Packed with protein

Greek yogurt also called strained yogurt merely is yogurt that has been strained in a cloth, or filter to remove any excess liquid. What’s left is a thicker creamier, rich yogurt which is packed with protein, with less sugar, more carbs, and a tart taste. The acidity makes it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients.

From my recent trip to Lindos castle in Rhodes

The down-side of the straining process means that some of the calcium is removed with the liquid whey. Regular yogurt has about 10% more calcium than Greek yogurt, so if calcium is your requirement, consider sticking with regular yogurt.

Strained yogurt is generally marketed in Britain as “Greek-style yoghurt” because UK law does not allow the title ‘Greek Yogurt” without actually coming from Greece. [1] Worldwide consumption of Greek Yogurt is on the increase. [2] No wonder when you look at the health benefits.

Probiotics are essential for your gut health

Healthy bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract

Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics. [3] [4] [5] [6] Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can help boost your immune system and decrease stomach issues, such as diarrhoea and pain.

It takes approximately four pounds of raw milk to produce one pound of Greek yogurt, whereas regular yogurt is more of a 1:1 ratio. Greek yogurt also typically ends up lower in carbohydrates and sodium. A lower level of carbohydrates means less lactose, the sugar in dairy products that can upset stomachs (lactose intolerance), making it easier to digest as well as ideal for diabetics and those naturally sensitive to dairy. [7] [10] [11]

Protein is the key component of Greek yogurt because it helps transfers substances, such as oxygen, across cell membranes and it helps the repair of injured or stressed tissue after strenuous exercise, which is why it is popular in sports people. You’ll need more protein to maintain muscle mass as you age. For adults 65 years old or older, the amount of protein needed increases to between 1 and 1.2 grams per kilogram a day, according to the Mayo Clinic. Muscles like the quads are great shock-absorbers, and as they waste with age stress can build around the connective tissue of knee joints instead. If you are reducing red meat, then Greek yogurt can form part of your protein replacement diet. An average serving, depending on the brand, can have 12 to 17.3 grams of protein.

Vitamin B-12

Greek yogurt also contains vitamin B-12 for red blood cells to form, brain functions and DNA synthesis. One serving of Greek yogurt can have up to 21.3 per cent of your daily value. If you want to sweeten it up add organic honey (I recommend Manuka honey for its healing properties. The higher the percentage, the better – but it can be expensive), cinnamon, or some fresh berries and nuts for a delicious and healthy treat. Adding it to my morning serial sets me up for the day.
Greek yogurt does have some calcium. Calcium is key to building strong muscles and helping your vital organs function. Your body also doesn’t produce calcium on its own. Without enough calcium, children may not grow as tall as possible, and adults can be at risk for osteoporosis. A serving of Greek yogurt has 18.7 per cent of your daily value for calcium. Greek yogurt is an excellent option for older adults who want to maintain their bone health.

One serving of Greek yogurt can have up to 6.8 per cent of your daily potassium intake value. Potassium helps lower blood pressure and balance out the sodium levels in your body (Take a look at my blog on dark chocolate for more about the benefits of potassium). If you have high sodium levels or a diet high in sodium, you may want to eat foods high in potassium so that your body can pass the excess sodium when you go to the bathroom.

Greek yogurt is also an excellent source of iodine. Your body doesn’t naturally make iodine, so it’s important to get enough through the foods you eat. Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function, and the thyroid is critical for healthy metabolism. Some people can be iodine deficient, which can cause serious problems, including rapid fluctuations in weight. For people with weight problems, increasing iodine levels in their diet increase the thyroid’s activity and, in turn, increases their metabolism promoting weight loss.

Keeping your waist in check

With long-term weight gain, being a massive issue in the Western world, [8] [9] the best yogurt to buy is the plain, unsweetened, low-fat, kind with the least number of additives. Add fresh berries, honey and granola to sweeten up your serving. This way you can know what’s in your food and keep your choices as healthy as possible.
In summary, Greek yogurt has these health benefits:

  • Protein
  • Probiotics
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Potassium
  • Iodine
  • Weight control

References

  1. BBC: ‘Greek’ yoghurt Chobani firm loses legal battle, 29 January 2014. In Britain, the name “Greek” may only be applied to yoghurt made in Greece.
  2. Fisberg, M., and Machado, R. History of yogurt and current patterns of consumption. Nutr Rev. (2015) 73 (suppl_1): 4-7.
  3. Marco, M.L., et al. Health benefits of fermented foods: microbiota and beyond. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. Volume 44, April 2017, pp 94–102.
  4. Walsh, J.C., et al. Beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota. FEBS Lett. 2014 Nov 17; 588(22):4120-30.
  5. Albenberg, L.G., and Wu, G.D. Diet and the Intestinal Microbiome: Associations, Functions, and Implications for Health and Disease. Gastroenterology. Volume 146, Issue 6, May 2014, pp 1564–72.
  6. Jeffrey, I.B., and O’Toole, P.W. Diet-Microbiota Interactions and Their Implications for Healthy Living. Nutrients. 2013, 5 (1), 234-52.
  7. Lisko, D.J. et al. Effects of Dietary Yogurt on the Healthy Human Gastrointestinal (GI) Microbiome. Microorganisms. 2017 Feb 15;5(1).
  8. Mozaffarian, D., et al. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men. N Engl J Med. 2011; 364: 2392-404.
  9. Ivey, K.L., et al. Association between yogurt, milk, and cheese consumption and common carotid artery intima-media thickness and cardiovascular disease risk factors in elderly women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul;94(1):234-9.
  10. Margolis, K.L., et al. A diet high in low-fat dairy products lowers diabetes risk in postmenopausal women. J Nutr. 2011 Nov;141(11):1969-74.
  11. Chen, Mu, et al. Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. BMC medicine.1 (2014): 215.

 

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