Menu

Health Benefits of Yogurt

Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on September 22, 2022

Nutritional Info

from the WebMD Ingredients Guide
Serving Size 1 Cup
Calories 154
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4 g
6%
Saturated Fat 2 g
10%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 15 mg
5%
Sodium 172 mg
7%
Potassium 0 mg
0%
Total Carbohydrate 17 g
6%
Dietary Fiber 0 g
0%
Sugar 17 g
Protein 13 g
26%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

  • Vitamin C 3%
  • Iron 0%
  • Vitamin B6 0%
  • Magnesium 0%
  • Calcium 45%
  • Vitamin D 0%
  • Cobalamin 0%
  • Vitamin A 3%

Over the last 50 years, yogurt has shifted from being perceived as a specialty health food item to being a beloved mainstream staple in America. 

Sweetened yogurt is often served as a healthier alternative to ice cream or custard. Plain yogurt can be used instead of sour cream to top everything from tacos to baked potatoes. Whole-milk yogurt has far fewer calories and more protein than sour cream or ice cream — and it’s also a fermented food that contains live probiotics. 

Health Benefits

Improves digestion

Many types of yogurt contain live probiotic bacteria that can improve the gut biome and improve digestive health. Pasteurization kills probiotic bacteria, so you typically only find them in products where they’ve been added after pasteurization — check the label to be sure. 

Probiotics are widely recognized as being beneficial to digestion. In one study, IBS patients who regularly consumed yogurt or fermented milk containing a specific probiotic, Bifidobacteria, showed lasting improvement in bloating and stool frequency after just three weeks.

Another study showed that yogurt containing Bifidobacteria improved bowel health and GI tract function in a generally healthy population.

Yogurt containing active probiotics is often recommended to prevent or relieve antibiotic-associated diarrhea and constipation, a use that is supported by several studies.

Helps prevent osteoporosis

Yogurt contains several nutrients that are vital to maintaining bone density, including calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Researchers have found that three daily servings of dairy products, like yogurt, may help prevent osteoporosis.

Improves gut bacteria balance

Scientific understanding of gut bacteria and the importance of a healthy microbiome has greatly increased over the last twenty years. Gut bacteria balance is now believed to be an important factor in rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and heart disease as well as maintaining a healthy weight, positive mood, and healthy skin.

Nutrition

Nutrients per Serving

Nutrition per 100 grams of whole-milk plain yogurt:

Yogurt’s vitamins and minerals also include vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. Low-fat and nonfat varieties have fewer calories and less fat; Greek-style yogurt is higher in protein. 

Things to Watch Out For

If you are lactose-intolerant or have a milk allergy, you should avoid dairy foods like yogurt. Sweetened yogurts can contain a lot of added sugar or other sweeteners and should be eaten in moderation only. 

How to Prepare Yogurt

Yogurt is widely available in grocery stores — look for the words “active culture” on the label if you want the benefits of probiotics in your diet. 

Making your own yogurt at home is a breeze: 

  • Heat milk to 180˚F and allow to cool to 112-115˚F
  • Add yogurt starter (you can use commercial yogurt that contains probiotics as a starter)
  • Pour into jars and allow to stand for 7-9 hours
  • Refrigerate for up to ten days

Show Sources

Sources:

Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics: Effect of a fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173 010 on the health-related quality of life and symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome in adults in primary care.

Antibiotics: Probiotics for the Prevention of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea in Outpatients—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.}

British Journal of Nutrition: Fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173 010 improves gastrointestinal well-being and digestive symptoms in women reporting minor digestive symptoms.

Calcified Tissue International: Effects of Dairy Products Consumption on Health: Benefits and BeliefsA Commentary from the Belgian Bone Club and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases

Downshiftology.com: How to Make Yogurt

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon

Harvard Health Publishing: Can gut bacteria improve your health?

Healthline: “Yogurt 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits”

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info