Why active women love yoghurt

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Research has shown that women who regularly consume yoghurt tend to make many more healthier eating choices.

Yoghurt is a particularly nutrient-dense food providing high amounts of quality protein and bone-building calcium as well as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and vitamins B12 and B2.

The bacteria used to make yoghurt are called “yoghurt cultures”, which ferment lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. It’s very nutritious, and eating it regularly may boost several aspects of your health. For example, yoghurt has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as aid in weight management.

A 2013 Nutrition Research study showed that women who regularly consume yoghurt tend towards healthier eating in general and experience specific benefits including:

Lower risks of disease – eating yoghurt often is associated with lower blood glucose and lower blood pressure reducing the risks of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Filling the nutrient gaps – daily consumption of yoghurt helps women to achieve their required protein intake, which increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Women who eat yoghurt regularly are also less likely to develop deficiencies in potassium, calcium, zinc and the B vitamins.

Maretha Vermaak, registered dietitian at Rediscover Dairy says “there’s an array of research that shows that the healthy bacteria, probiotics, in fermented foods like yoghurt improve the community of microbes in the gut, known as the gut microbiota.

Regular consumption of yoghurt can improve overall gut health and can contribute to a range of positive health benefits, such as reducing chronic inflammation which is linked to diseases like diabetes and heart disease and relieving gut discomfort”.

Adding that “our gut microbiota is also pivotal to our bodies’ immune response and one of the best ways to support the immune system is maintaining a healthy gut”.

One cup also provides 38% of your daily need for phosphorus, 12% for magnesium and 18% for potassium. These minerals are essential for several biological processes, such as regulating blood pressure, metabolism and bone health.

Weight maintenance and appetite control – due to its quality protein, including yoghurt in meals and especially as snacks helps you to feel fuller for longer and can help to manage weight and control appetite.

Yoghurt’s fullness-promoting effects are even more prominent if you eat Greek yoghurt, which is a very thick variety that has been strained. It is higher in protein than regular yoghurt, providing 22g per 200g.

How yoghurt replenishes your body post-workout

There’s growing awareness that what you consume after physical activity matters. It might be surprising to some, but yoghurt is an ideal post-workout snack or drink. The high protein content helps to repair and build lean muscle, the calcium protects your bone health while potassium, phosphorus and zinc help tired muscles recover and can prevent muscle cramping.

If you don’t feel like actually eating after your workout, yoghurt is an excellent base for a healthful smoothie and it makes a great and refreshing frozen treat.

Loving yoghurt in many different ways

For many women, the sheer versatility of yoghurt is a great advantage. While it works well added to morning oats, cereals and fruits, it is far from limited to a breakfast food. It is ideal on its own as a quick, satisfying morning or afternoon snack; perfect for all-day smoothies on the go; delicious in a dip or as a spread or topping.

Yoghurt is also a common ingredient in main dishes from a variety of international cuisines and can be added to soups, stews, wraps, stir-fries, vegetable dishes and even home-baked goods.

Digestive health

One study had IBS patients regularly consume fermented milk or yoghurt that contained Bifidobacteria. After only three weeks, they reported improvements in bloating and stool frequency — effects seen after six weeks as well.

Unfortunately, many yoghurts have been pasteurised, which is a heat treatment that kills the beneficial bacteria they contain.

To ensure your yoghurt contains effective probiotics, look for one that contains live, active cultures, which should be listed on the label.

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