Greek Yogurt - Nutritional & Health Benefits
Do you like Greek yogurt? If you ask me, Greek yogurt is the one thing I could never stop eating. When I was a baby, I was not eating the baby food that all normal kids would eat back then, but (as you can see from the photo) I was eating Greek yogurt, a looooot of Greek yogurt. Now that I am all grown up, I eat it for breakfast with oats or in my chia pudding, I eat it with my lunch and my veggies, in my souvlaki, I eat it as a snack with a drizzle of honey, or even for dinner with fruits and nuts. I just love it. You can eat it raw, cook it, make a dessert out of it – it is so diverse and so healthy!
But what is the difference between Greek yogurt and “regular” yogurt? Basically, there is one extra step added in the process of the making of Greek yogurt. Its production starts the same way as of “regular” yogurt by fermenting the milk with healthy live bacteria cultures, but then it’s strained to remove the liquid whey, resulting in a thicker consistency than “regular” yogurt, with more protein, less lactose, more calcium, and a tart taste.
Let’s see what the nutritional and health benefits of eating Greek yogurt are:
- Greek yogurt is packed with protein. Protein is essential for a good health. It is vital for cell growth, building muscles, and repairing the tissues. Greek yogurt is a great way to increase your protein intake regardless if you follow a plant-based diet or not.
- Greek yogurt is loaded with probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are present in certain foods. They can enhance the body’s digestive system by improving the gut flora especially for people who suffer from bowel conditions, stomach issues, diarrhea etc. Increased probiotic intake helps to maintain a proper balance of good bacteria in your body, otherwise, too much bad bacteria can build up and cause damage to the immune systems.
- Greek yogurt is high in calcium, phosphorus, and contains some vitamin D, a perfect combination of strong and healthy bones and teeth. Bone support is important throughout our lives, for children to grow up, menopausal women to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and aging adults avoid breaking bones.
- Greek yogurt is rich in vitamin B-12, necessary for the formation of red blood cells, brain functions, and DNA synthesis. Vegetarians often lack vitamin B-12 because that vitamin is naturally found in food such as fish, meat, and egg and therefore Greek yogurt is an excellent meat/egg-free way to add B-12 in your diet.
To sum up, Greek yogurt is packed with protein, probiotics, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B-12, which makes it a great dietary addition for all ages and for vegetarians.
*Of course, when I say Greek yogurt, I mean plain Greek yogurt with no additives or sugar.