6 Reasons: Why Yogurt is Healthy
For many, yogurt is a delicious breakfast option alongside bread and rolls. It’s also great to combine with sweet and savory dishes. Yogurt is low in calories, and provides good nutritional values as well as valuable nutrients – we give you six reasons why yogurt is healthy.
It is one of the most popular dairy products in the refrigerated section – yogurt. It comes in different varieties: You can find different fat levels, natural yogurt, fruit yogurt, or even vegetable alternatives. In this article, we refer to a natural yogurt made from milk.
#1. Provides valuable nutrients
Why is yogurt healthy? Yogurt belongs to the fermented milk products. It is usually made by beneficial bacteria called yogurt cultures. The advantage of yogurt is that it can be made from any type of milk, at any fat level. If you take a closer look at the refrigerated shelf in the supermarket, you will see this too – the choice is huge.
There are also often sweetened varieties to be found in a variety of flavors, which often come with significantly more calories. Although these can be used as a treat, they are not the same as natural yogurt.
Dairy products, such as yogurt, are known to contain a lot of the mineral calcium. Calcium is particularly important for healthy bones and teeth. It also has other functions in blood clotting and cellular functions, such as stimulus transmission in the nervous system as well as the muscles.
Especially the low-fat varieties are particularly low in calories and score high in protein. Here is an overview of the nutritional values of yogurt (1.5%):
|Yogurt (1.5%)||Per 100 grams|
Yogurt provides abundant nutrients that are important for various bodily functions – it is a healthy source of protein and calcium.
#2. Can reduce appetite
While yogurt can’t compete with low-fat cottage cheese, it’s still a good source of protein at just under 7 grams per 100 grams. Diets that focus on high protein intake are often more successful because they can increase feelings of fullness and thermogenesis. Theoretically, one could say that “net” fewer calories are utilized with protein compared to fat and carbohydrates. Also, the data to date suggest that a high-protein meal leads to decreased appetite and thus decreased energy intake. A high-protein diet also appears to be more successful in preserving muscle and predominantly reducing fat.
A 2013 randomized controlled trial examined the impact of yogurt as an afternoon snack with varying protein content in healthy women. It found that a snack of Greek yogurt (24 grams of protein) led to a reduction in hunger, an increased feeling of fullness, and a delay in the next meal. This effect was higher in the yogurt with more protein than in the comparison samples.
Greek yogurt is particularly creamy and tasty due to its higher fat content. One must decide individually which variety and fat level of yogurt tastes good to one and is most satisfying. Typically, Greek yogurt is eaten with honey, nuts, or berries – so you can combine yogurt in a healthy way and prepare a perfect anti-hunger snack or a delicious breakfast.
Yogurt is healthy and a solid source of protein, which can help curb appetite and increase satiety, leading to a healthy body weight.
#3. Contributes to bone health
What makes yogurt healthy for our bones? Yogurt, like other dairy products, contains valuable nutrients that can contribute to bone health. Among them, are calcium, phosphorus, and potassium in particular. Calcium, along with vitamins D and K, plays a key role in bone health.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone mass is lost, making bones more fragile and fractures more likely to occur. Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk, as bone density is also dependent on hormonal factors. People with osteoporosis have an increased risk of fractures, due to lower bone density.
Its protein content also makes yogurt healthy. Current data suggest that protein intakes greater than 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight are a health benefit for bones. The macronutrient also plays an important role in muscle mass and bone as we age. A meta-analysis suggests that higher protein intakes may reduce the risk of hip fractures and may play a beneficial role in maintaining bone density.
In particular, the valuable nutrients such as protein and calcium make dairy products like yogurt healthy for our bones and muscles.
#4. Good for the cardiovascular system
For a long time, dairy products with higher fat levels were considered detrimental to health due to the saturated fatty acids. To this day, dietary guidelines and recommendations tend to include low-fat and fat-free dairy products. Is yogurt healthy for our cardiovascular system?
