Yaogurts are ''probiotics.'' Probiotic, which literally means ''for life,'' refers to living organisms that can result in a health benefit when eaten in adequate amounts.
And let us not forget that yogurt comes from milk. So yogurt eaters will also get a dose of animal protein (about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving), plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium, and magnesium.
In fact, the health benefits of yogurt are so impressive that many health-conscious people make it a daily habit. Here are five possible health benefits of having a yogurt a day:
Benefit No. 1:
Yogurt May Help Prevent Osteoporosis.
Adequate nutrition plays a major role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and the micronutrients of greatest importance are calcium and vitamin D, Calcium has been shown to have beneficial effects on bone mass in people of all ages, although the results are not always consistent, ''The combination of calcium and vitamin D has a clear skeletal benefit, provided the dose of vitamin D is sufficiently high,
And what qualifies as ''sufficiently high?''
Currently, 400 IU per day is considered an adequate intake of vitamin D for people ages 51-70, This amount is likely to be sufficient for most young adults for skeletal health, although many would argue that for overall health, more than the 400 IU may be required, even at these younger ages,older people specifically can benefit from more vitamin D.
Benefit No. 2:
Yogurt May Reduce the Risk of High Blood Pressure.
Dairy intake and risk of high blood pressure.
There is a 50% reduction in the risk of developing high blood pressure among people eating 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy a day (or more), compared with those without any intake, Although most of the low-fat dairy consumed by a study subjects was as milk, low-fat yogurt would likely have the same effect
Benefit No. 3:
Yogurt With Active Cultures Helps the Gut.
Yogurt with active cultures may help certain gastrointestinal conditions, including:
Inflammatory bowel disease
H. pylori infection
The benefits are thought to be due to:
Changes in the microflora of the gut
The time food takes to go through the bowel
Enhancement of the body's immune system
A recent Taiwanese study looked at the effects of yogurt containing lactobacillus and bifidobacterium on 138 people with persistent H. pylori infections.The researchers found that the yogurt improved the efficacy of four-drug therapy.
H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can cause infection in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine. It can lead to ulcers and can increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Benefit No. 4:
Yogurt With Active Cultures May Discourage Vaginal Infections.
Candida or "yeast" vaginal infections are a common problem for women with diabetes. In a small study, seven diabetic women with chronic Candidal vaginitis consumed 6 ounces of frozen aspartame-sweetened yogurt per day (with or without active cultures).
Even though most of the women had poor blood sugar control throughout the study, the vaginal pH (measure of acidity or basicity) of the group eating yogurt with active cultures dropped from 6.0 to 4.0 (normal pH is 4.0-4.5). These women also reported a decrease in Candida infections. The women eating the yogurt without active cultures remained at pH 6.0.
Benefit No. 5:
Yogurt May Help You Feel Fuller.
A study from the University of Washington in Seattle tested hunger, fullness, and calories eaten at the next meal on 16 men and 16 women who had a 200-calorie snack. The snack was either:
Semisolid yogurt containing pieces of peach and eaten with a spoon
The same yogurt in drinkable form
A peach-flavored dairy beverage
Although those who had the yogurt snacks did not eat fewer calories at the next meal, both types of yogurt resulted in lower hunger ratings and higher fullness ratings than either of the other snacks.
Make Yogurt Part of the Perfect Snack.
Make the perfect snack by pairing high-protein yogurt with a high-fiber food like fruit (fresh or frozen) and/or a high-fiber breakfast cereal. You can find many lower-sugar breakfast cereals with 4 or more grams of fiber per serving.
Make your smoothie creamy and thick by adding yogurt instead of ice cream or frozen yogurt. Cup for cup, light and low-fat yogurt is higher in protein and calcium than light ice cream. It's also usually lower in fat, saturated fat, and calories.
Customize Your Yogurt.
If you want to create your own flavored yogurt, start with your favorite plain yogurt and stir in all sorts of foods and flavors. Here are a few ideas:
Add chopped strawberries (1/4 cup) and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract to 6 ounces of plain yogurt to make Strawberries and Cream Yogurt.
Add canned crushed pineapple (1/8 cup) and a tablespoon of flaked or shredded coconut to 6 ounces of plain yogurt to make Pina Colada Yogurt.
Add 1 tablespoon of cool espresso or extra-strong coffee and 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup to 6 ounces of plain yogurt to make Mochaccino Yogurt.
Add 1/4 cup chopped orange segments or mandarin oranges and 1 tablespoon reduced-sugar orange marmalade to 6 ounces of plain yogurt to make Orange Burst Yogurt.
Eat Yogurt at Work.
Buy some yogurt and keep it in the office refrigerator (don’t forget to put your name on it). On those days when you need a morning or afternoon snack, that yogurt will be ready for you.
Use Yogurt in Recipes.
Yogurt works as a substitute ingredient in all sorts of recipes. Plain yogurt can take the place of sour cream in a pinch (over baked potatoes or garnishing enchiladas). You can also substitute a complementary flavor of yogurt for some of the oil or butter called for in a muffin, brownie, or cake recipe. It can replace all of the fat called for in cake mixes, too.