Health Benefits of Yogurt

INTRODUCING THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGURT

Yogurt is an important dairy product. It is a fermented product made by the addition of live bacteria to milk.

Yogurt has been around for quite some time. It is used to garnish snacks and also forms an important component of desserts and sauces.

Yogurt is loaded with good bacteria. These bacteria function as probiotics and promote good gut health. They also provide other benefits that are above and beyond plain milk.

Yogurt is mostly white and thick. However, some commercial brands are artificially colored. This article highlights the health benefits of yogurt.

Health benefits of yogurt
Photo Credit: The Indian Express

NUTRITION FACTS ABOUT YOGURT

The table below has the nutrition facts for a 3.5 ounce of plain, whole-milk yogurt (1).

Nutrient Amount
Calories 61
Water 88%
Protein 3.5 g
Carbs 4.7 g
Sugar 4.7 g
Fiber 0 g
Fat 3.3 g

Protein

An important health benefit of yogurt is that it is loaded with protein (1).

 A cup of yogurt contains at least 8.5g of protein.

Commercial yogurt has a high amount of protein compared to milk because milk itself is an ingredient in yogurt (2).

The protein present in yogurt is either casein or whey. This depends on how soluble it is in water.

Whey proteins are soluble in water. Caseins, on the other hand, are insoluble in water.

Whey and casein are very good for the health, they are rich in amino acids, and can easily be digested.

Casein

The protein content of yogurt is mostly caseins. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of the protein in yogurt is casein. Alpha-casein is more plentiful than others.

Casein increases the absorption of phosphorus and calcium and decreases blood pressure (3, 4, 5).

Whey

Whey makes up 20 percent of the protein in yogurt.

Whey is rich in branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, valine, and, isoleucine.

Most bodybuilders and athletes are familiar with whey.

Other added benefits of whey include weight loss and reduction of blood pressure (6, 7).

These are the important health benefits of yogurt.

Fats

The fat content of yogurt depends on the type of milk used for its production.

All kinds of milk can be used for the production of yogurt. Yogurt sold in the US is mostly fat-free or low-fat (2).

The fat content of yogurt ranges between 0.4 percent and 3.3 percent. It may be more in full-fat yogurt (1, 8).

Yogurt contains saturated fat. It also contains some monounsaturated fat. However, saturated fat is more.

Milk fat is special, very special because it is rich in different fatty acids, numbering over 400 (9).

Yogurt contains ruminant trans fats

Yogurt contains dairy trans fats and ruminant trans fats.

Ruminant trans fats are beneficial to health. This is very unlike some trans fats that are found in most processed foods.

The ruminant fats that are found in yogurt include conjugated linoleic acid and vaccenic acid (9, 10).

Studies have shown that conjugated linoleic acid has a lot of health benefits. However, taking large amounts of CLA supplements may be harmful to health (11, 12, 13, 14).

These are the important health benefits of yogurt.

Carbs

Plain yogurt contains carbs. These carbs are present in the form of simple sugars like galactose and lactose.

You should note that the lactose content of yogurt is less than that in milk. The reason for this is that the fermentation process breaks down the lactose.

The breakdown of lactose results in the formation of glucose and galactose. The glucose gets converted to lactic acid. This lactic acid is responsible for the sour flavor of yogurt (15).

Yogurts also contain sweeteners – mainly sucrose.

Due to its sucrose content, the sugar content of yogurt varies greatly and may range from 4.7 to 18.6 percent or even more (1, 16).

These are the important health benefits of yogurt.

Vitamins and minerals

Full-fat yogurt is loaded with all kinds of nutrients.

However, there is a high variation in the nutritional value of the different types of yogurt.

For instance, the nutritional value may depend on the kind of bacteria used in the fermentation process (17).

You can get the following vitamins and minerals from whole-milk yogurt (1):

  • Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is present mostly in animal foods (18).
  • Calcium. Milk and milk products are loaded with calcium. What’s more? This calcium is easily absorbable (19).
  • Phosphorus. Yogurt is rich in phosphorus. Phosphorus plays an important role in many physiological processes.
  • Riboflavin. Yogurt and other milk products are rich in Vitamin B12 (riboflavin) (20).

These are the important health benefits of yogurt.

Probiotics

Probiotics have a lot of health benefits.

Probiotics can be found in fermented dairy products, like yogurt (21).

Bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria are the major probiotics that are found in yogurt (22).

The health benefits of probiotics depend on the species and how much of it you take.

  • Immune system booster. Studies have shown that probiotics actually enhance the immune system (23, 24, 25, 26, 27).
  • It reduces the blood cholesterol level. Regular consumption of some kinds of probiotics helps to lower blood cholesterol (28, 29, 30, 31, 32).
  • Synthesis of vitamins. Bifidobacteria boosts the synthesis of essential vitamins such as thiamine, vitamin B6, B12, and K, and niacin (22).
  • Digestive health. Fermented milk loaded with Bifidobacterium promotes good gut health. It also relieves the symptoms of IBS (33, 34).
  • It protects against diarrhea. Studies have shown that probiotics help treat diarrhea caused by antibiotics (35, 36, 37, 38, 39).
  • It protects against constipation. Studies have shown that regular intake of yogurt containing Bifidobacterium may reduce constipation (40, 41, 42).
  • Improved lactose digestibility. Probiotics enhance the digestion of lactose. This reduces the symptoms of lactose intolerance (43, 44).

These are the important health benefits of yogurt.

LEARN HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY YOGURT RECIPES WITH AN INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER

HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGURT

A lot of studies have been done with respect to the health benefits of yogurt and other dairy products.

Probiotic yogurts have a lot of health benefits that exceed that of non-fermented milk.

It promotes good gut health

Probiotic yogurt has many health benefits. Promoting good digestive health is one of them.

Regular intake of yogurt loaded with live cultures may assist with the treatment of diarrhea. It does this by restoring your intestinal flora (35, 36).

Also, probiotic yogurt reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and constipation (33, 34, 40, 41, 42).

Probiotics relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance by improving lactose digestion (44).

These are the important health benefits of yogurt.

READ MORE: PERFECT GUT HEALTH

Bone health

Osteoporosis is a disorder of the bones. It is characterized by brittleness and weakness of bones.

Osteoporosis is common in the elderly. As a matter of fact, old age is a major risk factor for osteoporosis.

Dairy products protect against osteoporosis. As a matter of fact, dairy products increase bone density – mainly due to its high protein and calcium content (19, 45).

These are the important health benefits of yogurt.

Blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Studies have shown that regular intake of yogurt helps reduce the blood pressure in hypertensive patients (46).

Other dairy products have similar effects, so it is not limited to just yogurt (47, 48).

These are the important health benefits of yogurt.

WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF HAVING YOGURT?

Yogurt has some adverse effects, especially in people who are lactose intolerant. These include:

  • Lactose intolerance (43, 44, 49, 50).
  • Milk allergy (51).
  • Added sugar (52, 53).

THE SUMMARY

Yogurt is a fermented dairy product.

There’s nothing as healthy as yogurt loaded with live cultures, especially when it doesn’t contain any added sugars. The health benefits of yogurts include reduction of blood pressure, enhancement of digestive health, and a reduced risk of osteoporosis.

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