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Yogurt is a dairy product known to scientists as lactobacillus bulgaricus. Made from fermented milk and live cultures, yogurt is a well-known probiotic that’s essential to gut health among other health benefits. A staple food in several cultures such as Western Asia and the Middle East, yogurt comes in flavored, plain, and Greek-style varieties. The perfect base for sauces, parfait, and smoothies, yogurt can be eaten whole or as an additive or base to other recipes. Best of all, yogurt is highly nutritious and has many wonderful health benefits. Take a look!
Important Note: As with all scientifically backed articles, this one is based on the most current available research at the time of its publication.
Rich in Beneficial Nutrients
By now you know that yogurt is one very healthy dairy product. But just what nutrients are contained in a serving of yogurt? For starters, yogurt is rife with many essential nutrients that your body depends on. Yogurt is packed with calcium, including a whopping 49% of your daily recommended intake, which is integral to bone and dental health. Additionally, it has a hearty amount of both B12 and riboflavin, both of which contribute to heart and fetal health. Other essential vitamins and minerals found in yogurt include phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium at 28%, 10%, and 12% of the daily recommended value respectively. Finally, although it’s not naturally occurring in yogurt, vitamin D is often fortified in yogurt.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. With many significant vitamins and minerals that contribute to the health of some of your biological functions, yogurt is highly nutritious and worth including in your diet.
Packed With Protein
Yogurt is a protein-packed food choice; with about 12 grams of protein per serving, yogurt is a great energy booster. Notably, a protein-packed diet is integral to supporting your metabolism, appetite regulation, and hormone production. One important study concluded that subjects who regularly enjoyed yogurt at mealtime consumed far fewer calories per meal than those who didn’t, suggesting that yogurt’s protein content reduces appetite. What’s more, some varieties have an even more profound effect on appetite; Greek yogurt, for instance, is a thicker variety that contains more protein and will leave you even fuller than regular yogurt. In fact, Greek yogurt can successfully stave off hunger better than any other dairy product.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Undoubtedly, both regular and Greek yogurt varieties are packed with protein that is essential to generating energy, producing hormones, and managing appetite.
Beneficial to Gut and Digestive Health
Most yogurts are made with a live bacteria culture known as a probiotic that’s beneficial to both digestive and gut health. To benefit from the probiotic effect of yogurt, it’s important to read the labels; some yogurts are pasteurized, a heating process that diminishes or kills the live bacteria rendering its benefits reduced. If you’re specifically hoping to improve digestive or gut health, be sure to purchase yogurt containing “live cultures.” Notably, the probiotics in yogurt can ameliorate the discomfort of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms as well as protect your stomach against constipation or diarrhea caused by some prescription medicines; if you’ve ever been told by a doctor to consume yogurt with your antibiotics, this is why.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. Unfortunately, not all yogurts are created equal; be sure to purchase varieties made with live cultures to best benefit from yogurt’s support of digestive and gut health.
Good For Immunity
If you’re eating yogurt with those all-important probiotics, you might even be helping out your immune system. Not only do probiotics restrict inflammation which is connected to reducing the risk for several chronic illnesses, but they’ve also been linked to reducing incidences of the common cold as well as the severity of cold symptoms. Additionally, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are contained in yogurt in small amounts; these minerals are integral to immune health so incorporating yogurt into your diet is another way to improve this bodily function. Finally, yogurts that are fortified with vitamin D can purportedly stave off the common cold and flu.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. While probiotics are conclusively advantageous to immunity, the aforementioned minerals as well as the vitamin D are only available in yogurt in trace amounts; as such, it’s not certain that there’s enough in a single serving of yogurt per day to affect immunity; it can’t hurt though.
Improves Heart Health
While full-fat yogurt contains saturated fats which have been historically linked to an increased risk of heart disease, low-fat and fat-free varieties may act adversely. Interestingly, however, some studies suggest even the full-fat yogurts that contain saturated fats are better for you than saturated fats in processed meats for example. Essentially, the saturated fat source is an important consideration. Furthermore, dairy products such as yogurts have been linked to lowering blood pressure which is important to stave off heart disease.
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. Unfortunately, the research regarding the saturated fat content in full-fat yogurt versus the lack thereof in low- and fat-free varieties is conflicting; it seems more research is indicated. However, the link between dairy products and lowered blood pressure is confirmed.
Supportive of Weight Management
If you’re looking for a high-protein meal or snack option consider adding yogurt to your weight-loss and -management plan. Together with calcium, protein works to create energy (a bonus if you’re adding a workout to your routine) and suppress your appetite; essentially, the combination of protein and calcium give you a filling of satiated hunger or fullness for a longer duration than other options. One fascinating study suggests that eating full-fat dairy products such as yogurt is linked to a reduced incidence of obesity. A subsequent study suggests that individuals who simply choose yogurt over more fattening options are less likely to gain weight than those who do not; this likely has to do with how nutritious yogurt is.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. Certainly, yogurt is higher in calories than other dairy foods, but its nutrient-rich composition as well as the protein and calcium content, make it an excellent choice for weight management.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
Good For Dental Health
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. While the calcium content in yogurt is what’s credited with being advantageous to dental health, it’s not enough to improve dental enamel and health in and of itself.
Regulates Blood Sugar
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. The notion that regular consumption of yogurt may regulate blood sugars in diabetics is a new one; simply, more research is needed.