The 3 Secret Benefits of Eating Yogurt

By Lisa Shanken | Healthy Food Facts

Eat yogurt for better health.

I love eating yogurt with my kids in the morning, poured over fresh birch muesli or over oatmeal, tangy and sweet with glistening, ripe fruit. I even sneak it into lunch, pairing grilled chicken kebabs with delicious tzatziki, a cold, creamy blend of yogurt, spices, fresh garlic and cucumber. And all the while I’m purring like a cat knowing this 5,400 year old food product is not only rich in calcium, riboflavin, protein and B12, but that it’s also got some hidden benefits up its sleeve.

1. Yogurt for Weight Loss
For one, did you know that yogurt effectively aids weight loss?  A study published in the International Journal of Obesity (11 January 2005) found that obese individuals who ate 3 servings of low fat yogurt a day as part of a low calorie diet lost 22% more weight than the control group who only cut back on calories and did not have extra calcium. They also lost 81% more abdominal fat.[1]” An additional study by the University of Washington in Seattle showed that people who consumed a 200-calorie yogurt snack felt significantly fuller and subsequently ate less than people who consumed other types of 200-calorie snacks [2]. So make yogurt part of your daily diet today - but if you want to lose weight, opt for unsweetened, natural yogurt over ripe fruit, instead of varieties that are higher in sugar and empty calories.

2. Yogurt for Healthy Gums

If you suffer from gum disease, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer from a condition called periodontal disease, which is marked by receding gums and tooth loss. No other treatment outside of regular brushing and flossing helps alleviate it. However – you guessed it – a diet that was high in yogurt was proven to be beneficial in lowering the occurrence of periodontal disease[3]. Japanese researchers surmise that the probiotic effect of the lactobacilli bacteria found in lactic acid foods is what keeps gums healthy.

3. Yogurt for a Happy Digestive System

Face it: even if you’re the boss, your intestines are still the boss of you. If your stomach is uncomfortably churning, you’re not going to have a good day. We all want to go through our workdays without dwelling on our bowels, and yogurt keeps your tummy running ship-shape by maintaining gut flora, lessening the time your food takes to digest and enhancing your body’s immune systems. The Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University concluded that yogurt ameliorates the reduction of gastrointestinal conditions[2] such as:

•           Lactose intolerance

•           Constipation

•           Diarrhea

•           Colon cancer

•           Inflammatory bowel disease

•           H. pylori infection (can lead to ulcers and stomach cancer)

Additional Tips for Choosing the Right Yogurt

Great! You’ve now joined me on the yogurt bandwagon. But what type of yogurt should you buy? All the best benefits of yogurt come from its live and active cultures. If you’re buying yogurt from the supermarket, buy the freshest possible, because the longer it stays on the shelf, the less effective it is. If your local health food store carries fresh yogurt, buy that. You can also replace sour cream in some recipes with plain unsweetened yogurt. Even if you do buy sweetened yogurt mixed with fruit jams, it’s still healthier than ice cream, so feel free to indulge.

Let Me Hear From You!

I really love hearing from my readers – so please comment below and I’ll do my best to respond to any questions. Also, feel free to share your favorite ways to eat yogurt, homemade yogurt recipes, or even your top brands.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogurt

[2] http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-yogurt?page=2

[3] http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKIM15691020080221

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