Health Benefits of Yogurt
Yogurt is a calcium powerhouse and a source of high-quality protein. Yogurt is nutrient rich because it is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for its calories!
The nutritional and caloric contents of yogurt are similar to those of the fluid milk from which it is made. So, it is an important source of calcium, protein, vitamins A, riboflavin, phosphorus and potassium. In fact, one serving of yogurt contains about as much potassium as a banana (around 400 mg).
Yogurt is a Healthy Choice
Yogurt is a unique food because it is a cultured milk product, made by adding certain "friendly" or “good” bacteria called probiotics to milk, skim milk, and/or cream to produce a thicker and more textured product. These “good” bacteria are live active cultures that are similar to the ones that already exist in the human digestive tract. They help maintain and restore the delicate balance of both "good" and "bad" bacteria necessary for a healthy digestive system.
Many yogurts are supplemented with these health-promoting probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria bifidus and Lactococcus paracasei.
Most of us have taken antibiotics and suffered side effects of diarrhea or intestinal pain and bloating. This is because some antibiotics upset the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract. Probiotics may help relieve these side effects by restoring balance in the gut.
Yogurt and Lactose Intolerance
People who are moderately lactose intolerant can enjoy yogurt. Yogurt contains lower amounts of lactose than milk because the lactose in the milk used to make yogurt is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial cultures. Various forms of lactic acid bacteria added when manufacturing yogurt, acidophilus milk and fermented milk products, such as kefir, can help lessen the effects of lactose intolerance.
One serving of yogurt is one eight-ounce cup or container. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals ages nine and older consume three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day.
Ways to Eat Yogurt
Yogurt is a fun food to eat. You can dip it, spread it, freeze it, add fruit to it or eat it plain. Here are some of the other ways you can enjoy yogurt:
- Make a breakfast parfait by layering yogurt, dry cereal or granola, and top with your favorite fruit
- Enjoy a mid-day snack by blending yogurt, fruit and ice to make a delicious smoothie
- Dip raw vegetables in plain yogurt
- Use yogurt for salad dressing and dips
- Serve plain yogurt on quesadillas, tacos, soups, and chili in place of sour cream
These days, with a wide range of yogurt flavors available and with texture options running from creamy custard-style confections to drinkable liquids you can enjoy yogurt for dessert or on the go.
Yogurt is also a very kid-friendly food. You can have children make fruit kebabs with vanilla yogurt dipping sauce for a quick and fun snack!
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