In previous blogs we talked about yogurt’s overall health benefits and especially yogurt’s benefits for individuals with specific health conditions. In this blog, we will concentrate on the amazing nutrients yogurt has that make it such a healthy addition to our diets. Yogurt (aka yoghurt) is a nutrient-dense food as it contains large quantity of nutrients essential for our health and has relatively low calorie content. Yogurt has high digestibility, bioavailability of nutrients and contains lactic acid bacteria, which may improve gut microbiota. Yogurt consumption has been associated with healthy eating and a quality diet.
In addition, yogurt consumers have a better intake of micro-nutrients even if yogurt is not a source of those nutrients including pantothenic acid, folic acid, copper, manganese and iron .
Yogurt intake is relatively low in US populations and efforts to increase consumption of yogurt among American adults as a component of an energy-balanced, healthy dietary pattern may serve as an effective dietary tool for management of weight gain and obesity prevention. Thus, taking into account the overall diet of each individual, consuming at least one serving of yogurt per day may help to increase the intake of many shortfall nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and potassium to meet dietary requirements.
Here is a summary of some of the essential nutrients yogurt has and how they benefit our health:
Probiotics is a very broad topic by itself, hence, we wrote an article just for the probiotic benefits on human health. Read More. The
main probiotics in yogurt are lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacterial. Probiotics are linked to:
- Enhanced immune system
- Lower cholesterol
- Vitamin synthesis bifidobacterial can synthesize
or make available many kinds of vitamins, including thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin D.
- Digestive well-being – Bifidobacterium promote
digestive well-being and lessens the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
- Protection against diarrhea – probiotics may help treat diarrhea caused by antibiotics
- Protection against constipation – regular
consumption of yogurt containing the Bifidobacterium may reduce constipation
- Improve lactose digestibility – probiotics
improve the digestion of lactose, lessening the symptoms of lactose intolerance
These health benefits may not always apply to yogurt, mainly because some types of yogurt have been heat-treated (pasteurized) after the probiotic bacteria were added. In heat-treated yogurts, the probiotic bacteria are dead and do not provide any health benefits. For this reason, it is best to choose yogurt with active or live cultures (read the lable or make yogurt yourself).
Everyone needs calcium especially women who are prone to osteoporosis. Calcium boost your teeth and bone health. Calcium absorption is favored in yogurt because lactose is converted to lactic acid, pH of the gut decreases and the calcium is absorbed better.
As fermented product from milk, yogurt contains abundant probiotics, whey and casein proteins and bioactive peptides. These national components may beneficially affect human gut microbiota that moderate energy homeostasis by fermenting indigestible polysaccharides to regulate energy extraction and uptake; or by producing stimulating or activating signaling molecules and hormones that are involved in human metabolism to modify gut function.
- Whey (water soluble milk protein) – Whey is about 20% of the proteins found in yogurt. It promotes weight loss and lower blood pressure
- Casein (water-insoluble mil protein) – About 80%
of proteins in yogurt is casein. It helps with minerals’ absorption such as calcium and phosphorous. Casein promotes lower blood pressure
- Bioavailable protein
- Amount of fat – The amount of fat in yogurt depends on the type of milk it is made from. Majority of the store-bought yogurt is either low-fat or fat-free. In our recipe post on how to make your own yogurt, you can actually make your own choice of fat (by using skim milk, 1% milk, 2% milk, whole milk, etc). Some research show benefits in whole milk not found in skim milk so I personally iterate the fat in milk when I make yogurt to strike a balance.
- Pentadecanoic acid – There is also limited evidence that another fatty acid unique to dairy and ruminant fat, pentadecanoic acid is associated with body weight and BMI.
- Trans Fat – the trans fats found in yogurt have actually positive health benefits (such as the conjugated linoleic acid) as opposed to the trans fats found in processed foods. The conjugated linoleic acid in dairy fats may help reduce body fat and increase lean body mass.
The majority of carbs in yogurt are simple sugars called lactose (milk sugar) and galactose. The lactose content of yogurt is lower than in milk because during fermentation the lactose is broken down. This is one of the reasons why lactose-intolerant individuals may benefit from trying to consume yogurt. When lactose is broken down, it forms galactose and glucose. The glucose is mostly converted to lactic acid. If you are buying a store-bought yogurt, there might be certain sweeteners added to yogurt along with other flavoring ingredients. If you are following our recipe on how to make yogurt, you will not have these extra sugars. Hence, we suggest to invest 5 minutes of your time to make your own yogurt and consume much healthier yogurt.
Other important yogurt nutrients are:
- Vitamin D – promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus hence helps with bone and teeth health. It also promotes the immune system
- Vitamin B12 – this vitamin is only found in foods of animal origin, so vegetarians could benefit from eating yogurt to ensure they are getting enough B-12. Vitamin B-12 helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA.
- Vitamin B6 – is essential for your metabolic processes, helps your nervous system, and support adrenal function
- Vitamin B2 – also known as Riboflavin – helps the body to convert food into fuel which produces energy. It also helps metabolize fats and protein
- Magnesium – it helps your bone structure
- Potassium – helps maintain good blood pressure
- Phosphorus – along with calcium it helps promote good bones and teeth healthy
- Iodine – reduces thyroid hormone and can kill fungus and bacteria
- Zinc – helps in boosting the immune system, treating the common cold and recurrent ear infections, and preventing lower respiratory infections
Our yogurt recipes
Here are some healthy recipes taken from our website to give you some ideas on ways to consume yogurt.
* Information and statements made by be Healthy be Happy are for education purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. be Healthy be Happy does not provide medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by be Healthy be Happy are not to replace conventional medical service. Any choices and decisions you are making are at your own risk. If you have a medical condition or health concern, contact your physician.