It’s overwhelming how many yogurt choices are available today. Yogurt comes whipped or custard-style, Greek, Greek-style, non-fat, low-fat, or full-fat. It’s in drinks, tubes and tubs, and the list of flavors goes on and on.
Yogurt is a powerful SuperFood and many of its great benefits come from prebiotics and probiotics. These live cultures encourage the growth of necessary “good” bacteria in our digestive systems and limit the proliferation of “bad” bacteria. We need healthy digestive systems to absorb the necessary nutrients in our diet while helping fight off diseases.
Not all yogurt is created equal, however. Many yogurt products contain way too much sugar and not enough live active cultures. In fact, some yogurt products have 7 teaspoons of sugar in just one serving!
Buying Yogurt — What to Look For
Purchase only nonfat and low-fat brands with the least amount of sugar, calories and artificial colors as possible. With the varieties that have fruit on the bottom, eat only the yogurt. Enough of the fruit flavor gets into the yogurt so you don’t need all the extra sugar and calories from the syrupy fruit.
When you go to the store, look for yogurt that has the most variety of live active cultures because each strain makes different but important contributions to your health. Also, make sure the yogurt label does not say “heat treated after culturing” because this process destroys all the benefits provided by the live active cultures. Also, look for the freshest yogurt by checking the expiration date on the carton. This will help ensure truly live active cultures.
Yogurt can be a healthy ingredient in many recipes you prepare at home. Smoothies are a favorite with kids as a snack, dessert or part of a good breakfast. Just add frozen or fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, etc.) to a cup of nonfat yogurt and a splash of orange juice. Mix the ingredients in a blender until you get just the right consistency.
You can also make salad dressing and marinades with yogurt. For example, Cucumber Yogurt Sauce goes great with Turkey Meatballs or in pita sandwiches. You can also replace sour cream very easily with this healthier option.
Now that you know what to look for in yogurt, make it a regular part of your diet and rest easy knowing those live active cultures are helping to keep you healthy. Yogurt is, indeed, one of the most beneficial low-fat foods in the supermarket.