Yogurt has been consumed by humans for hundreds of years. It’s very nutritious, and eating it regularly may boost several aspects of your health. For example, yoghurt has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as aid in weight management.
1. It’s Rich in Important Nutrients
Yogurt contains some of nearly every nutrient that your body needs. It’s known for containing a lot of calcium, a mineral necessary for healthy teeth and bones. Just one cup provides 49% of your daily calcium needs. It is also high in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12 and riboflavin, both of which may protect against heart disease and certain neural tube birth defects.
One cup also provides 38% of your daily need for phosphorus, 12% for magnesium and 18% for potassium. These minerals are essential for several biological processes, such as regulating blood pressure, metabolism and bone health. One nutrient that yoghurt does not contain naturally is vitamin D, but it is commonly fortified with it. Vitamin D promotes bone and immune system health and may reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart disease and depression.
2. It’s High in Protein
Yogurt provides an impressive amount of protein, with about 12 grams per 7 ounces Protein has been shown to support metabolism by increasing your energy expenditure, or the number of calories that you burn throughout the day. Getting enough protein is also important for appetite regulation, as it increases the production of hormones that signal fullness. It may automatically reduce the number of calories you consume overall, which is beneficial for weight control. In one study, subjects who snacked on yoghurt were less hungry and consumed 100 fewer calories at dinner, compared to those who ate lower-protein snacks with the same amount of calories.
Yogurt’s fullness-promoting effects are even more prominent if you eat Greek yoghurt, which is a very thick variety that has been strained. It is higher in protein than regular yoghurt, providing 22 grams per 7 ounces. Greek yoghurt has been shown to influence appetite control and delay feelings of hunger more than regular yoghurt with less protein.
3. Some Varieties May Benefit Digestive Health
Some types of yoghurt contain live bacteria, or probiotics, that were either a part of the starter culture or added after pasteurization. These may benefit digestive health when consumed. Unfortunately, many yoghurts have been pasteurized, which is a heat treatment that kills the beneficial bacteria they contain. To ensure your yoghurt contains effective probiotics, look for one that contains live, active cultures, which should be listed on the label.
Some types of probiotics found in yoghurts such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus have been shown to lessen the uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a common disorder that affects the colon.
One study had IBS patients regularly consume fermented milk or yoghurt that contained Bifidobacteria. After only three weeks, they reported improvements in bloating and stool frequency — effects seen after six weeks, as well. Another study found that yoghurt with Bifidobacteria improved digestive symptoms and health-related quality of life among women who did not have a diagnosed digestive condition. Furthermore, several studies have found that probiotics may protect against antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, as well as constipation.
4. It May Strengthen Your Immune System
Consuming yoghurt especially if it contains probiotics — on a regular basis may strengthen your immune system and reduce your likelihood of contracting an illness. Probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation, which is linked to several health conditions ranging from viral infections to gut disorders. Research shows that in some instances, probiotics may also help reduce the incidence, duration and severity of the common cold. Moreover, the immune-enhancing properties of yoghurt are partly due to its magnesium, selenium and zinc, which are trace minerals known for the role they play in immune system health.
5. It May Protect Against Osteoporosis
Yogurt contains some key nutrients for maintaining bone health, including calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus and, sometimes, vitamin D. All of these vitamins and minerals are especially helpful for preventing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakening of the bones. It is common in the elderly. Individuals with osteoporosis have low bone density and are at a higher risk of bone fractures. However, research shows that consuming at least three servings of dairy foods, such as yoghurt, on a daily basis may help preserve bone mass and strength.
6. It May Promote Weight Management
Yogurt has several properties that may help with weight management. For starters, it is high in protein, which works along with calcium to increase levels of appetite-reducing hormones like peptide YY and GLP-1. Furthermore, several studies have found that yoghurt consumption is associated with lower body weight, body fat percentage and waist circumference. One review found that the intake of full-fat dairy products, including yoghurt, may reduce the incidence of obesity. This is contrary to what was previously believed about fat intake and weight gain.
Other studies have found that those who eat yoghurt tend to eat better overall, compared to those who do not eat it. This is partly due to its higher nutrient content, compared to its fairly low calorie content.