Global Health Asia-Pacific March 2022 March 2022 - Page 18

Holistic Health

What ’ s the deal with yogurt ?

Plain versions have lots of positives

Yogurt is a creamy snack that comes with several health benefits . For starters , it boosts the immune system by contributing to a strong microbiota , the host of gut microorgnanisms , like good bacteria , that helps fight diseases . These bacteria can regulate the digestive system while decreasing constipation and bloating . In addition , yogurt was shown effective in decreasing the incidence and duration of diarrhoea associated with antibiotic therapy , according to a US study .

It ’ s also packed with proteins which are basic compounds involved in many body processes and the structural components of muscles . And its high calcium content makes bones and teeth strong , while contributing to blood clotting and wound healing .
Some research has shown that yogurt is linked to healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels , in particular in people who stick to a generally healthy diet .
The powerful snack is also easy to digest because the production process breaks down key substances contained in milk , like lactose , into smaller parts , making them easier for the body to absorb . This is also good news for individuals with lactose intolerance because they can eat some yogurts without experiencing the usual discomfort associated with milk consumption , like bloating or gas . But not all yogurts are created equal . Sweetened ones , for instance , can have high sugar content , sometimes even beyond the daily recommended amount . And yogurts without sugars but full of artificial sweeteners are not healthy either , according to many experts .
Your best bet may be to avoid flavoured yogurts . That ’ s the opinion of Julia Zumpano , a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in the US . “ Plain , non-fat yogurt is best ,” she said on the clinic ’ s website . “ Both original and Greek-style are excellent sources of protein , calcium , and probiotics .”
While non-fat is the preference of many , other experts believe full-fat yogurts can also be beneficial , reflecting a basic scientific disagreement over the effects of saturated fats . “ People often fear full-fat yogurt for its saturated fat content and risk for raising
LDL cholesterol levels ,” explained Rahaf Al Bochi , registered dietitian and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition , to Huffpost . “ However , research in this area is inconclusive and is evolving , with a body of evidence suggesting a protective effect of full-fat dairy on cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk .”
Beyond fats , some experts consider Greek yogurt their preferred option because of its high protein content . “ Skip the extra sugar calories found in most yogurts and pump up the protein by choosing Greek yogurt ,” dietitian Judith Rodriguez told WebMD , adding that it has double the amount of proteins , “ which is great for weight control because it keeps you feeling full longer .”
Produced by a straining process that eliminates most liquid components , Greek yogurt has a thicker texture , less lactose , meaning fewer carbs and sugars , and lower calcium compared to regular yogurt .
If plain unsweetened yogurts are not your cup of tea , pairing them with fruits or cereals will make them tastier while adding other important nutrients like vitamins and fibres .
“ Skip the extra sugar calories found in most yogurts and pump up the protein by choosing Greek yogurt ”
16 MARCH 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com