Why You Should Add Greek Yogurt to Your Diet

Sunrise Senior Living  |  August 1, 2016
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Here are a few of the many healthy benefits of Greek yogurt, plus a recipe!

Eating a well-balanced diet is vital for healthy aging. By fueling your body with the proper nutrients, you can maintain a healthy weight and boost your immune system to reduce your risk of developing chronic disease and illness. But which foods are most beneficial? You know that fruits, vegetables and whole grains are key, but have you ever considered Greek yogurt?

What's the difference?
If you're unaware of the difference between traditional yogurt and Greek, it's quite simple. According to U.S. News & World Report, Greek yogurt is strained to remove the whey, or the liquid that sticks around after milk has curdled. This gives it a creamier and thicker consistency, all while impacting a richer flavor. But that's not the only difference – after removing the whey, Greek yogurt has 40 percent less sugar, 38 percent less sodium and double the protein of traditional yogurt.

Here are a few of the many health benefits of Greek yogurt:

1. It's great for digestive health
Greek yogurt is full of probiotics, which are extremely beneficial for your digestive health. Probiotics are bacteria that contribute to a healthy gut. Some foods are loaded with unhealthy bacteria, which can actually back up and cause severe digestive issues. Greek yogurt, however, harbors plenty of healthy bacteria, as it can keep you regular and help ward off the bad kind. If you're living with Chron's disease of ulcerative colitis, this food item may be extremely helpful for your digestive tract.

2. It's loaded with vitamins
Did you know that Greek yogurt is chock full of vitamins? According to Fitness magazine, just one serving can give you potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc and vitamin B5 and B12 – a vitamin that helps your nervous system function properly. An eight-ounce serving of Greek yogurt has 1.4 micrograms of B12, which is actually about 60 percent of what women need on a daily basis.

3. It helps you manage a healthy weight
Because Greek yogurt is loaded with protein, it's a great tool for maintaining a healthy weight. Protein takes longer for the body to digest, according to U.S. News & World Report, which can make your feel fuller for a longer period of time. Not only will this keep you from overeating during meals, but it can also help you curb your appetite in between them so you're less likely to snack.

How can I use Greek yogurt?
There are so many ways you can use Greek yogurt in the kitchen. Not only can you eat it plain – or accompanied by fruit – but you can also use it as a substitute for many rich, fatty dairy products such as sour or whipped cream! Consider the following recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine, which substitutes Greek yogurt for half the sour cream.

Creamy Potato Salad
This rich and creamy recipe makes the perfect side for the family cook-out – and each serving is just under 150 calories!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red potatoes – cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat canola mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup green onions – chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain 2 percent reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 2-ounce jar diced pimentos – drained

Directions:

Using a medium saucepan, cover diced potatoes with cold water approximately two inches above the pieces. Then, add a pinch of salt and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are tender – this should take about 10 minutes. Drain, set aside and let cool for about 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise with remaining ingredients. Gently stir in cooked potatoes, tossing until coated evenly. Serve immediately at room temperature or place in the refrigerator to chill and save for later. Enjoy!