The nutritional value of Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt

Low-fat or fat-free varieties of Greek yogurt will be lower in calories (and of course, fat) but bear in mind that they may also contain more sugar – manufacturers often add sugars or sweeteners to ‘make up for the lost flavour when fat is reduced

Top 10 health benefits of Greek yogurt

1. A good source of protein

Thanks to the straining process used to make regular Greek yogurt it is an especially good source of bio-available protein, with approximately 5.7g of protein per 100g.

2. Useful source of iodine

Being a dairy product Greek yogurt provides iodine, a mineral important for health. Iodine is essential for thyroid function, as well as for growth and metabolism.

Mums-to-be has additional needs for this mineral because it’s important for the development of the baby’s brain during pregnancy and is also needed when breastfeeding.

3. May support bone health

Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus – minerals essential for bone health. Indeed, studies suggest that diets that include foods, like yogurt, may support bone mineral density.

When combined with lifestyle factors, like a resistance exercise programme, yogurt may help support bone strength by reducing bone resorption.

4. May support gut health

Greek yogurt that is labelled ‘contains live cultures’, provides beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, which when eaten regularly may support gut health. This is because regular inclusion of fermented foods, including yogurt, appears to increase the microbial diversity of the gut. However, be sure to select unsweetened yogurt because sugar may have a detrimental effect on the bacterial community living in your gut.

5. May support immunity

The beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods, including yogurt, may support immunity. It does this in a number of ways – firstly by increasing the production of immune cells like natural killer cells, strengthening the lining of the gut and inhibiting the growth of harmful strains of bacteria.

Greek yogurt is also a good source of immune-supportive nutrients like zinc and selenium.

6. May support muscle recovery after exercise

The high protein content of Greek yogurt makes it an ideal post-exercise snack or component of a meal. This is because its
bio-available protein may promote muscle repair and recovery, especially for those involved in resistance training.

7. May support a healthy body weight

Being rich in protein and calcium, Greek yogurt may help you feel more satisfied after eating. This is because this combination of nutrients helps to increase levels of appetite-suppressing hormones. Including yogurt in your diet is also associated with a lower body weight, body fat percentage and waist circumference.

A versatile ingredient, Greek yogurt can play a useful part in boosting the protein contribution of meals like breakfast, as well as snacks. For more inspiration check out our Greek yogurt recipes.

8. May benefit heart health

Including yogurt in your diet may help to reduce cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, to date, findings are mixed and more research is needed.

9. May reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

Eating yogurt regularly appears to be associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although this effect was not seen with other dairy foods.

10. May support mood

Studies suggest that a serving of yogurt (100g) daily may be beneficial for mood and outlook. This is likely to be because of
the relationship between the beneficial bacteria in our gut and the role they play in producing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

A tablespoon (45g) of plain Greek yogurt (whole) provides:

• 60 kcals/248 kj
• 2.6g protein
• 4.6g fat
• 2.2g carbs
• 2.0g sugar
• 57mg calcium
• 17.6mcg iodine

/Greek yogurt popularity soars; market worth more than 45 billion