If you ask me about yogurt, all I can say is …WOW! If there ever was a ‘miracle’ or ‘power’ food, I would say yogurt would be on my top five list! There is an endless list of benefits from eating yogurt and most have enough proof behind them to warrant eating a little every day. Claims you hear about yogurt include that it solves digestive issues, builds the immune system, defends against yeast infections, prevents aging of the skin, prevents bone loss or osteoporosis, aides in weight loss and may even reduce blood pressure. It’s loaded with calcium and vitamin B. It’s also a great protein source for vegetarians and can be one of the main calcium sources for people with lactose intolerance.
How does it work? In the past, the way yogurt worked seemed to be a mystery. Now, everyone hears the buzz word “probiotics”. Basically, the body is filled with bacteria which initially sounds bad, but there is such a thing as GOOD bacteria that helps the body work properly. And that’s all I’m going to explain without getting too technical! Yogurt contains high levels of this GOOD bacteria which aid the body in many ways to reap the benefits mentioned.
If you look in the stores, there are a TON of yogurt products and even just probiotics in a bottle. Hmmm……..which to choose? If you ask me, I say plain, non-fat yogurt is the best way to go. Any time you add something to yogurt, like sugar, color, thickeners or fruit during the process of making it, you can actually decrease the amount of natural living bacteria available. Those additions can also add chemicals and calories your body doesn’t need. There are some who re-add bacteria into yogurt after they process the heck out of it, but who’s to say it’s still living and available for you when you eat it?
Now you are saying to me, “ya, but yuck! How am I supposed to eat that nasty PLAIN yogurt?!” Okay, so the taste may not be great, but I have a trick for that. Buy a bag of frozen blueberries and add them to your yogurt to sweeten it up naturally. Then you have TWO power foods at once! A nice recovery drink after exercise or working in the yard is a blended smoothie made from a banana, frozen blueberries, cranberry juice and yogurt. It’s also a great snack or light lunch, depending on how much you make.
Another way to get in yogurt is to substitute it for sour cream. I found Greek yogurt is the best substitute, and you can get non-fat versions to boot! I’ve also bought yogurt strainers online that drain the liquid from yogurt to turn it into more of a tofu or soft cream cheese texture. I found recipes for cheesecake made from this form of yogurt cheese that are to die for! The book is called Baking without Fat by George Mateljan.
Now, I’ve given you some creative ways to get yogurt into your diet. I hope you look at plain yogurt differently now. It’s good for you, costs less than those processed versions, and can taste good too!