Ah, Greek yogurt! The creamy, slightly tangy, filling snack that can give a whole new meaning to our afternoon munchies. This go-to superfood has made a name for itself thanks to its high content in protein (you can use it for healthy and tasty protein shakes) and probiotics, but its perks go way beyond a wow-worthy nutrition label. From keeping your gut in tip-top condition to helping you lose weight, these 6 health benefits of Greek yogurt will make you a total believer (even if you are not a fan of the sharp taste).
Promotes Gut Health
Composed of more than 100 trillion microorganisms which reside in your gastrointestinal tract, the human microbiome(1) is a very complex ecosystem. In fact, while some parts of it abound in gut-friendly bacteria, others are packed with potentially harmful microbiota which usually interfere with your gut’s health. That proves that the density and diversity of the human gut are not homogenous throughout.
Luckily, you are not helpless in such situations as probiotics can do all the dirty work for you. That said, the microorganisms modulate the responses of your immune system, reducing the risk of several gut-related diseases such as IBS(2) (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation(3), and even lactose intolerance(4).
Serving as a home to various active cultures, Greek yogurt(5) is rich in probiotics, offering you an easy way to load up on the nutrient. In fact, consuming just one cup of the creamy superfood every day can reduce the count of harmful bacteria significantly while encouraging the function of the “good” bacteria in your gut.
Keeps Your Weight in Check
Probiotics aside, Greek yogurt is an excellent source of dietary protein. In fact, just a single serving(6) of the thing contains 11 grams of protein which covers approximately 22% of your daily recommended intake. As you probably know, protein is one of those nutrients that can’t help but affect your BMI or better yet how you gain or lose weight.
According to research(7), the muscle-building nutrient has a direct effect on your appetite which means it makes you feel full for longer and, thus, eat smaller amounts of food. Ergo, you lose weight with half the effort. Combine that with a regular bowel movement thanks to all the probiotics (check above), and you’ve got a foolproof recipe for weight loss
Watches Out For Your Heart
Greek yogurt is probably the last food you’d think could help you tackle cardiovascular issues, but research shows that the creamy snack may be just the thing to give your heart some serious TLC. In fact, experts(8) claim that consuming Greek yogurt at least twice a week reduces the risk of stroke by 20% while lowering the chances of heart attack by 30% in women and 19% in men. These statistics prove that Greek yogurt is indeed the key to a healthier body, no matter your age, gender or previous lifestyle choices.
Supports Post-Workout Muscle Recovery
When you workout, your muscles are the first part of your body to pay the price. Due to the constant and powerful movements, small pieces of the muscles get torn, creating tiny “gaps” which usually cause discomfort, a.k.a. post-workout soreness, and get back to normal rather slowly. One way to speed up the recovery is to load up on protein(9). The nutrient contains an array of amino acids which when combined, fill in these “gaps” and connect the muscles once again. Given the fact that Greek yogurt is packed with protein, it’s considered one of the best choices to fuel up after a strenuous workout sesh.
Reduces the Chance of Anemia
Ever heard of vitamin B12(10)? Also known as cobalamin, the water-soluble vitamin plays a massive role in the formation and maturation of red blood cells, contributing to efficient oxygen transportation throughout the human body. Much like iron, vitamin B12 helps build these cells, so the lack thereof could lead to a variety of blood-related diseases including anemia(11).
According to a Harvard report(12), Greek yogurt is considered one of the most abundant sources of vitamin B12. So, if you want to increase your daily vitamin intake, this superfood is a solid contender. Also, note that people who follow a plant-based often receive lower amounts of iron and vitamin B12, so incorporating Greek yogurt in your veggie-friendly routine sounds like a solid plan to avoid the issue.
Enhances Bone Health
It’s no secret that regular yogurt is rich in calcium. And even though some of it is removed during straining, Greek yogurt still packs enough to make a distinct difference in your bone density(13). Specifically, one serving of the nutrient-rich food contains 100 mg calcium which is equal to 10% of your daily recommended value. With that in mind, Greek yogurt can help keep your bones healthy and make osteoporosis a thing of the past.
Of course, not all Greek yogurts are created equal. Many store-bought brands pack their products with sugar, minimizing the efficacy of the benefits mentioned above. That’s why it’s always best to ditch the store-bought stuff and make your own yogurt at home instead.
By doing so, you can control not just the ingredients (meaning: the quality of the active cultures you use) but also the texture of the final product. If you don’t know where to start, this detailed guide will help you choose the best yogurt maker on the market while teaching you the ways of turning milk into creamy goodness. Ready to make the step?