7 impressive health benefits of yogurt

Yogurt has been consumed by humans for hundreds of years.

It is very nutritious and eating it regularly can improve several aspects of your health.

For example, yogurt has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as aid in weight control.

This article explores 7 health benefits backed by the science of yogurt.

What is yogurt and how is it made?

Yogurt is a popular dairy product made by the bacterial fermentation of milk.

The bacteria that are used to make yogurt are called "yogurt cultures", which ferment lactose, the natural sugar found in milk.

This process produces lactic acid, a substance that causes the proteins in milk to curdle, giving yogurt its unique flavor and texture.

Yogurt can be made from all types of milk. The varieties made with skim milk are considered fat-free, while those made with whole milk are considered full-fat.

Natural yogurt without added colorants is a thick, white liquid with an acidic taste.

Unfortunately, most commercial brands contain added ingredients, such as sugar and artificial flavors. These yogurts are not good for your health.

On the other hand, plain yogurt without sugar offers many health benefits.

So without further ado, here are 7 health benefits based on the science of natural yogurt.

1. It is rich in important nutrients

Yogurt contains some of almost all the nutrients your body needs.

It is known to contain a lot of calcium, a mineral necessary for healthy bones and teeth. A single cup provides 49% of your daily calcium needs (1, 2).

It also has a high content of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12 and riboflavin, which can protect against heart disease and certain congenital neural tube defects (2, 3, 4).

One cup also provides 38% of your daily need for phosphorus, 12% magnesium and 18% potassium. These minerals are essential for several biological processes, such as regulation of blood pressure, metabolism and bone health (2, 5, 6, 7).

A nutrient that yogurt does not contain naturally is vitamin D, but it is commonly fortified with it. Vitamin D promotes bone and immune system health and may reduce the risk of some diseases, such as heart disease and depression (8, 9, 10).

Summary: Yogurt provides almost all the nutrients your body needs. It is especially high in calcium, B vitamins and trace minerals.

2. It is high in proteins

Yogurt provides an impressive amount of protein, with approximately 12 grams per 7 ounces (200 grams) (2).

The protein has been shown to support metabolism by increasing energy expenditure or the amount of calories it burns throughout the day (11).

Getting enough protein is also important for appetite regulation, since it increases the production of hormones that indicate fullness. You can automatically reduce the amount of calories you consume in general, which is beneficial for weight control (11, 12, 13).

In one study, subjects who ate yogurt ate less hunger and consumed 100 fewer calories at dinner, compared to those who ate low-protein snacks with the same number of calories (14).

The effects that promote the fullness of yogurt are even more prominent if you eat Greek yogurt, which is a very thick variety that has strained. It is higher in protein than regular yogurt, and provides 22 grams per 7 ounces (200 grams) (15).

It has been shown that Greek yogurt influences the control of appetite and delays feelings of hunger more than normal yogurt with less protein (16).

Summary: Yogurt, especially the Greek variety, is very high in protein. The protein is useful for the control of appetite and weight.

3. Some varieties can benefit digestive health

Some types of yogurt contain live bacteria, or probiotics, that were part of the starter culture or were added after pasteurization.

These can benefit digestive health when consumed (17).

Unfortunately, many yogurts have been pasteurized, which is a heat treatment that kills the beneficial bacteria they contain.

To ensure that your yogurt contains effective probiotics, look for one that contains live and active cultures, which should appear on the label.

Some types of probiotics found in yogurt, such as Bifidobacteria Y Lactobacillus, it has been shown to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a common disorder affecting the colon (18, 19, 20, 21).

A study in which patients with IBS consumed fermented milk or yogurt that contained Bifidobacteria. After only three weeks, they reported improvements in swelling and frequency of bowel movements; the effects were also observed after six weeks (21).

Another study found that yogurt with Bifidobacteria improved digestive symptoms and quality of life related to health among women who did not have a diagnosed digestive condition (22).

In addition, several studies have found that probiotics can protect against diarrhea associated with antibiotics, as well as against constipation (23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28).

Summary: Some types of yogurt contain probiotics, which can improve digestive health by reducing the symptoms of common gastrointestinal disorders, such as bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

4. It can strengthen your immune system

The consumption of yogurt, especially if it contains probiotics, can strengthen your immune system and reduce the chances of getting a disease.

It has been shown that probiotics reduce inflammation, which is related to several medical conditions ranging from viral infections to intestinal disorders (29, 30, 31, 32).

Research shows that, in some cases, probiotics can also help reduce the incidence, duration, and severity of the common cold (33, 34, 35, 36, 37).

