13 Health Benefits of Yogurt

Yogurt is a powerhouse of various vitamins and minerals that are also present in milk. Furthermore, yogurt is a good source of easily digestible proteins. Yogurt is beneficial for maintaining cholesterol levels in the body and preventing ailments like hypertension, while also boosting immunity. It is good for improving the strength of bones and teeth, aids in digestion, and is valuable in skin care.

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Grass-fed yogurt is a relatively new food in the U.S. marketplace, and grass feeding is a practice not yet familiar to all consumers. By definition, 100% grass-fed yogurt comes from cows who have grazed in pasture year-round rather than being fed a processed diet for much of their life. Grass feeding improves the quality of yogurt and makes the yogurt richer in omega-3 fats and CLA, a beneficial fatty acid named conjugated linoleic acid.

Health Benefits of Yogurt

The health benefits of yogurt are due to the fact that it is prepared from milk. It is often offered as a healthy dessert option and is used to flavour dishes in a number of Eastern cuisines. Regardless of how it is consumed, it retains the health benefits of milk in a low-fat form. It can also be consumed by lactose intolerant individuals who cannot normally digest milk.

An additional benefit of yogurt consumption is the presence of Lactobacillus, a helpful class of bacteria that ferments milk into yogurt and aids in the digestive process in the body. They also protect the gut from succumbing to infections by harmful bacteria.

1. Digestive Health Benefits

Yogurt is made by bacterial fermentation of milk, a process that may boost digestive health because it produces the same good bacteria found in the gut. Mayo Clinic reports that probiotics may help with digestion and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as diarrhea following treatment with antibiotics, which kill off both good and bad bacteria. According to a report in the November 2011 issue of “Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care,” most systematic reviews indicate that probiotics help irritable bowel symptoms, abdominal pain and gas, although the benefits may depend on the strain of probiotics.

2. Blood Sugar Benefits

The combination of strong protein content with live bacterial cultures makes yogurt a food with blood sugar benefits, even though it is a food lacking in fiber. Protein is an ideal nutrient for blood sugar support because it digests at a moderate rate and is associated with better regulation of appetite. As a good source of protein, yogurt makes sense as a food that would provide blood sugar benefits. While the lack of fiber might be expected to be a drawback for yogurt in its potential for supporting blood sugar, this lack of fiber appears to be offset by the presence of live bacteria in yogurt.

3. Yogurt Can Give You Flat Abs

People who ate that much — in conjunction with cutting their total calories — lost 22 percent more weight and 81 percent more belly fat than dieters who skipped the snack, according to research from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They also retained one-third more calorie-torching lean muscle mass, which can help you maintain weight loss. “Fat around your waist produces the hormone cortisol, which tells your body to accumulate even more belly flab,” says nutrition professor and lead study author Michael Zemel, PhD. When you eat yogurt, the calcium signals your fat cells to pump out less cortisol, making it easier for you to drop pounds, while the amino acids help burn fat.

4. Excellent Source of Protein

Plain yogurt contains around ten to fourteen grams of protein per eight ounces, which amounts to twenty percent of the daily protein requirement for most persons. In fact, eight ounces of yogurt that contains live and active cultures, contains 20 percent more protein than the same volume of milk (10 grams versus 8 grams). Besides being a rich source of proteins, the culturing of the milk proteins during fermentation makes these proteins easier to digest. For this reason, the proteins in yogurt are often called “predigested.”

5. Decreases Yeast Infections

Research has shown that eating eight ounces of yogurt that contains live and active cultures daily reduces the amount of yeast colonies in the vagina and decreases the incidence of vaginal yeast infections.

6. Helps You Smile

Despite its sugar content, yogurt doesn’t cause cavities. When scientists at Marmara University in Turkey tested low-fat, light, and fruit flavors, they found that none of them eroded tooth enamel, the main cause of decay. The lactic acid in yogurt appears to give your gums protection as well. People who eat at least two ounces a day have a 60 percent lower risk of acquiring severe periodontal disease than those who skip it.

7. A Workout Recovery Food

Greek yogurt can be a healthy and satisfying treat after a tough workout. Not only will it tide you over until your next meal, but it actually contains protein that can repair damage done by exercise.

Add a banana or some berries for a nutrition-packed post workout snack.

8. Face Saver

No need for pricey derm treatments to perfect your complexion. “Yogurt contains lactic acid, which is a component in some in-office chemical peels,” says dermatologist Hema Sundaram, MD. “It gently exfoliates the top layers of the epidermis, which can clear up blemishes and discolorations, and may even reduce fine wrinkles.”

9. Prevents High Blood Pressure

Every day 70 percent of us consume more than twice the recommended amount of salt; over time that can lead to hypertension and kidney and heart disease. The potassium in yogurt, almost 600 milligrams per eight ounces, may help flush some of the excess sodium out of your body. In fact, adults in a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition who ate the most low-fat dairy — two or more servings daily — were 54 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate the least.

10. Yogurt Keeps You Fit

Another benefit of Greek yogurt that is key both to weight loss and your overall health is its high calcium content. Calcium has been linked to regulation of the body’s cortisol output. Elevated levels of the hormone cortisol can cause the body to store fat, inhibiting weight loss or other health goals. By incorporating more calcium into your diet, you can partially limit fat production in the body.

11. Immune Support

According to NBCNews.com, the extra bacteria, or probiotics, added to yogurt have been shown to enhance immunity, perhaps by producing more infection-fighting white blood cells or antibodies in the gut. A number of human studies have found that Lactobacillus acidophilus, a strain of probiotics commonly added to yogurt, can benefit bacterial vaginosis, an infection of the vagina afflicting many women. However, MayoClinic.com notes that more studies are needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn. Still, it can’t hurt to eat yogurt regularly for its potential immune-boosting and infection-fighting properties, notes Reardon.

12. Packed with Vitamins

Forget about vitamin and mineral supplements. In addition to calcium and vitamin D, yogurt is an excellent source of potassium, zinc, phosphorus, riboflavin, iodine and Vitamin B12.

13. Cures Bad Breath

Yogurt is a natural cure for bad breath and has reduced halitosis by up to 80% in test subjects. Levels of plaque and gingivitis were also found to be lower among daily consumers of yogurt.