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The Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt

11. November 2012

I have a confession to make.  I am a snob.  A yogurt snob.  It hasn’t always been that way.  For years, whatever brand of good ole American yogurt was on sale – Dannon, Yoplait, Albertson’s was fine with me. 

No more.  Reluctantly, but with good reason, I have joined the ranks of millions of other “snobs,” for whom the only yogurt is Greek!  And why not?  The rich, creamy, slightly tart treat is not only yummy.  It’s high in nutritional value.

Going Greek wasn’t easy.  The thicker texture and tangier taste took a little getting used to.  But today, I’m hooked on the creamy, dreamy dairy product that does more than just curb your hunger.

Here are just a few of the health benefits of Greek yogurt:

Greek yogurt is packed with protein

Unlike regular yogurt, Greek yogurt goes through an extensive straining process that removes much of yogurt’s watery whey.  As a result, it’s much thicker and richer than regular yogurt.  According to Palomar Health registered dietitian Halle Elbling, it’s also more filling. “Generally, a six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains 14 to 20 grams of protein,” says Elbling. “Regular yogurt averages five to nine grams.”

Greek yogurt is a tasty source of calcium

Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, which is key to bone and teeth health, as well as heart and nerve function. Since calcium levels can vary from yogurt to yogurt, Elbling recommends reading labels so you know exactly how much of the mineral you’re getting.

Greek yogurt is good for your gut

Probiotics in Greek yogurt can not only improve your digestive health and keep the bacteria in your gut healthy, they can also boost your immune system and keep you well.  Make sure the yogurt you choose has “live and active cultures” on the label.

Greek yogurt is indulgent

Thicker than traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt swirled with fresh fruit and a little honey is like a decadent dessert! When you’re craving comfort food, Greek yogurt can satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your diet.  (Just keep an eye on the sugar content.  Some yogurts can be like candy in a cup!)

Greek yogurt is versatile

OK…this tip is from me! 

I found Greek yogurt can really satisfy my hunger, so it makes a great snack. I love it after a swim or when I need a pick-me-up. But because it’s so versatile, it’s perfect with fruit and cereal at breakfast, delicious with a salad at lunch or added to salad dressing at dinner. 

Finally, if you need one more reason to go Greek here’s a bonus benefit – fewer carbs and less sugar and sodium.  This delicious, decadent dessert and snack is also a nutritional rock star! I’ve covered a lot of food fads over the years but I’ve got a hunch this one’s here to stay.  

These days, when it comes to yogurt it’s Oikos, Chobani and Fage…and it’s all Greek to me!

 

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.