12 Amazing Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt

Recently people have started to discover the innumerable benefits of Greek yogurt. This article will give you an insight into the benefits of Greek yogurt.

Yogurt consumption during breakfast, lunch, or even dinner has been a staple in many cultures for years. There are many types of yogurts1 available in the market. One of the most famous is Greek yogurt. Thanks to all the health benefits of Greek yogurt, people have finally started to recognize its worth.

Greek yogurt is different from normal yogurt in texture, taste, and nutritional value. Before leaning in towards the benefits of Greek yogurt, let’s learn more about yogurt and its type.

An Overview of Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the dairy products which is obtained by the fermentation process. The fermentation of milk is done by lactic acid bacteria 2(LAB). The lactic acid bacteria convert the lactose sugar content present in the milk into lactic acid under a specific temperature. The lactic acid gives yogurt its distinctive taste.

Yogurt consumption has a wide range of health benefits. It can protect against osteoporosis 3(a condition in which the bones become brittle and weak, leading to a high risk of easy and frequent bone fractures), relieve irritable bowel syndrome (an intestinal disorder that causes pain in the stomach, constipation or diarrhoea, usually affects large intestine), improves the immune system, promotes weight management.

Yogurt consumption can help in enhancing healthy gut bacteria. These healthy gut bacteria thereby promote gut health. Yogurt is high in protein and calcium, which helps muscle mass and bone health. Yogurt is also high in vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin4, potassium, and magnesium. The list goes on and on. However, the amount of nutrients is specific to the type of yogurt consumed.

Types of Yogurts:

Many types of yogurt provide varying levels of nutritional benefits and may be different in taste and texture.

1. Kefir:

Kefir is yogurt in liquid form for drinking. It can be easily made at home by adding kefir grains to milk and leaving it undisturbed to stand for 12 to 24 hours. It is probiotic yogurt.

2. Low Fat or Non-Fat:

Low-fat content yogurt is also known as reduced-fat content yogurt. It is a type of yogurt made with only 2 per cent milk. Non-fat content yogurt is a type of yogurt which is made with zero per cent or skim milk.

3. Frozen Yogurt:

Frozen yogurts are often considered a healthy replacement for ice cream. However, many marketed frozen yogurts have the same amount of sugar content as any other ice cream. Some frozen yogurts may not contain active or live bacteria cultures since they are made from heat-treated yogurt, which kills the live and active cultures.

4. Non-Dairy Yogurt:

Non-dairy yogurt includes soy milk or coconut milk yogurt.

5. Greek Yogurt:

Greek yogurt is thick and creamy in texture. It can withstand heat better than any regular yogurt. It is made by further straining regular yogurt to remove the liquid whey, which means it is a highly concentrated form. Greek yogurt has a higher protein content due to its thicker concentration than regular yogurt. It has lower carbohydrates than any regular yogurt.

However, calcium content is lower than regular yogurt due to the extra straining. The types of Greek yogurt available in the market are full fat, reduced or low fat, and non-fat or zero percent.

6. Skyr:

Skyr is similar to Greek yogurt. It is known as Icelandic-style yogurt.” Skyr is dense and creamy in texture and is also high in protein. Skyr uses 4 times the amount of milk for its formation than any regular yogurt and has 2 to 3 times more protein.

benefits of greek yogurt
Source: By Seva_blsv/ Unlimphotos

In this article, we will discuss in deep about Greek yogurt and will also get to know about the innumerable health benefits of Greek yogurt.

Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt differs from the other available yogurts because it undergoes a straining process that removes the whey (a liquid containing lactose, natural sugars found in milk). Greek yogurt is lower in sugar than any regular yogurt. Removal of the whey produces a thicker, creamier yogurt with a sharp sour taste.

Thanks to the rich taste and several health benefits of Greek yogurt, it has been a popular dairy product. The health benefits of Greek yogurt are discussed below:

1. Nutrients Loaded:

Thanks to the following nutrients in Greek yogurt which are responsible for the health benefits of Greek yogurt:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Probiotics
  • Iodine
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B2

Each nutrient has various health benefits that, in total, add to the overall health benefits of Greek yogurt. The above-listed nutrients improve thyroid function, boost immunity, lower blood pressure, and many more.

2. Promotes Bone Health:

Bone health is one of the enormous health benefits of Greek yogurt. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Most of it is in our skeletal system. It is present at around 1.4% by mass. Hence, the intake of calcium ensures good bone health.

