Last Updated June 13th, 2021
Greek yogurt: A Probiotic
Probiotics are substances that contain good bacteria and are consumed to replenish the beneficial microbial population in the gut. 70% of the bacteria in the body is found in the gut. The gut microbes ferment the carbohydrates that pass off undigested. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as acetate, butyrate, and propionate are produced as an outcome. These SCFAs act as a fuel source for these bacteria. A good gut bacterial population will aid in immunity as well.
Probiotics such as Greek yogurt is are a good way to replenish the gut bacterial population. You can include them in your meals to make them relishing and also be profited by a healthy intake.
Understanding Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a strained and sweeter form of regular yogurt. It originated from Greece. Here, a major amount of the whey protein is removed making it thicker than the regular unstrained whey. The water content is evacuated. Then a certain amount of butter or milk powder is added to obtain a thicker consistency.
Greek yogurt is creamy and tastes sour. The acidity of Greek yogurt enables ease of nutrient absorption by the body.
|Some of the nutrients present||Amount per 100 g of the Greek yogurt**|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.39 g|
|Carbohydrate, by the difference||3.6 g|
|Sugars, total||3.24 g|
|Calcium, Ca||110 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.063 mg|
|Folate, DFE||7 µg|
|Vitamin B-12||0.75 µg|
**Data obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture
– National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release
About 100 g of Greek yogurt is packed with nearly 10 g of proteins. You can fulfill the weight loss requirements by including Greek yogurt in your diet as it is a low-fat dairy product. People with lactose tolerance can also consume this as it is easy to digest so there won’t be any onset of undesirable reactions.
Importance of proteins in Greek yogurt
Proteins are the building blocks of the body. They are present as a major constituent in the skin, blood, nails, bones, muscles, hair, cartilage, etc. They play a major role in various processes of growth, repair of cells, cell to cell communication, etc. Generally, carbohydrates and fats are stored as a reserve in the body. So, when there is a requirement, these substances are drawn from the reserve.
Proteins, on the other hand, are not stored by the body as a reserve. They are synthesized as and when there is a requirement. That is why it is important to include a good amount of protein based foods. You can get a good supply of proteins from Greek yogurt. This is very useful especially if you are a vegetarian. Along with Greek yogurt, you can also add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds if you like to enhance the fiber content. You can also prepare a dip with spinach and Greek yogurt. This is nourishing for your skin and hair as well.
Greek yogurt – your share of calcium and bone health
Bone confers to about 99% of the calcium in the body. Low levels of calcium mean weaker bones. The body does not produce calcium naturally. The role of calcium is in muscle contraction, the functioning of certain enzymes (such as transglutaminases), etc. Low calcium levels open doors to ailments such as osteoporosis which affects nearly 200 million people worldwide. Greek yogurt is easy to chew. Calcium, along with proteins helps in maintaining good bone health.
Greek yogurt for a good supply of vitamin B12 vegetarians
Vitamin B12 aids in the development of red blood cells. Low levels of this vitamin lead to irregular development of these blood cells. This will result in low oxygen levels as the blood. You will experience fatigue and weakness.
Vitamin B12 regulates bone cell metabolism and thus influences bone quality. Low levels of vitamin B12 is associated with low mineral content and thus, weakened bones. Low levels of this vitamin can even disrupt the nerve signaling between the brain and your eyesight. It may cause blindness.
Vegetarians have a very narrow choice of this vitamin as it is vastly present in clams, animal liver, and kidneys, beef, trout, etc. The normal level of this vitamin in the blood is about 200 and 900 ng/ml and Greek yogurt provides you with 75 µg (per 100 g of the yogurt).
Role of potassium from Greek yogurt
If the sodium concentration is more, the blood volume increases. Kidney cells will extrude out more water into the bloodstream. This will increase the blood pressure. Potassium, on the other hand, acts opposite to sodium. It promotes excretion of sodium and thus decreases the blood pressure.
Potassium has a role in nerve impulse conduction (vital for processes such as heartbeat, reflexes, muscle contraction or relaxation, digestion, respiration, and more). The calcium burden on the kidney is alleviated under the influence of potassium. Potassium from Greek yogurt prevents the loss of calcium. This eventually helps in maintaining good bone strength.
Greek yogurt – the muscle healer
Extensive physical activity or a workout regime will cause muscle contractions and cramps. This will be present for a certain amount of time after which your body will recover automatically. After a tiring physical exercise, you can treat your body with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt offers proteins, potassium, and magnesium, all of which aid in muscle recovery.
The magnesium in Greek yogurt helps in muscle relaxation. The efflux of calcium is prevented by potassium. The proteins from Greek yogurt provide amino acids. They aid in protein synthesis in the muscle cells. This enables regeneration of the muscle tissue. You can prepare a blend of banana or strawberry along with Greek yogurt and consume it as your “post work out drink”.
You can achieve weight loss with Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of iodine. Your body cannot naturally make iodine, so it is vital for your body to be supplied with iodine foods like Greek yogurt. Low iodine levels result in a thyroid deficit and this will impede the functioning of the metabolic machinery. It will result in tiredness, weakness, pale skin, weight gain, and even more. Iodine supply via foods such as Greek yogurt will enable in weight loss. Also, this protein-rich yogurt makes you feel full. Those who have divided their meals into different portions will benefit via Greek yogurt.
Ever wondered why you feel good eating Greek yogurt?
Any yogurt including Greek yogurt makes you feel good. The reason is that it contains magnesium. Magnesium lowers the excitatory mechanisms in the nerve cells, aids minimizing the blood pressure and other associated stress based responses. Along with this, the protein richness of this yogurt is a good source of amino acids such aslysine, methionine, tryptophan, etc.
Serotonin is commonly known as the feel-good hormone produced in the brain. This makes you feel happy and also impacts your sexual desire, sleep, learning, appetite, and this hormone is nothing but a peptide (a short chain of amino acids). Production of this peptide requires tryptophan. This amino acid works along with magnesium in the synthesis of serotonin.
Thick creamy Greek yogurt – a great addition to many foods
You can make puddings, smoothies, and popsicles. You can also add sweet basil seeds or chia seeds, or use it as a creamy topping, consume it along with pancakes, etc. Here are some ways you can include Greek yogurt in your diet:
- You can choose this yogurt instead of mayo or sour cream
- You can consume a breakfast meal with a combination of this yogurt, bananas, blueberries, etc.
- As soup toppings
- As pasta sauce
- As a spread along with bread
The bottom line
Greek yogurt, a Greece originated food has spread in many regions of the world. It is sweetish, and tangy in taste and is a great way to serve your taste buds. A creamy probiotic such as Greek yogurt has paved ways to benefit you in terms of maintaining a healthy metabolism, muscle recovery, regulation of blood pressure, bone strength. It also makes you feel good and relaxed. This is a great addition to desserts, salads or any other foods you wish to eat. Greek yogurt is a yummy dairy product that replenishes the good gut microflora and provision of added nourishment will improve your overall health.
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