sources from animal origin making Greek yogurt a perfect choice.  This vitamin is necessary for forming red blood cells, for brain functioning and for DNA synthesis.  One serving of yogurt provides up to 21 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-12.  For vegetarians who avoid certain animal sources of B-12, Greek yogurt is an excellent meat-free alternative to add more in their diet.

·      Good source of potassium

One serving of Greek yogurt can have up to almost 7 percent of a person’s daily need for potassium.  This mineral helps lower blood pressure and balances out the sodium levels in the body. 

·      Good workout recovery food

For any athlete wanting that perfect post-workout food, Greek yogurt is your answer.  Not only can it tide a person over until their next meal but it contains the right balance of amino acids, the building blocks of protein necessary for regenerating muscle tissue and repairing fiber damage after a tough workout. 

In conclusion

Even though yogurt can and does offer good health benefits, not all yogurts are created equal.   Choose the majority of the time yogurt labeled “Greek.” Non-Greek yogurts tend to contain too much added sugar and not enough protein.  Look instead for Greek yogurts that have no more than 6 grams of sugar, at least 10 grams of protein and are flavored with fresh or dried fruit.