Greek yogurt: all the benefits you don't expect concentrated in one jar

Discover all the benefits of Greek yogurt, the differences with plain yogurt and the best way to choose and consume it

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Discover all the benefits of Greek yogurt, the differences with plain yogurt and the best way to choose and consume it

Lo greek yogurt, or strained yogurt, is not just a trend, despite its production doubling between 2008 and 2013. This dairy product is very different from the classic yogurt, since a further step is added to its production, that is a filtering process to remove the whey, a liquid that contains lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. 

The result? A very creamy and less sweet product, which will be more sour and with a higher proportion of carbohydrates and proteins.

Greek yogurt is, therefore, a nutrient-rich snack; just think that an average serving, depending on the brand, can contain from 12 to 17,3 grams of protein. Perfect, therefore, above all to start the day and to be included in a balanced diet and as a basis for protein breakfasts


Benefits of Greek yogurt

A cup of plain Greek yogurt can help you meet the recommended dietary guidelines of three daily servings of low-fat, or non-fat dairy products. People who suffer from lactose intolerance may also find Greek yogurt easier to digest for bacterial decomposition of milk sugars.

Additionally, Greek yogurt contains less sugar than regular yogurt. Some manufacturers add thickening agents to regular yogurt and market it as "Greek-style" yogurt, but it doesn't have the same health benefits; Plus, even low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt does not have the same benefits as traditional Greek yogurt.

High in protein

Yogurt has a much higher amount of protein than milk, and these are used to build:

  • skeleton
  • muscles
  • cartilage
  • skin
  • hair
  • blood

Protein is also one of the three nutrients that provide energy; in addition, they transfer substances, such as oxygen, across cell membranes. Getting the right amount of protein, therefore, is important for the proper functioning of the immune system, and for ensuring the right balance of fluids in the body.

As we age, we need more protein to maintain muscle mass; for adults aged 65 or over, the amount of protein needed increases between 1 and 1,2 grams per kilogram per day.

In this sense, Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and, for an optimal intake also in terms of fiber, we recommend adding two tablespoons of Chia seeds. (Read also: Kefir and yogurt: what are the differences and which one to prefer?)

Probiotics help the regularity of the intestine 

Greek yogurt is rich in Probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that can help strengthen the immune system, and reduce stomach problems, such as diarrhea and pain. One study found that probiotics could also affect the brain, according to the UCLA Newsroom. Another study found that probiotic supplements can reduce negative feelings, such as anxiety and sadness.

But recent research raises questions about these benefits. Not everyone may respond to probiotics in the same way. In fact, a 2018 study suggests that some people's livers are resistant to the benefits of probiotics, while others are more receptive.

(Read also: Two yogurts a week prevent bowel cancer)

High calcium content

Another benefit of Greek yogurt is that it is high in calcium, which is essential for building strong muscles and helping vital organs to function well. Furthermore, our bodies do not produce calcium on its own and without it children may not grow, while adults may increase the risk of Osteoporosis.

One serving of Greek yogurt has 18,7% of the daily value of calcium. Greek yogurt is a viable option for seniors who want to maintain bone health; it is also ideal because it is comfortable and easy to eat, especially for those who have difficulty chewing.

Source of vitamin B12

Our body needs vitamin B-12 for red blood cell formation, brain function and DNA synthesis. One serving of Greek yogurt can contain up to 21,3% of the daily value of B12.

Vegan people usually have vitamin B-12 deficiency as it occurs naturally in animal products, such as fish, meat, eggs and yogurt.

Greek yogurt: all the benefits you don't expect concentrated in one jar

@ Diamant24 / 123rf


One serving of Greek yogurt can contain up to 6,8% of the daily intake value of potassium. Potassium helps lower blood pressure and balance sodium levels in the body. If your sodium level is high, adding potassium-rich foods to your diet can help your body excrete excess sodium with urine.

A food to recover after training

Greek yogurt is great as a snack after a hard workout, because not only will it accompany you to your next meal, but it contains the proteins that can repair damage caused by exercise.

The reason? This food is rich in fundamental amino acids that make up proteins, and proteins are the building blocks for the regeneration of muscle tissue and the repair of fiber damage. You can try adding a banana or some berries to your yogurt for a nutritious post-workout snack.

Greek yogurt is also an excellent source of iodine

Our bodies don't produce iodine naturally, so it's important to get enough iodine through food. Iodine is important for the correct thyroid function, and the thyroid is essential for a healthy metabolism.

It increases the sense of satiety

The combination of protein and texture of Greek yogurt can increase the sense of satiety. In this case, strained yogurt is a valid ally for losing weight. One study lasted a year, in 2014, it found that people who ate more than three servings of yogurt a week gained less weight, compared to those who ate less than one serving.

The greater sense of satiety is given by the high protein content, which can help you feel fuller for longer. Research suggests that people can eat less during the day after a high-protein meal. A further study found that increasing protein leads people to consume fewer calories overall, which contributes to greater weight loss.

Speeds up the metabolism

According to a search, a high-protein diet may contribute to calorie consumption, but despite the high protein content of Greek yogurt, eating exclusively this food is unlikely to burn more calories. The advice is to eat Greek yogurt as part of one balanced diet, which includes enough protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to promote weight loss and boost metabolism.

Promotes good mental health

Research suggests that the consumption of probiotic yogurt is beneficial for the mental health. A 2016 study found that workers who ate 100 grams of probiotic yogurt per day or took a daily probiotic capsule experienced less stress, depression and anxiety than those who didn't.

This effect is likely due to the relationship between the gut and the brain, and the gut's ability to produce neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine.

Contributes to muscle mass

Foods rich in protein, such as Greek yogurt, can help build muscle mass. Research shows that a high-protein diet can increase muscle mass in people who do endurance and strength training.

Lower blood pressure

Greek yogurt is a form of probiotic fermented milk, which can lower blood pressure.

A 2013 meta-analysis of 14 studies involving more than 700 participants found that milk fermented with probiotics helped lower blood pressure.

However, the research is not conclusive; Another 2015 study, involving 156 overweight participants, found that eating probiotic yogurt did not affect blood pressure and other cardiovascular risks.

Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes

Greek yogurt can reduce the risk of diabetes of type 2, a condition that affects how the body processes blood sugar. According to a 2014 study, researchers linked consuming more yogurt with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Greek yogurt: a very versatile product

La denser consistency than Greek yogurt lends itself to various recipes, such as chia seed puddings, smoothies and popsicles. You can also make popsicles at home by freezing Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.

Alternatively, you can use it as a condiment on other foods, such as sour cream to flavor baked potatoes; some people even like to replace butter and mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.

How to buy the right Greek yogurt

Although we commonly refer to this product as Greek yogurt, there is no federal standard for Greek yogurt in the United States. Businesses can label it filtered or unfiltered yogurt “Greek” based on texture and taste.

But in other countries, such as southern Europe and Greece, filtered yogurt typically doesn't contain:

  • thickening agents, such as starches or gelatin
  • whey protein concentrate
  • milk protein concentrate
  • modified food starch
  • pectin

Classic Greek yogurt is made with goat milk; the best is the normal one, unsweetened, low in fat and with the least number of additives. 

Greek yogurt: all the benefits you don't expect concentrated in one jar

@ Jenifoto / 123rf

How to consume Greek yogurt

There are many ways to enjoy Greek yogurt, Including:

  • for breakfast or as a dessert with banana and blueberries
  • as a topping for chili instead of sour cream
  • as a dressing for soups instead of cream
  • to spread on crackers or bread instead of butter
  • as an addition to a sauce to give more creaminess to the pasta

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