Being high in calcium and protein, Greek yogurt may help reduce the risk of degenerative bone disease like osteoporosis and promote bone health by making the bones denser and less prone to breaking.

Even though Greek yogurt contains a lesser amount of calcium than regular yogurt but it still has enough to promote good bone health when taken regularly.

3. Increases Muscle Mass:

Greek yogurt is highly popular among fitness enthusiasts since it has a higher protein content than regular yogurt. Protein is known as an essential nutrient for muscle mass growth and maintenance. Due to its high protein content, healthy muscles are one of the health benefits of Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt may help in muscle growth and muscle recovery, especially in people doing resistance training. Having a healthy amount of muscle mass and healthy muscles are highly essential for agility.

4. Gut Health:

Gut health is another one of the biggest health benefits of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics which help gut-friendly microbes to flourish in the gut of some people, thereby supporting gut health.

Consumption of probiotics like Greek yogurt may improve your digestive system’s ability to handle a wide range of foods. Greek yogurt helps improve bowel movements, which can be added to the list of benefits of Greek yogurt.

5. Heart Health:

One of the many benefits of Greek yogurt is that it helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Greek yogurt does this by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High cholesterol and triglycerides block or harden the arteries over time, which leads to atherosclerosis.

Greek yogurt may control and bring down cholesterol and triglyceride levels, slowing or reducing heart disease risk.

6. Low Sodium Levels:

A high level of sodium level (via salt) leads to high blood pressure and, in the long run, to hypertension5 which leads to heart diseases and other health issues. One of the benefits of Greek yogurt is that it has 50 per cent less sodium than regular yogurt. Hence, Greek yogurt may help lower blood pressure by decreasing the amount of sodium entering the bloodstream.

7. Reducing the Risk of Diabetes (Type -2 Diabetes):

Studies show that one of the many benefits of Greek yogurt is that it helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Almost 11 studies showed that eating yogurt regularly can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 14%.

8. Encourage Healthy Body Weight:

Protein is the most filling macronutrient, which proves to be one of the best benefits of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt may help to make you feel full for a longer time. You can easily curb your hunger pangs in between meals by adding Greek yogurt to your diet or eating greek yogurt between meals as a snack. It is a much healthier alternative than any bag of chips.

Because Greek yogurt contains low carbohydrates, high in protein, and is very fulfilling, choosing Greek yogurt over less-filling snacks can help you in your journey to avoid weight gain and attain or maintain a healthy body weight.

Increasing dietary protein like Greek yogurt intake can be a very good step in consuming fewer calories, contributing to greater weight loss.

9. A Key to Good Mental Health:

It is not very well known, but one of the many benefits of Greek yogurt is its ability to encourage good mental health.

A study showed that workers who took 100 grams of probiotic Greek yogurt a day in their diet or took a daily probiotic capsule instead experienced much fewer episodes of stress, depression, and anxiety than those who did not.

This is basically because of the relationship between the gut and the brain. The gut can make neurotransmitters such as serotonin6 and dopamine, which are known as feel-good hormones.

10. Versatile to Use and Super Delicious:

Besides being loaded with so many nutrients, Greek yogurt is used in many dishes to add taste. Another one of the many benefits of Greek yogurt is that it goes well with both sweet and savoury recipes.

Greek yogurt can be used to make frozen desserts like yogurt pops which can be eaten as a healthy snack. Greek yogurt is a crucial ingredient in homemade salad dressings. It is a tasty addition to chicken, tuna, and pasta salads. Greek yogurt can also be added to smoothies for protein fulfilment.

11. Boosts Metabolism:

Research suggests that the intake of a high-protein diet may increase the number of calories burnt per day by a person. It is best to include some protein with every meal for a healthy balanced meal.

Eating Greek yogurt as part of a balanced diet with the appropriate amount of protein, fibre, carbohydrates, and healthy fats may help you lose weight and boost your metabolism.

12. Lactose Intolerance Friendly:

People suffering from lactose intolerance can easily enjoy Greek yogurt. As we read earlier, one of the many benefits of Greek yogurt is that it has less lactose sugar than other yogurts, milk, or even ice cream because of its fermentation and straining process.

How Can you eat Greek Yogurt?

