You see your coworkers snacking on it with fruit and granola, and children squeezing it out of a tube or drinking it in liquid form. Yogurt — why is everyone so obsessed with it? Forget the fact that it’s a low-calorie, low-fat, handy snack to keep on hand. There are also proven health benefits to reaching for this dairy treat, including aiding weight loss or weight maintenance.
Early this year, Time magazine reported on a study conducted at the Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada, in which obese women lost more weight overall in 12 weeks when taking a probiotic pill. Probiotics, which can be found in yogurt, help adjust the microflora in your stomach, helping with your immune system and with digestion. Yogurts with labels that say “live and active cultures” contain these healthy bacteria and not only seem to help with digestion, but also your metabolism, scientists say. In addition, yogurt seems to keep snackers fuller longer, according to another study.
And don’t forget about the other benefits to a good daily serving of dairy (with yogurt, a 6-ounce serving should do it). With such nutrients as calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium and magnesium, yogurt packs a lot of punch into a little cup.
Osteoporosis and high blood pressure are two more ailments that yogurt can help fight. The calcium and vitamin D helps strengthen your bones, whereas the calcium, magnesium and potassium aid in lowering blood pressure, according to a Health.com. A study reported on WebMD.com showed that the chance of developing high blood pressure was reduced by 50% in people who ate two to three servings of low-fat dairy a day. While in this study, conducted in Spain, the participants generally drank milk, researcher Alvaro Alonso, M.D. PhD, with the Harvard School of Public Health, believes the same effect can be achieved with low-fat yogurt.
So not only can yogurt help with gastrointestinal issues, such as lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease, but it’s also likely to aid with major health problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.
Bonus tip: WebMD.com recommends adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into your yogurt to add roughly 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of plant omega-3s. It’s an easy addition that you’re not even likely to notice!