If you’re looking for a food that delivers good taste, convenience and loads of nutrition, yogurt is hard to beat.
Yogurt’s star ingredients are the two kinds of “good” bacteria used to ferment milk. These live, active cultures, also known as probiotics, can help reduce symptoms of digestive ailments such as diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
Yogurt is a great source of calcium, too. Just one cup delivers about a third of a woman’s recommended daily intake of the bone-building mineral and about half of what a child needs each day. Yogurt is especially helpful if you’re among the 25 percent of Americans who have trouble digesting lactose, a naturally occurring sugar in milk. Yogurt’s live, active cultures help break down lactose and make it acceptable for people who are lactose intolerant.
Keep these points in mind when buying yogurt:
- Some yogurt manufacturers “heat treat” their products, a process that kills off beneficial bacteria. Look for “live and active cultures” on the ingredient label to make sure the yogurt still contains probiotics.
- Avoid excess fat and calories by choosing low-fat or nonfat yogurt.
- Avoid excess sugar by opting for plain (instead of fruit flavors) or artificially sweetened yogurt. To add flavor and natural sweetness to plain yogurt, stir in fresh berries or chopped fruit.
Explore other ways to add yogurt’s nutritional boost to your diet: Whip up a smoothie with yogurt and bananas; serve a parfait made with yogurt, granola and fresh fruit; or use unflavored yogurt instead of mayonnaise in your favorite salad dressing recipes.