Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the most common dairy products on the market today, for good reason. Yogurt is a creamy, tasty addition to lots of meals. Greek yogurt is starting to overtake traditional yogurt in popularity thanks to its rich flavor and thick texture.

Greek yogurt has been strained to remove extra liquid and whey. The result is a thicker, denser final product with a higher concentration of protein and probiotics.

This thick, protein-rich yogurt offers a wide variety of potential uses in savory and sweet recipes. It can also be eaten plain.

Health Benefits

The vitamins, minerals, and probiotics in Greek yogurt can provide important health benefits. For example, Greek yogurt can help provide part of your daily potassium intake.

Potassium is important for maintaining your blood pressure and counteracting sodium. It also plays an important role in keeping your heartbeat regular and helping your muscles contract.

Greek yogurt is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, which helps prevent anemia and keeps your blood cells and nerves healthy.

In addition, Greek yogurt can provide health benefits like:

Improve Bone Health

Greek yogurt provides a significant amount of calcium, which is important for healthy bones. Calcium is the most common mineral in your body and most of it is in your skeleton. Getting enough calcium helps prevent osteoporosis by keeping your bones denser and less prone to breaking.

Digestive Health

Greek yogurt is probiotic, meaning it is typically produced with live bacterial cultures. These bacteria can help support the good bacteria that already live in your digestive system. Consuming probiotics like Greek yogurt may improve your digestive system’s ability to handle a wide variety of foods. It may also help regulate bowel movements. 

Heart Health

Greek yogurt has been connected to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Cholesterol and triglycerides can harden or block your arteries over time, leading to heart disease or atherosclerosis. By controlling your cholesterol, Greek yogurt may help you avoid heart disease or slow its progression.

Lower Risk of Diabetes

Consuming Greek yogurt may help reduce your risk of diabetes, too. A recent analysis of eleven studies showed that eating yogurt regularly can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as 14%. More studies are needed to understand why this happens, but the evidence behind the connection is promising.

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Nutrition

Greek yogurt is a great source of iodine, which supports healthy thyroid function and a strong immune system.

It’s also an excellent source of:

Nutrients per Serving 

1 cup of 2% fat Greek yogurt contains:

Portion Sizes 

It’s important to check the fat content of your Greek yogurt when looking at portion sizes. It can be made with nonfat milk, 2% milk, or even whole milk. Depending on the fat content of the yogurt, the calorie content could vary.

Consuming one to two cups of lowfat Greek yogurt daily can be a healthy addition to your diet  without making it difficult to maintain your weight. 

How to Eat Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has a different flavor profile than other yogurts. Because more liquid has been removed, the fermented flavor is more noticeable. 

This stronger flavor makes plain Greek yogurt a great addition to savory foods. The rich taste and creamy texture can help thicken sauces, replace sour cream, or accent other bold and spicy flavors well.

On the other hand, by adding sweeteners like honey or fruit, Greek yogurt can be eaten as a sweet dessert or convenient breakfast. 

Here are some ideas for adding Greek yogurt to your diet:

  • Eat Greek yogurt with honey as a simple breakfast.
  • Use unflavored Greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute.
  • Blend Greek yogurt into a smoothie.
  • Mix Greek yogurt in creamy sauces.
  • Stir Greek yogurt into spinach dip.
  • Make tzatziki with Greek yogurt.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on September 09, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Consumption of dairy foods and diabetes incidence: a dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies.”

Archives of Osteoporosis: “Milk and yogurt consumption are linked with higher bone mineral density but not with hip fracture: the Framingham Offspring Study.”

Bon Appetit: “What Is Greek Yogurt? And How Is It Different Than Regular Yogurt?”

Cleveland Clinic: “Yogurt: Good for Your Heart?”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

FoodData Central: “Yogurt, Greek, plain, lowfat.”

Harvard Medical School: “Health benefits of taking probiotics.”

Journal of Dairy Science: “Sensory properties and drivers of liking for Greek yogurts.”

National Institutes of Health: “Calcium.”

National Institutes of Health: “Iodine.”

National Institutes of Health: “Potassium.”

National Institutes of Health: “Vitamin B12.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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