Yogurt has been frequently advertised in the past decade as a great new addition to diet that is important and beneficial for health. Yogurt does contain many very useful nutrients and can be a great help in obtaining vitamins and probiotics, but it should be well-considered for all that it is. Below we discuss some of the potential benefits and negative aspects of yogurt.
Yogurt contains probiotics:
Yogurt actually contain good bacteria or probiotics, that are helpful for aiding digestion in the intestines. Good bacteria is the same type of thing found in probiotics, which actually break down parts of your diet that your body cannot. These good bacteria are typically acquired due to different things in our diet such as yogurts that contain live and active cultures. They can affect how long it takes for food to go through the bowel and are especially helpful after a case of diarrhea or a recent dose of antibiotics . Yogurt is also very high in protein, which can also benefit healthy digestion. Greek yogurts tend to be higher in protein and lower in sugar overall.
For most of the benefits listed above, yogurt has to contain active cultures and probiotics, otherwise it will not help with digestion at all. It is also important to realize that not many studies have been done on the benefits, proper usage, and risks of using probiotics regularly. Also, the mechanism in which probiotics affect the immune system is not well understood at all and may much more complicated than is currently suggested.
Yogurt is also made from milk and contains many of the same vitamins. It contains things like vitamin D, calcium, B-2, B-12, potassium, and magnesium. Thanks to the calcium and vitamin D, yogurt is very beneficial for preventing osteoporosis. Some types of yogurt do not actually contain any vitamin D, so make sure to check the label carefully if bone health is your goal. This is also a quick and easy way for people who cannot drink milk to get some of the same healthy benefits of milk, since yogurt does not contain lactose and can be easily digested.
Yogurt can affect blood pressure:
Yogurt can be beneficial for reducing the risk of blood pressure. One study showed a decrease for high blood pressure for those consuming low fat dairy 2-3 times a day. However, it is also important to note that some yogurts does have an increased amount of sodium. Sodium can actually put you at risk of increased blood pressure so should be carefully considered in at risk people and those with a daily diet that is already high in salt.
Yogurt decreases risk of UTIs:
In women and young girls, yogurt has been suggested to lower the risk for urinary tract infections in those with diabetes. The use of yogurt regularly is thought to decrease the pH of the urinary tract in diabetic women back to normal and decreasing the risk for infections.
Yogurt is a Low fat snack:
Finally, yogurt is not just great for a snack, it can also be used to substitute for many other ingredients in regular cooking and baking. It can be a great substitute for everything from sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise, to butter. Because of that, it is often touted as an easy way to decrease calories in a dish. However, one thing to keep in mind is that in spite of its benefits, yogurt can be very high in sugar and in fat. Many flavors of yogurt have up to 70% of calories from sugar. These high concentrations of sugar (high glycemic index) can be either artificial sweeteners or natural, but either way can add up quickly. Sugar is tied to higher triglycerides, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
So is yogurt good or bad for you? I think, just like most of the things we eat it has both benefits and negative consequences and if used in moderation can be very beneficial overall.