Oh Muslimah, Top Ten Reasons to add Yogurt to your Diet
Yogurt is a food growing in popularity throughout the world. But is it worthwhile to add it to your diet? Here are some reasons to consider eating yogurt daily.
- Calcium. Yogurt is full of calcium. We need calcium because we have a certain level of it in our bones; in fact, calcium is the majority of the minerals in our bodies. If we don’t have enough, we get weak bones. The majority of yogurts is a great source of calcium.
- Vitamins. The vitamins B-2 (riboflavin), B-6, and B-12 are present in most yogurts. These vitamins help with metabolism and energy. Meaning that if you want to lose weight, or keep your energy level up, yogurt is a great choice.
- Helps digest lactose. Yogurt’s lactose is broken down in the process of making it, so even if you’re lactose intolerant, you can probably eat yogurt. It also contains live bacteria, which will help with digesting lactose as well. So, if you need calcium and the other things that come with yogurt, but have a hard time digesting lactose, yogurt is still a good choice for you.
- Probiotics. According to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, the intestinal microflora (meaning the bacteria and other microscopic creatures) is improved by the bacteria present in yogurt. The digestion is aided, and it is a suggested that it also helps protect against colon cancer. It also means that there are less infections. Of course, you have to get yogurt with live culture to get the full effects; this means the bacteria is still living and can still be added to your digestive tract. Otherwise, you can get yogurt that has had all the bacteria killed in it, but that won’t have the same probiotic effect.
- It’s versatile. Yogurt can be used in many different recipes. It can used as a sauce, or as a snack all on its own. It can also be used in smoothies, drinks, and dishes. It can be served as curds or as a semi-solid. It can even be served like a cheese, depending on what kind you get. You can also do things like mix yogurt into your cereal, use it for dips instead of sour cream or mayonnaise, or use it in baking to add moisture, such as to a cake.
- It can be low in fat. It can even be fat free; yogurt with low fat or no fat is sold in many places. If your diet requires you avoid too much fat, yogurt is a great replacement for other snacks. Most of the time, the yogurt is not as creamy and rich if it’s fat free, but Greek yogurt is a good choice if you prefer creamy. However, fat in yogurt is not a bad thing; it’s been shown to protect against cancer, as well as helping the immune system to fight off sickness. Also, more fat means it’s a more filling food, and fat is important for brain function.
- It’s filling. Yogurt, such as the Indian lassi drink, is recommended for weight loss diets because it will keep you from being hungry. If you need something filling as a snack, yogurt is good because it will take away hunger pangs, and keep you from being hungry later, unlike other snacks. It’s a good deal as compared to say, a salad, because you need less to fill you up.
- It can be low in sugar. If you get unsweetened yogurt, you can have a fairly low amount of sugar. All yogurt will have some natural sugar due to having milk in it, but yogurt without added sugar (or with a sugar replacement) is a good choice for someone who is diabetic or trying to cut sugar out of their diet. It tastes sour, but it is very healthy for you. You get more of the benefits of yogurt without all the added sugar and flavorings.
- It might help with longevity. Studies in Bulgaria, where a lot of yogurt is eaten, show that Bulgarians live longer than average. It’s been linked to all the cultured milk products they eat, including yogurt. So all those good nutrients and the good bacteria may mean living longer.
- Protein. Yogurt tends to have more protein than milk if it’s commercially produced, because nonfat dry milk is added in. Even if it’s not commercially produced, yogurt has all the protein of milk, which is a lot. Protein is important because we need it for muscle, both maintaining and building. Since you can’t store extra protein in your body, it’s important to get the right amount of protein every day.