What is Greek yogurt?
Greek, or strained, yogurt isn’t just a fad. This dairy product, which is different from regular, sweeter yogurt, has quadrupled in production from 2008 to 2013. Greek yogurt makers add an extra step to their process so that excess water, lactose, and minerals drain out. What’s left is a creamy, rich yogurt with less sugar, more carbs, and a tart taste. The acidity also makes it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients.
Plain Greek yogurt is a nutrient-packed snack that has many health benefits. Read on to discover the benefits of adding Greek yogurt to your diet.
1. Improving bone health
Eating Greek yogurt may improve bone health, as it is rich in calcium and protein.
Calcium promotes bone health and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease. Consuming enough protein is also vital for bone health.
2. Reducing appetite and hunger
Greek yogurt is protein-rich, so it may help people feel fuller for longer. Research suggests that people may eat less throughout the day after a meal that is high in protein.
A further study found that increasing dietary protein lead people to consume fewer calories overall, which contributed to greater weight loss.
3. Boosting metabolism
Research suggests that eating a high-protein diet may increase the number of calories a person burns per day. It is best to include some protein with every meal.
Despite its protein content, eating Greek yogurt alone is unlikely to make a person burn more calories.
But eating Greek yogurt, as part of a balanced diet that includes enough protein, fibrous carbohydrates, and healthful fats may aid weight loss and boost metabolism.
4. Improving gut health
Greek yogurt is a source of probiotics that support gut health.
Greek yogurt contains probiotics. These are good bacteria that may restore a healthy bacterial balance within the gut.
But recent research raises questions about these benefits. It is possible that not everyone responds to probiotics in the same way.
A study suggests that some people’s guts are resistant to the benefits of probiotics while others are more receptive.
5. Encouraging good mental health
Research suggests that consuming probiotic yogurt is beneficial for a person’s mental health.
A 2016 study found that workers who ate 100 grams of probiotic yogurt a day or took a daily probiotic capsule experienced less stress, depression, and anxiety than those who did not.
This effect is likely due to the relationship between the gut and brain, and the ability of the gut to make neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine.
6. Building muscle mass
Protein-rich foods, such as Greek yogurt, may help build muscle mass. Research shows that a high-protein diet may increase muscle mass in people doing resistance training.
7. Lowering blood pressure
Greek yogurt is a form of probiotic fermented milk that may lower blood pressure.
A 2013 meta-analysis of 14 studies, involving more than 700 participants, found that fermented milk with probiotics helped reduce blood pressure.
However, research is not conclusive. Another study from 2015, involving 156 overweight participants, found that eating probiotic yogurt did not affect blood pressure and other cardiovascular risks.
8. Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
Greek yogurt may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, a condition that affects how the body processes blood sugar.
Researchers linked eating more yogurt, although not other dairy products, to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a 2014 study.
How to eat Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is an excellent topping for chili.
There are many ways to enjoy Greek yogurt, including:
- as a breakfast or dessert bowl with banana and blueberries
- as a topping for chili instead of sour cream
- as a topping for soups instead of cream
- as a spread on crackers or bread instead of butter
- as an addition to a pasta sauce for extra creaminess
Strained Greek yogurt made in a traditional way may be beneficial for a person’s health.
Many of the potential health benefits of Greek yogurt relate to its high protein content. A protein-rich diet may help reduce hunger, boost metabolism, and build muscle.
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, which can help improve bone health. It also contains probiotics, which support a healthy bacterial balance in the gut.
Eating Greek yogurt may be associated with lower blood pressure and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.