Greek yogurt has become immensely popular since it was introduced in the United States in 2011, and stayed that way, changing the yogurt industry. Over the last few years, Greek yogurt has made its way on American breakfast tables as a staple breakfast food, and for many, replacing the sugary cereal bowls. Taste enthusiasts can’t get over its rich, creamy, slightly sour taste, while the health-conscious brigade can’t stop raving about it because of its muscle-building proteins and healthy fats.
So it is pretty clear that Greek yogurt is here to stay and is not merely a passing trend like so many others, for example, rooibos tea. Any health-conscious person would know that dairy products are important for a well-balanced diet and have many health benefits and will ask you this question with a straight face - “Do you know why Greek yogurt is good for you?”
Make no mistake though, we are not saying that regular yogurt pales in comparison to Greek yogurt. They are both great, packed with nutrients and almost equals (Greek yogurt is strained more times than regular yogurt). We are just blown away by the versatility of Greek yogurt because of several reasons. The foremost being that it goes with any food. Another reason is that it is more refined than a lot of products out there with less sugar content (though always check the contents for this before buying).
Do you want to know why Greek yogurt is good for you? Read on.
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The Benefits of Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has some impressive health benefits which cannot be ignored.
High Protein Content
We all know how protein is important for health as it promotes muscle growth, repairing tissue and cell growth. Because it is strained thrice, the protein content is more concentrated and makes you feel fuller for a longer time. This is an excellent choice for breakfast if you add a handful of dry fruits of your choice.
If you want to avoid meats, this is the right food for you as it packs as much as 17-22 grams of protein (nearly double of regular yogurt), or approximately 42% of the daily requirement. Protein is not only great for the nerves, fluid balance and the immune system, it also keeps the skin healthy and plays an important role in transferring oxygen through the cell membranes.
Want to Lose Weight? Try Greek Yogurt
Iodine is an important element and the lack of it in your diet can lead to some serious health problems. Luckily, Greek yogurt is high in iodine; which works great because it works in tandem with your thyroid, which, in turn, works wonders with your body’s metabolic functions. This could lead to weight loss naturally.
Another reason why you would lose weight is that consumption of Greek yogurt leaves you feeling fuller when you compare than with other such snacks. As a result, you are not hungry between meals, hence keeping a check on your weight.
Great for Digestion
As you probably know, yogurt is packed with live culture (probiotics) that help keep out intestinal infections because these cultures reside in your digestive tract. These, in turn, reduce the chances of diarrhea and chronic stomach troubles. Your immune system is strengthened and so is your digestive system.
So if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS as it is called, you can try on the many products available on the market and see the difference yourself.
Into Heavy Workouts? Recover Faster
If you are into heavy workouts, Greek yogurt can be the perfect food for you and keep you satisfied until your next meal. You can have a Greek yogurt snack within the first hour of your workout. This is partly because the amino acids in Greek yogurt will help your muscles repair themselves and the energy that you have lost during the workout will be replenished by the carbohydrates. You can add a chopped banana to it for added benefits, and consume it with a pint of water, so your body is hydrated at the same time.
Speaking of carbohydrates, please check the label carefully while buying Greek yogurt because the addition of flavors and other ingredients may alter the carbohydrate presence.
High Calcium Content
A 7-ounce container (which is the normal serving size too) may have as many as 20-25% of the daily intake of your calcium. Why is this important? Well, calcium is responsible for the production of cortisol, a hormone that affects the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also plays an important part in the immune balance, electrolyte balance, body temperature, blood pressure and can also affect behavior, pain perception and mood.
Calcium regulates cortisol, hence reducing its negative impact, keeping away ailments such as high blood pressure, among others. It also helps the body limit fat production, so it is a great idea to include some Greek yogurt in your regular diet if you are watching your weight. Though, we should point out that regular yogurt contains approximately 10% more calcium than Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt is rich in vitamin D and probiotics and helps stimulate the immune and tissue system and empowers it against several diseases. The probiotics help balance the harmful bacteria in your system, improving digestion. But please know that the vitamin D content is not the same in all the products available on the market, so you should check the label carefully before you make a purchase.
Vitamin B12-Rich Snack
Apart from being a rich source of iodine, zinc, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), riboflavin and phosphorus, Greek yogurt contains vitamin B12, which is a must-have in your diet. For meat and seafood eaters, this is usually not a problem because they are getting enough of that in their diet.
The addition of Greek yogurt in your diet, if you are not a meat-eater, will increase your intake of vitamin B12. A regular portion of Greek yogurt may contain as much as 20% of your daily requirement. It is also important for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, production of red blood cells and improving metabolism.
Sometimes also called “yogurt of the gods”, Greek yogurt is also considered a superfood, if it weren’t clear from all the qualities we have listed above and if you are still asking why Greek yogurt is good for you. It has twice the amount of protein and fat when compared with regular protein (though no or low-fat versions are also available) and can be used as a substitute for many other foods such as mayonnaise, sour cream or even cream cheese. This because there is hardly any whey in it, Greek yogurt does not curdle as easily as regular yogurt.
Yes, Greek yogurt is a great mood enhancer, and it is not just hearsay, there is proof. Some recent studies have revealed that the good bacteria in Greek yogurt has a positive effect on mental health and mood. If you are consuming probiotics, your mind will be less anxious, as little as a single strain of lactobacillus can change the mood.
But this does not mean that people suffering from anxiety disorders and depression should stop taking their medications and start eating Greek yogurt as a remedy.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Most people have a high intake in their everyday diet, and this could lead to a lot of health issues such as heart disease, hypertension, high blood pressure or kidney disease. Greek yogurt contains potassium, which is a known high blood pressure suppressor and also helps in flushing out the excess salt out of your body. The components in Greek yogurt also act as vasodilators and make your blood vessels more relaxed.
Combat Bad Breath
If you are a regular consumer of unsweetened Greek yogurt, you wouldn’t need to use mouthwash every time you are rushing out on a date (though don’t stop using it on our account!). Studies have suggested that Greek yogurt may fight off offensive odors and keep your breath fresh. The studies have a reason to believe that the active bacteria in Greek yogurt work against the odor-causing compounds such as hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. (Unsweetened) Greek yogurt seems to be a natural cure for halitosis.
Another study has suggested that even if Greek yogurt is sweetened, it does not cause cavities. This is because of the presence of lactic acid, which acts as a gum protector and doesn’t let the teeth erode easily.
Hopefully, you should be able to conclude by now that why Greek yogurt is good for you. As we learned, Greek yogurt has a much higher protein content than its regular counterpart. We should also tell you that originally, Greek yogurt was made with goat milk to keep the fat content low, and there were no added sugars.
So if you are planning to switch to Greek yogurt, please always read the label carefully, especially if you are also looking to watch your weight.