In addition, the improving properties of the immune system of yogurt are due in part to its magnesium, selenium and zinc, which are trace minerals known for the role they play in the health of the immune system (38, 39, 40).

Yogurt fortified with vitamin D can further improve immune health. Vitamin D has been studied for its potential to prevent diseases such as the common cold and the flu (9, 41, 42, 43).

Summary: Yogurt provides probiotics, vitamins and minerals, all of which can improve immune health and prevent certain diseases.

5. It can protect against osteoporosis

Yogurt contains some key nutrients to maintain bone health, such as calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus and, sometimes, vitamin D.

All these vitamins and minerals are especially useful to prevent osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakening of the bones. It is common in the elderly (44, 45, 46).

People with osteoporosis have a low bone density and have an increased risk of bone fractures (47, 48).

However, research shows that consuming at least three servings of dairy products, such as yogurt, daily can help preserve bone mass and strength (49, 50).

Summary: Yogurt is rich in vitamins and minerals that play a key role in bone health. Its regular consumption can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

6. Can benefit heart health

The fat content of yogurt is one of the reasons why your health is often controversial. It contains mainly saturated fat, with a small amount of monounsaturated fatty acids.

It was believed that saturated fat caused heart disease, but current research shows that this is not the case. However, non-fat and low-fat yogurt varieties are still popular in the US. UU (51, 52, 53).

There is no clear evidence that yogurt fat is harmful to health. In fact, it can benefit heart health (54, 55).

Some research shows that the intake of saturated fats from whole milk products increases "good" HDL cholesterol, which can protect heart health. Other studies have found that yogurt intake reduces the overall incidence of heart disease (55, 56, 57).

In addition, dairy products such as yogurt have been shown to help reduce high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. The effects appear to be more prominent in those who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure (58, 59, 60).

Summary: Regardless of its fat content, yogurt seems to benefit heart health by raising "good" HDL cholesterol and reducing blood pressure.

7. Can promote weight control

Yogurt has several properties that can help control weight.

For starters, it has a high protein content, which works together with calcium to increase levels of hormones that reduce appetite, such as peptide YY and GLP-1 (61).

In addition, several studies have found that yogurt consumption is associated with lower body weight, percentage of body fat and waist circumference (62).

One review found that the intake of whole milk products, including yogurt, can reduce the incidence of obesity. This is contrary to what was previously believed about fat intake and weight gain (63).

Other studies have found that those who eat yogurt tend to eat better in general, compared to those who do not eat it. This is partly due to its higher nutrient content, compared to its fairly low calorie content (64, 65).

Summary: Yogurt is rich in protein, which is very abundant and can improve your overall diet. Both aspects help control weight.

Yogurt may not be for everyone

Some people should be careful with their intake of yogurt, as it can cause adverse effects, especially in people with lactose intolerance or milk allergy.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks lactase, the enzyme needed to break down lactose, which is the sugar found in milk. It leads to various digestive symptoms, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, after consuming dairy products.

Therefore, people with lactose intolerance may need to avoid yogurt.

However, some people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate it. This is because part of the lactose is broken down during production, and probiotics can help with digestion (66).

If you are lactose intolerant, it can be a matter of trial and error to determine if eating yogurt works for you.

Milk allergy

Dairy products contain casein and whey, which are proteins to which some people are allergic. In these cases, milk triggers a reaction that can range from hives and swelling to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

For this reason, it is best to avoid yogurt if you are allergic to milk.

Added Sugar

Many types of yogurt contain high amounts of added sugar, especially those labeled as low in fat. Excessive consumption of sugar is associated with several health problems, such as diabetes and obesity (67, 68, 69).

Therefore, it is important to read food labels and avoid brands that contain sugar in the ingredients.

Summary: Yogurt can have adverse effects for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies. Many types also contain high amounts of added sugar, which can contribute to certain health conditions.

How to choose the best yogurt for your health

Less is more when it comes to choosing a healthy yogurt.

Simple varieties without sweeteners are the best, since they contain minimal ingredients without added sugars.

Whether you choose low-fat or fat-free yogurt, it's a personal choice.

High fat varieties contain more calories, but that does not mean they are not healthy. Just make sure you keep the recommended serving size.

You should also look for yogurt that contains live and active cultures to make sure you get your dose of probiotics that promote health.

Summary: The best yogurts for your health contain few ingredients and no added sugar. Point to a brand that contains probiotics.

The bottom line

Yogurt is rich in nutrients and can improve your health when consumed regularly.

It can help reduce the risk of some diseases, while also benefiting digestive health and weight control.

However, be sure to choose your yogurt wisely. To get maximum health benefits, choose simple, sugar-free varieties that contain probiotics.

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-benefits-of-yogurt


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