Yogurt is not quite as Italian as Pizza of course but I like to use it in my cooking. You can use plain yogurt in place of mayonnaise in salad dressings, you can even mix it up in some pasta dishes or in a cucumber salad. It also goes well with rice and cooked tomatoes, but here I am getting closer to middle Eastern cooking rather than Italian. I personally like salmon sandwiches with yogurt instead of cream cheese. I prefer plain low-fat yogurt.
The Healthful Benefits of Yogurt
The health benefits of yogurt have been cited for centuries, but many people still don’t realize just how valuable yogurt can be to living a healthy lifestyle. Yogurt can actually benefit your health in a variety of ways, and it should definitely be added to your shopping list the next time you head out to the grocery store.
The most outstanding benefit of yogurt comes right from the unique way yogurt is made. Yogurt is simply milk or cream that is cultured with active live cultures. These cultures are the key to many of yogurt’s health benefits. Active live cultures are basically good bacteria that are necessary for the body to function at its best. This good bacteria prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that cause bacterial infections and diseases. Healthy levels of good bacteria also promote digestive health and boost the immune system. Good bacteria prevents imbalances in the body’s yeast levels, which can prevent various types of yeast infections. It has been shown that good bacteria can also prevent urinary tract infections. If you are taking antibiotics, they may be destroying the good bacteria present in your body. Eating yogurt regularly can help restore your good bacteria levels. Active live cultures actually reduce yogurt’s level of lactose, making yogurt a delicious dairy alternative for anyone who is lactose intolerant.
Since yogurt is made from dairy products, it is very high in calcium, which is highly beneficial for bone and teeth health. Calcium is especially important for those seeking to prevent bone density loss and osteoporosis. Healthy levels of calcium can also encourage the body to maintain and lose weight.
Yogurt is also a good source of protein, which helps give the body energy to keep you going throughout the day. Protein is an essential building block for many systems in the body, including your muscles. Protein is also good for curbing your appetite and helping you feel full for a longer period of time.
Yogurt can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways. By adding fruit, berries, granola, nuts, or chocolate candies to your yogurt, you can turn it into a delicious replacement for your usual dessert. You can also substitute yogurt for milk in many recipes for foods like pancakes, waffles, and even pumpkin pie.
When buying yogurt, the more natural the product is, the more beneficial it will be to your health. Organic yogurt is best. Look for yogurt that is low in sugar and without added trans fat or high fructose corn syrup. If you are on a low-fat diet, many brands of yogurt come in low-fat or no-fat versions. Always check the levels of active live cultures in your yogurt. The more active live cultures there are present in your yogurt, the more benefits you will receive from them. Keep in mind that yogurt should be made with pasteurized milk or cream, but any pasteurizing done after the culturing process can kill the active live cultures and keep you from reaping their benefits.
By Elizabeth Walling