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Is Yogurt Good For You?
Despite the hype around “giving up dairy”, the truth is that the right yogurt is extremely good for you and you shouldn’t leave it out of your diet.
There are many health benefits from reduction of your risk of certain types of colon cancer, to a stronger immune system and much more. And besides, it tastes great!
If you’re wondering “is yogurt good for you?”, here are 6 things you should know:
1. Yogurt Can Improve Your Immune System
Certain yogurts are rich in the good bacteria that benefits your bodies’ systems – these helpful bacteria are known as “probiotics”. Researchers have found that people eating probiotic yogurt regularly for 3 months had a higher ability to fight off infection. Studies have shown that the healthy bacterial cultures present in yogurt can stimulate white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infection.
2. Yogurt Is Easier To Digest Than Milk
A lot of people who can’t handle milk because of lactose intolerance or a protein allergy have no problem enjoying yogurt. That’s because the culturing process used to create yogurt from milk makes it more easily digestible by partially digesting the milk casein protein. The live bacterial cultures in yogurt also helps produce lactase, which is actually an enzyme that lactose-intolerant people are lacking. Some yogurts also contain an additional enzyme, known as beta-galactosidase, which can help lactose-deficient people absorb lactose.
3. Yogurt Is Rich In Protein
Yogurt is a fantastic source of protein, a macro nutrient that’s important for everyone, but especially if you workout or exercise regularly. Regular yogurt usually contains around 10-14 grams of protein per eight ounces. This alone amounts to 20% of the daily protein requirement for the average person.
In addition to being a rich source of protein, researchers have found that the proteins in yogurt are easier to digest because of the culturing of the milk proteins during the fermentation process used to make yogurt.
4. Yogurt Can Lower Cholesterol & Risk Of Heart Disease
Studies have shown that probiotic yogurt can lower the levels of cholesterol in people with Type 2 diabetes. In a controlled double blind study, researchers found that the group that ate probiotic fortified yogurt had a 4.5 decrease in their total cholesterol and a 7.5 decrease in their LDL cholesterol levels. This group also saw a significant decrease in their ratio of good to bad cholesterol (LDL/HDL). Cholesterol ratio is a strong indicator of your risk of heart attack, so this finding is extremely promising.
5. Yogurts Boost Colon Health
Yogurt benefits your colon in 2 primary ways:
- It contains an intestine-friendly bacterial culture known as Lactobacteria which promotes good colon health. These friendly bacterial cultures seem to neutralize potentially harmful substances in the colon. There is even evidence that they help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- It is extremely rich in calcium, which has been shown to benefit colon health. Calcium intake can also reduce the risk of colon cancer by discouraging excess cell growth in the colon lining. Studies have shown that taking 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day reduced the risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 75%.
6. Yogurt Decreases Your Chances Of Getting Yeast Infections
For the ladies, studies have shown that 8 ounces of probiotic yogurt a day can not only help with yeast infections, but it can also decrease the frequency of vaginal yeast infections.
Choosing The Right Yogurt
Keep in mind that not all yogurt is created equal. Some yogurts don’t carry active and live probiotic cultures. While these yogurts may still be a rich source of protein and calcium, you won’t be enjoying the probiotic benefits. Other yogurts are laden with sugar and chemical flavoring.
If you’re selecting a yogurt for its health benefits, here’s what you want to look for:
- Plain/Unsweetened, or sweetened with Stevia (calorie free sweetener), or by adding real fresh fruit
- If you’re lactose intolerant, try a coconut milk based yogurt
- Look for probiotic yogurts fortified with Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and/or Bifidobacterium lactis