Making yogurt part of your healthy habits

Making yogurt part of your healthy habits

Making yogurt part of your healthy habits

Dr. Brendan Egan, examines the benefits of Yogurt in a balanced diet and examines ways to incorporate it into your healthy habits.  

Yogurt has been a part of the human diet for several millennia. Produced in its simplest form, yogurt involves nothing more than milk, heat, and some harmless (and maybe even beneficial) bacterial cultures. Yet despite this simplicity, yogurt is a nutrition powerhouse. With the exception of dietary fibre, yogurt provides impressive amounts of most nutrients including protein, healthy fats, probiotics and several vitamins and minerals. As a food eaten daily, this profile means that yogurt is associated with several impressive benefits over and above those provided by other dairy foods.

Simplicity and versatility make it a popular food in Ireland, with the recent Bord Bia Consumer Insight reporting that over 75% of the Irish population frequently eat yogurt. Data from the National Adult Nutrition Survey (NANS) suggest that as Irish adults we are eating, on average, about 75 grams of yogurt per day.

Studies that have shown health benefits of yogurt typically report benefits of eating one to three portions per day, assuming, of course, that this is part of calorie-appropriate, healthy eating habits. As you might expect, the range of intake across the population is quite large, but to put a 75 gram portion in context: most yogurt comes in small (100 gram), medium (125/150 gram) and large (450/500 gram) pots. 

 

Making yogurt part of your healthy habits

For members of the population who suffer from lactose intolerance, yogurt tends to be better tolerated than other dairy products because the fermentation process breaks down some of the lactose, the main sugar in dairy foods. Another source of dairy intolerance can be cow’s milk protein allergy, but choosing a goat’s milk yogurt variety can often get around this, and allow you to enjoy yogurt without issue. Because of the many benefits and nutrient-rich profile, it is worth making the effort to include yogurt in your diet.

From a culinary point of view, with the many different types of yogurt, the choice of one over the other may depend on factors such as the recipe that you are making [BE7] and your taste preference, or on your energy needs, activity levels and training goals[BE8] .

Yogurt is extremely versatile and is excellent for making smoothies, desserts, dips and salad dressings if you are a more creative type in the kitchen, but also great for many types of simple snack. Using plain natural yogurt as base, a wide range of ingredients can be combined in order to add great taste and variety to your diet. These can include fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, banana, and apple; whole or milled nuts and seeds; or more flavoursome and adventurous ingredients like honey, cinnamon, shredded coconut, raw cocoa nibs, or granola.

In practice, these combinations are almost endless, so there are so many ways to enjoy the taste and benefits of yogurt daily.

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