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Yo! Why yogurt is a top-rated health food

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Grab a spoon and dig in!

Quick food quiz: How many foods are there that you can count their benefits on two hands? Surely there are some, but one you can definitely count on for (at least) double-fisted health benefits is yogurt!

Woman eating yogurt

Don't you just love the taste of creamy yogurt? How could you not? It's perfect as part of a healthy breakfast, makes a great healthy snack and can even work its way onto your dessert plate! But there is much more to yogurt than its versatility and great taste.

The health benefits of yogurt are outstanding and numerous, and certainly selecting the right type of yogurt (watch for high fat and calorie content) is important, too. Once you figure out the type of yogurt that meets your needs, peel back that lid and enjoy all it has to offer.

Why you should grab a spoon and some yogurt:

Great source of calcium and protein

You've come to the right source if you're looking to add calcium and protein to your diet. Some yogurts have more protein than others (Greek yogurts tend to have much more protein than some traditional yogurts). Read the labels and look for at least eight grams of protein per serving. Yogurt naturally contains calcium, but not all yogurt is created equal. Read the labels to be sure you're getting what you want. For example, yogurt with fruit contains less calcium than plain yogurt since the fruit takes up more space. And get this: Active cultures in yogurt help to increase your body's absorption of calcium.

Probiotics: Good for your gut

Probiotics in yogurt (you might see this as "live active cultures" on your container) are healthy bacteria. The bacteria live in your digestive tract to help keep disease-causing germs at bay. Your gastrointestinal tract is part of your immune system, so keeping it healthy is important. Some companies include additional probiotics to yogurt to help regulate your digestion.

An abs-friendly food

According to Fitness magazine, a study led by nutrition professor Michael Zemel, PhD, from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that eating yogurt might help you lose weight. "Fat around your waist produces the hormone cortisol, which tells your body to accumulate even more belly flab," says Zemel. The calcium from yogurt signals your fat cells to produce less cortisol, which helps you lose weight.

May reduce the risk of high blood pressure

Think about all the salt we consume on a daily basis, sometimes unknowingly (processed food is a big contributor). The potassium found in yogurt helps the body get rid of excess sodium that, over time, can lead to hypertension or heart disease.

Read all about it

Yogurts are different, so to make the most of this fabulous food, be sure to read the ingredients and nutrition labels to stay in check. Look for things like:

  • Artificial sweeteners (whether or not you want them)
  • Added active cultures and probiotics
  • Added vitamin D
  • Fat content (decide if you want whole-milk yogurt, low-fat or nonfat)

From helping you feel full to providing you with a significant source of vitamins to several other benefits (not to mention its great taste), yogurt is the perfect food to have within reach.

Watch: How to make homemade frozen yogurt

Learn how to make frozen yogurt at home without an ice cream maker.

Yummy yogurt recipes to try

Greek yogurt dip
Berry yummy yogurt parfait
Apricot yogurt sundae

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