Yogurt is produced by bacterial fermentation. Cultured dairy dates back at least 4,500 years. Yogurt can be made from all types of milk – goat, cow, and coconut. Unfortunately, most commercial brands contain added ingredients, such as sugar and artificial flavors. Avoid these yogurts. Unsweetened yogurt offers many health benefits. You can buy non-dairy yogurt made from coconut, almonds, cashews or soy and get the addition benefits of avoiding animal products. Dairy is NOT a health food. Due to genetic manipulation and growth chemicals, dairy cows now produce up to 12 times more milk than they would naturally produce to feed a calf. This is very hard on their bodies and produces a product that is extremely unhealthy for us.
Non–Dairy Yogurt is rich in nutrients.
- Calcium – One cup provides 49% of your daily needs.
- B vitamins – Particularly vitamin B12 and riboflavin, both of which may protect against heart disease and certain neural tube birth defects.
- Phosphorus – One cup provides 38% of your daily requirement
- Magnesium – One cup provides 12% of your daily requirement
- Potassium – One cup provides 18% of your daily requirement
- Yogurt is fortified with vitamin D which promotes bone and immune system health and may reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart disease and depression.
Yogurt provides an impressive amount of protein, with about 12 grams per 7 ounces. In one study, subjects who snacked on yogurt were less hungry and consumed 100 fewer calories at dinner, compared to those who ate lower-protein snacks with the same amount of calories.Yogurt’s fullness-promoting effects are even more prominent if you eat Greek yogurt, which is a very thick variety that has been strained. It is higher in protein than regular yogurt, providing 22 grams per 7 ounces. Greek yogurt has been shown to influence appetite control and delay feelings of hunger more than regular yogurt with less protein.
Some types of yogurt contain live bacteria, or probiotics, that were either a part of the starter culture or added after pasteurization. Unfortunately, many yogurts have been pasteurized, which is a heat treatment that kills the beneficial bacteria they contain.To ensure your yogurt contains effective probiotics, look for one that contains live, active cultures, which should be listed on the label. If the bacteria survives the pasteurization process, you should find it listed, usually Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, on the container among the ingredients, right after milk.
Some types of probiotics found in yogurt have been shown to lessen the uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a common disorder that affects the colon. One study had IBS patients regularly consume fermented milk or yogurt that contained Bifidobacteria. After only three weeks, they reported improvements in bloating and stool frequency. Several studies have found that probiotics may protect against antibiotic-associated diarrhea and constipation.
How to Buy
Look for live cultures. Check sugar content. Check serving size. Avoid yogurt that has been heat treated. Avoid yogurt with fillers. Look for Greek yogurt. Consider dairy-free alternatives. Always choose organic!
How to Store
How to Cook
Cilantro Lime Yogurt Dip
- Puree 1/2 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup each chopped scallions and cilantro, 1 teaspoon each lime zest, lime juice and hot sauce and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Light Caesar Dressing
- Puree 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons each grated parmesan and olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 anchovies and the juice of 1/2 lemon.
- Puree 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt with one 15-ounce can chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Thai Peanut Chicken Salad
- Puree 1/2 cup plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons each miso paste, peanut butter and lime juice and 2 teaspoons Sriracha. Toss with 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, 1 cup shredded carrots and 2 tablespoons each chopped peanuts, scallions and cilantro; season with salt and pepper.