Nutrition research has shifted over time from a single nutrient to a whole-food nutritional pattern approach. As a result, the role of dairy products, or milk fat, in the diet and its relationship to disease development is being looked at in a new way. Now it appears that those dairy products tend to play a neutral or even potentially beneficial role in cardiometabolic health, which also means gastrointestinal, liver, and vascular health.
Research shows that diets high in dairy products are associated with a neutral or lower risk of cardiovascular disease and related outcomes. This effect is attributed in part to the antihypertensive effect.
An analysis of intervention studies also showed that fermented dairy products such as yogurt can lower the concentration of total and LDL cholesterol. It seems that other ingredients besides milk fat have an influence on these parameters.
Increased consumption of dairy products is associated with a positive effect on heart health – the saturated fatty acids they contain seem to have a more neutral effect.
#5. May have a positive effect on blood pressure
High blood pressure is a present health problem in industrialized countries, as it is associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Diet can have a significant impact on the development of hypertension – dairy products are also thought to be beneficial.
A meta-analysis and systematic review examined the association between dairy intake and the development of hypertension in adults. Low-fat and high-fat dairy products were compared, as well as cheese versus liquid products such as milk or yogurt. The results appeared to show a significant association between low-fat as well as liquid dairy products and a lower risk of hypertension. However, as in any dietary study, there are limitations, so these results should be interpreted with caution.
Especially in patients with hypertension or other diseases, dietary changes should be made under medical supervision. The results of scientific studies can be a good guide. Further guidance on diet in hypertension can be found here.
The Max Rubner Institute notes that there are significant differences in milk production between Europe and the U.S., which also affect the fatty acid profile of milk. In the U.S., there is a focus on low-fat/ET-free dairy products and, in turn, much of the milk fat is used in confectionery such as ice cream or in ready-to-eat meals. So this factor may definitely play a role and partly explain the controversial data on the health effects of milk fat.
Current data suggest that increased consumption of dairy products may have an antihypertensive effect, with reduced-fat products being particularly effective in this regard.
#6. May be good for digestion
Yogurt is one of the fermented milk products, along with sour milk products and cheese. Starter cultures called Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are often used to make classic yogurt. In probiotic yogurt, Lactobacillus bulgaricus is replaced by other cultures. Due to the beneficial effect of yogurt on the intestinal flora, there may also be positive effects on the immune system.
There is also good news for people with lactose intolerance or malabsorbers, because it has been shown that regular yogurt consumption can improve lactose tolerance and, due to the lactic acid bacteria, is usually well tolerated. Of course, you can still find lactose-free products to buy.
Fermented products such as yogurt are healthy because the lactic acid bacteria they contain can positively influence the well-being of the gastrointestinal tract. For example, lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease can be reduced. The beneficial effect of fermented dairy products may also be related to the positive changes in the gut microbiota, but study results are inconclusive.
Probiotic bacteria are living microorganisms that provide us with health benefits in appropriate amounts. To date, there is no evidence that foods containing specific bacterial cultures positively affect health per se. For this reason, advertising claims made by the food industry are not scientifically proven and may not be used for food. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluates and reviews those claims – but so far there have only been negative assessments of the products.
. What makes yogurt healthy for the gut? It seems that yogurt has a positive effect on the intestinal flora. However, a gut-friendly diet also includes fiber from vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
Knowledge to go
It’s not just its protein content that makes yogurt healthy, because, like other dairy products, it’s a convenient source of essential nutrients like calcium and protein. Yogurt is particularly versatile, is low in calories, and can be a satisfying snack to keep your appetite in check.
What else makes yogurt healthy? For a long time, animal milk fat was considered nutritionally unfavorable due to its saturated fat content. Current data suggest that the usual consumption of dairy products has either neutral or beneficial effects on disease prevention. Due to a lack of scientific evidence, health claims about the probiotic effects of some types of yogurt are prohibited.
Nevertheless, yogurt is healthy and can be regularly integrated into the diet. As part of a wholesome diet, it can also help prevent disease: dairy products such as yogurt can have a positive influence on blood pressure, the cardiovascular system, bone health and intestinal health