Yoghurt or Yogurt is the resulting product from the culturing of a mixture of milk and cream products with the addition of yoghurt cultures bacteria such as the lactobacilli bacteria. The Fermentation of lactose (milk) by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk proteins to give yoghurt its texture and characteristic flavour.
Yoghurt consumption has been associated with an array of health benefits including an improved intestinal health, also an improved bone mineral density and immune system. With the increasing awareness about the health benefits associated with yoghurt consumption, the variety, the popularity and commercialisation of yoghurt has increased globally.
A wide variety of yoghurts are now made available around the world including Greek yoghurt, very popular thanks to its rich flavour and thick texture.
Greek yoghurt also called “strained yoghurt” or “yoghurt cheese”, is a type of yoghurt that has been strained to remove extra liquid and whey. This results in a thicker, denser final product with a higher concentration of proteins and probiotics.
Greek yoghurt benefits the body in many ways compared to regular yoghurt. It has more protein content and has a much lower sodium content. In addition, most of the whey has been removed from the thick yoghurt. Such benefits have made it a popular choice for fitness enthusiasts. Greek yogurt contains similar muscle-supporting nutrients as milk yet it is different in several ways including being a semi-solid food, containing good gut bacterial cultures and having a higher protein content (mostly casein) per serving thus resulting in an increased muscle strength and size, and the optimised body composition among its consumers.
Since yoghurt is derived from milk, it provides nutrients such as protein, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 and minerals like calcium, iodine and magnesium.
Benefits Of Greek Yogurt:
Greek yoghurt contains significant amount of nutrients…vitamins, minerals and probiotics with various important health benefits.
1. Yoghurt Can Helps In Bodybuilding
Yoghurt is a great source of protein and calcium, which are essential nutrients for bodybuilding. The protein in yoghurt reduces the loss of muscle mass and boosts muscle growth making it easier to maintain lean muscle mass.
Yoghurt works great as a post-workout snack due to its proteins bio-availability. It offers the essential proteins the body needs for muscle repair and recovery after exercise.
2. Boosts The Digestive Health
Live cultures in Greek yoghurt provides beneficial bacteria to the gut known as probiotics. When eaten regularly, probiotics may support gut health. Reports state that probiotics can ease constipation. Though more research is required, taking probiotics like yoghurt for easing constipation is a safe bet. The good bacteria in yoghurt also help soothe the digestive system.
The soothing properties of yoghurt also help fight acid reflux and GERD (Gastro-Eesophageal Reflux Disease). One study stated that yoghurt consumption may improve gut health and reduce chronic inflammation by enhancing innate and adaptive immune responses, intestinal barrier function, lipid profiles, and by regulating appetite. Moreover, results of a prospective European study stated that high yoghurt intake was significantly associated with decreased colorectal cancer risk, suggesting that yogurt should be part of a diet to prevent the disease.
Regular inclusion of fermented foods, such as yoghurt, appears to increase the good bacterial diversity in the gut. However, please select unsweetened yoghurt because regular sugar consumption may have a detrimental effect on gut diversity.
3. Promotes Bone Health
Yoghurt contains many bone-promoting nutrients, including proteins, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium; these nutrients are essential for bone health.
Many studies also confirmed higher yoghurt intake is linked to greater bone mineral density in older adults while contributing to a better physical fitness in some consumers.
4. Improves The Brain Functioning
Studies show that the probiotics in yoghurt may help reverse depression. The amount of lactobacillus (probiotic bacteria) in the gut affects the blood levels of kynurenine, which is a metabolite known to cause depression.
Research also shows that the composition of gut bacteria can change how the brain functions. Yoghurt contents can even influence how your brain responds to the environment. This means eating yoghurt can help relieve stress and boost your overall mental capacities.
5. Helps Fight Type 2 Diabetes
Fermented foods like yoghurt boost gut health. A study reported that the intake of fermented dairy products such as yoghurt, has been inversely associated with variables of glucose metabolism. The same study concluded that yoghurt consumption, in the context of a healthy dietary pattern, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in healthy and older adults at high cardiovascular risk.
Nutritional profile of Greek yogurt
A tablespoon (around 45g) of plain Greek yogurt contains:
• 60kcal / 248 KJ • 2.6g protein • 4.6g fat • 2.2g carbs • 2.0g sugar • 57mg calcium • 17.6mcg iodine
Yoghurt is a nutrient-rich food that is included in food-based dietary guidelines across the world. Yoghurt can provide a significant amount of key nutrients to the diets of children, adolescents, adults and older adults particularly proteins, calcium, vitamin B12, and phosphorus.
Greek yoghurt is more interesting because it is thicker, richer in proteins and more nutrients as stated above and it also offers a wide variety of potential uses in savoury and sweet recipes.
Be cautious of Low-fat and fat-free varieties of Greek yoghurt as they will be lower in calories (of course) but they may contain more sugar as manufacturers often add sugars or sweeteners to ‘make up’ for the lost flavour when fat is reduced.