As we learned earlier, Greek yogurt’s many benefits are it’s being low in carbs (which is great news if you are struggling with weight gain or have diabetes) and high in protein than other yogurts. Hence, it can be added to food in place of other yogurts to maximize the utilization of the benefits of Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt has a strong fermented taste because it is devoid of most of the liquid. This tangy Greek yogurt taste makes it a great fit for savoury dishes.

Thanks to its rich taste and creamy texture due to its thicker consistency, Greek yogurt can help thicken sauces. You can do that by replacing sour cream (which is high in saturated fats) with Greek yogurt. You can also use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream as a topping for your soups and make them extra healthy.

Other than this, Greek yogurt can be eaten as a sweet dessert or as a breakfast with the addition of sweeteners like honey or fruits like blueberries for natural sweetness and chia seeds. Greek yogurt can be added to smoothies to kick start your day with something healthy. Greek yogurt can also be added to post-workout drinks for extra protein content.

Lastly, as discussed earlier, you can eat Greek yogurt just as a snack between meals. This can help you feel full for a longer duration and help you avoid eating unhealthy snacks between meals.

What to Pay Attention to While Shopping For Greek Yogurt?

The intake of Greek yogurt is primarily for its good health benefits. Therefore, before buying Greek yogurt from a store, there are a few things to remember.

Most Greek yogurt has artificial flavours and added sugar or other sweeteners. For instance, wide Greek yogurt varieties have as much as 16 gm of added sugar, which equals almost 4 tablespoons of sugar.

While it isn’t advisable to cut sugar entirely, there should be a limit to added sugar intake. Too much sugar consumption can lead to health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, and obesity.

To avoid uncontrolled consumption of added sugar, it is smart to buy unsweetened Greek yogurt and add fruits or honey in the right proportion for natural sweetness. This way, you can control sugar intake in your daily diet.

Regarding fat content, Greek yogurt made with whole milk contains more fat and calories than low-fat or fat-free yogurt products. But that doesn’t make Greek yogurt made with whole milk unhealthy. Everything is about balance. The key is to find a balance and not go overboard.

It is wise to always read the labels and nutritional value of Greek yogurt and any food before buying. It helps you become more aware of what you are eating and control the amount per your needs.

Key Takeaways

The list of benefits of Greek yogurt is innumerable. It can be a healthy addition to your daily diet. Being high in protein content and low in carbohydrates makes it a perfect snack for people aiming for weight loss.

Other benefits of Greek yogurt come from other nutrients like calcium, selenium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and many more. Each one serves a specific purpose in a healthy lifestyle. For instance, calcium content helps in bone health.

Greek yogurt is a probiotic yogurt; that is, it helps in the proliferation of healthy gut bacteria, ultimately leading to improved gut health in some people.

Thanks to its low sodium levels, it benefits people suffering from hypertension.

Not to forget, the tangy taste makes Greek yogurt good to use in many dishes. Be it breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even an in-between meal snack, and Greek yogurt can fit anywhere to serve its purpose.

FAQs

1. Which country eats the most yogurt?

Ans. France eats the most yogurt.

2. Can I eat Greek yogurt daily?

Ans. Yes. One or two cups of low fat Greek yogurt can be consumed daily as this will help in diet maintenance.

3. Which yogurt is the healthiest?

Ans. Greek yogurt is the healthiest. It has high protein content and thus it is best for people if they are consuming as a breakfast snack or simply as a snack between meals.

  1. Farag, Mohamed A., et al. “Dissecting yogurt: The impact of milk types, probiotics, and selected additives on yogurt quality.” Food Reviews International 38.sup1 (2022): 634-650. ↩︎
  2. Wang, Yaqi, et al. “Metabolism characteristics of lactic acid bacteria and the expanding applications in food industry.” Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology 9 (2021): 612285. ↩︎
  3. Clynes, Michael A., et al. “The epidemiology of osteoporosis.” British medical bulletin 133.1 (2020): 105-117. ↩︎
  4. Suwannasom, Nittiya, et al. “Riboflavin: the health benefits of a forgotten natural vitamin.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21.3 (2020): 950. ↩︎
  5. Mills, Katherine T., Andrei Stefanescu, and Jiang He. “The global epidemiology of hypertension.” Nature Reviews Nephrology 16.4 (2020): 223-237. ↩︎
  6. Moncrieff, Joanna, et al. “The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence.” Molecular psychiatry 28.8 (2023): 3243-3256. ↩︎

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Saima Qureshi

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