It’s amazing how something that tastes so good could actually be so good for you. When it comes to yogurt, the last 30 years has seen a boon in its popularity – coupled with the scientific evidence to prove it really is a super food.
But the admiration of yogurt doesn’t originate in this century. People have been enjoying it for more than 8,000 years when they carried milk products in containers made of animal stomachs in the warm climates of central Asia. Actually, the word ‘yogurt’ comes from the Turkish language.
Although history records that Genghis Khan and his armies thrived on yogurt, we can thank Turkish immigrants who brought yogurt to North America in the 1700s for sparking its popularity here.
So what makes yogurt so nutritious and delicious? The delicious part is easy – being a dairy product, it’s naturally creamy and sweet. Through the fermentation process, it develops its tangy taste that can be complemented with sweet fruit or savory nuts.
Besides the delectable taste, it’s the health benefits of yogurt that make it a wise choice to add to your diet. Scientifically, yogurt is cultured milk that is thickened by healthy bacteria – that’s how yogurt gets its distinctive tart flavor. Teeming with probiotics, yogurt helps balance beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. It’s also well documented to aid in boosting the immune system.
Yogurt is also linked to benefitting the cardiovascular system because it helps lower blood pressure. It’s also loaded with protein and calcium which helps build strong bones and muscle.
Yogurt also helps you lose weight. The calcium signals your fat cells to pump out less cortisol – the hormone that makes you accumulate fat – making it easier to lose weight. The amino acids in yogurt also help you burn fat.
It’s also loaded with an ample supply of vitamins. Besides potassium, riboflavin, zinc and phosphorus, the Vitamin B-12 is vital for your brain and nervous system to function effectively. In fact, an 8-ounce serving features more than half of the daily requirement of B-12.
An added bonus is what eating yogurt does to your body after a workout. With just the perfect ratio of protein to carbohydrates, yogurt gives you an ample supply of amino acids that helps repair muscles. It also helps you replace your energy stores you lose during exercise.
You probably already know yogurt is wonderful alone or in smoothies, but here are other ways to enjoy its flavor and nutritional benefits throughout the day.
Pancake Sauce – Instead of maple syrup, butter or jam, try this pancake topper.
Yogurt Soup – Try this delicious soup popular in Turkey and Central Asia.
Cumin Yogurt Carrots – Enjoy this interesting sauce over your vegetables.
Yogurt Stroganoff – Instead of heavy cream, use yogurt for this dinner dish.
Sweet and Spicy Yogurt – Skip the ice cream for dessert and try this savory dessert.