A cup of yogurt is proof positive that when it comes to healthy and tasty food, big things often come in little packages. Yogurt packs a powerful punch, whether you’re looking for a treat to toss into your child’s lunch bag, an anytime snack to stash away in your office fridge, or some variety to throw into the cooler on your next weekend outing.
Most of us have heard that eating yogurt is an excellent way to get calcium, and a calcium-rich diet can help slow bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Because yogurt produces lactase, an enzyme that helps break down the natural sugars in dairy products, it’s an especially appealing dairy choice for those with lactose intolerance who feel discomfort and bloating from drinking milk.
But yogurt’s calcium levels are just the beginning of a long list of nutritional benefits. Yogurt is a source of magnesium and B vitamins. It offers a lot of protein without a lot of calories, which makes it ideal for weight-loss plans. In fact, yogurt provides such a high source of protein – as much as 20 percent of the recommended daily protein intake – that the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers it an alternate to meat in its school lunch program.
Yogurt is made by combining a dairy product with bacteria – good bacteria that help fight against harmful bacteria in our intestinal tracts. Many yogurt varieties contain even more beneficial live and active bacteria that are thought to boost immune function.
Whether it’s rich and creamy or light and tangy, there are yogurt flavors to suit the taste buds of everyone on your shopping list. With the ever-expanding selection in the yogurt aisle, you can even select low-carb or all-natural varieties, yogurt made from soy rather than dairy – and yogurt cups with scrumptious dessert flavors such as key lime pie.
For an easy way to go big on nutrition – but not on price – make the yogurt section of the dairy aisle one of your routine stops whenever you’re at the store.