This ubiquitous breakfast and snack food has increased in popularity over the years, but can something so delicious have any health benefits? Clinical studies say yes - yogurt is great for your health!
Support A Healthy Gut
You may not think about what happens inside of your gut very often, but it's home to trillions of bacteria that form your intestinal microbiome. There's a constant battle of "good" versus "bad" bacteria that happens inside of your gut every day, each vying for control of prime real estate in your intestinal lining. However, the great news is that you can tip the balance in favor of the good guys by consuming probiotics, which are live strains of beneficial bacteria. According to Dr. Mercola, the best sources of probiotics come from fermented foods, such as yogurt. Consuming yogurt is the easiest and tastiest way to help the good guys win!
Boost Immune System
We've all heard of our "immune system," but have you ever wondered where it's actually located inside of your body? It turns out that the vast majority of your immune cells are actually found in your gut! That's why consuming probiotics and maintaining a balanced colony of good microbes is the key to good health. Science Daily agrees, and cites a study conducted by Oregon State University that links a poor gut flora with health conditions such as allergies and autoimmune diseases. The study even goes so far as to say that health care of the future may include "prescriptions" for certain strains of beneficial bacteria that you may be missing. In the meantime, it's easy to boost your immune system by eating the probiotics found in yogurt!
No More Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are quite a nuisance for many women. Although it's perfectly normal for a small amount of yeast to live in the lining of the vaginal wall, it's the overgrowth of yeast that leads to a pesky infection. You can help rid yourself of chronic infections by making Lactobacillus, found in yogurt, your best friend! Life Extension notes that this strain bacteria produces a natural disinfectant that can maintain an optimal pH balance in your vagina, while keeping the bad guys out. That's what friends are for!
By now, most of us know that calcium plays a major role in building and maintaining strong bones. However, WebMD states that calcium in conjunction with vitamin D is crucial to the health of your skeletal bone structure. While calcium is found in abundance in all dairy yogurt, you should try to find yogurt that also has added vitamin D to get all the bone building benefits. Be sure to read the nutrition label to find out if your container of yogurt has vitamin D. If it doesn't, be sure to supplement with vitamin D when consuming yogurt to maximize your bone health.
Stop Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is an infection in the lining of the mouth, which is caused by the yucky Candida albicans fungus. Although a common occurrence in babies and the elderly, there's no need to worry! Livestrong has a great solution for combating thrush that involves a tasty spoonful of yogurt. It turns out that rubbing yogurt on the tongue will help the Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria restore proper pH balance in the mouth. The best way to "treat" yourself is to continue with this delicious yogurt therapy until the infection is gone.
Soothe A Burned Tongue
Have you ever reached for that fresh cup of coffee or tea only to burn your taste buds? Instead of having a sore tongue, rub plain or greek yogurt onto your tongue for relief with a spoon. Yogurt is also great for skin burns if ever you're in need of something to apply to a burn.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
According to Medical News Today, a recent study has shown that yogurt has a positive correlation with maintaining normal blood pressure. Women who consumed at least 5 servings of yogurt each week had a 20% less chance of developing high blood pressure over their lifetime, compared with non-yogurt eaters. The healthy effects of eating yogurt were more pronounced when consumed with a healthy diet that also included lots of berries and nuts. So don't be afraid to add these delicious toppings to your yogurt!
Support Weight Loss
Many women who consume yogurt will love this added benefit - studies have shown that yogurt may rev up your fat burning engines! According to Dr. Eric Braverman at The Huffington Post, dietary calcium found in yogurt has been shown to reduce belly fat. In fact, metabolism changed significantly in those who exercised and increased their dairy intake! Researched at University of Knoxville confirmed that dietary calcium directly influences weight loss by increasing the breakdown of body fat. Just make sure the yogurt you are consuming isn't loaded with added sugar, as this may derail weight loss efforts.
The gut has been referred to as the "second brain" because its nerves are dependent on "happy" neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin. You may associate serotonin with the brain, but in fact, U.S.News reports that the gut actually produces 95% of serotonin found in the body! The good bacteria in your gut are what stimulates the production of these neurotransmitters and tells your brain to regulate your mood. Scientists at UCLA even discovered that women who ate probiotic-rich yogurt twice per day showed positive changes in parts of the brain that regulate emotion.
Watch as Dr. Theresa Ramsey discusses the differences and benefits of yogurt.
Greek Is The Best Yogurt
Yogurt contains millions of beneficial live bacteria that provide a host of health benefits, from boosting your immune system to burning belly fat. However, not all yogurt is created equal. Be sure to consume yogurt that isn't loaded with added sugars or artificial sweeteners. It's better to eat plain Greek yogurt and then dress it up with fresh berries for a healthy snack! Plus, don't forget that Greek yogurt is more concentrated than the regular variety, and generally contains a greater amount of beneficial bacteria per spoonful.