the benefits of yogurtHealth Benefits of Yogurt

Yogurt helps maintain a healthy digestive system. According to the US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, the benefits of yogurt include gut-friendly bacteria that can protect you against several gastrointestinal conditions including constipation, diarrhea, H. pylori infection, lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colon cancer as well.

Did you know that yogurt is one of the basic components of the Mediterranean diet? This tasty, nutritious and ready to eat food product has become so popular in recent years that it has nearly overtaken the aisles of the dairy section of virtually every supermarket in the country. What makes yogurt so popular and why should you start adding it into your Mediterranean diet? Well, here are some valid reasons why.

What makes yogurt this effective in promoting better gastrointestinal health? Research indicates that yogurt brings about all these healthy changes by enhancing the existing microflora in the digestive tract and the body’s immune system.

It helps improve bone health. Yogurt contains significant amounts of calcium and vitamin D, two of the most important nutrients needed for better bone health. Research proved that it plays a significant role in improving bone mass regardless of a person’s age, especially if it contains more than the recommended Daily Value of vitamin D which is currently set at 400 IU for people between the ages 51 to 70.

It may help maintain your blood pressure level at a healthier range. Did you know that people who regularly eat about two to three servings of low fat dairy products per day are at a lower risk of developing high blood pressure than those who do not? Well, this is definitely some good news considering the number of people who are suffering from high blood pressure at present.

The active cultures in yogurt may help prevent vaginal infections. Women with diabetes are extremely susceptible to vaginal infections. However, according to the results of a recent study involving diabetic women suffering from chronic Candida vaginitis infection, eating yogurt with active cultures can effectively put the disease under control. Additionally, the vaginal pH of these women dropped from 6.0 to about 4.0 which is considered to be the normal pH.

It can help you feel full. If you are trying to lose some weight or want to maintain your weight at a healthier range, adding yogurt to your daily Mediterranean diet can prove to be a lot of help. According to the results of a survey conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle, having yogurt for snack can help you feel fuller for longer.

In a test involving 16 men and 16 women, those who ate yogurt reported higher fullness ratings and lower hunger ratings as compared to those who snacked on yogurt in drinkable form, peach flavoured dairy beverage and peach juice.

So, what makes yogurt a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition? Well, aside from being a significant source of calcium and vitamin D, it also contains a good amount of good active bacteria which are essential for good health. It is also a good source of animal proteins, vitamins B2 and B12, potassium and magnesium.

Taking all these things into consideration, we can safely rely on the fact that yogurt is included in the revised Mediterranean diet pyramid for a reason. However, you should also consider that you should consume it in moderation.

To help you make this a lot easier, start your Mediterranean meals with foods containing high amounts of dietary fiber to help you feel fuller more quickly and limit your yogurt intake to one serving per meal. Remember, everything that is taken in excess can be detrimental to your health, no matter how healthy it may be.

Start adding yogurt to your Mediterranean diet starting today and see the positive difference it can make. I assure you, you will thank me for it!

Here’s to your better health,

Ray Baker