Yogurt May Help Heart

We are always looking for ways to aid our health through diet. While we don’t believe in cure-all superfoods, we do appreciate that so many delicious foods that do have health benefits. While no single food will give you fast results, eating a healthy diet with many nutritious things can help.

Dairy is one of those categories of good that we can quickly write off as “bad” when we have concerns about our cholesterol. However, we recently wrote about the fact that cheese can lessen the damage done to the body by high amounts of salt. Dairy is an excellent source of protein, necessary for heart health. And, a study this month found that low-fat milk may slow aging. Dairy is, according to recent studies, good for your heart health. Today we wanted to take a look at yogurt and how it may aid your heart and health.

A study with 73,000 people with high blood pressure used a 61-item questionnaire to study dietary intake over a year. The folks who are the most dairy had a far lower risk of experiencing a heart attack. Women were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and men were 19 percent less likely. Both men and women who ate yogurt more than twice a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke or coronary heart disease.

However, flavored yogurts can be terrible for your heart. They are often less like yogurt and more like a dessert. “Fruity yogurts can contain upwards of six teaspoons of sugar per serving. A better choice is to buy plain Greek yogurt and mix it with your own fresh or frozen unsweetened fruit,” says Suzanne Fisher, RD, LDN. Instead, mixing fresh fruit into plain yogurt lowers the amount of sugar while also adding fiber and vitamins.

Most agree that dairy has many benefits and that yogurts high in sugar should be avoided. But, nutritionists go back and forth about the healthfulness of dairy fat. “Dairy fat contains ‘healthier’ fats, such as conjugated linoleic acid — which is seen to prevent weight gain — and is low in omega-six fatty acids — which increases inflammation,” says dietitian Bonnie Balk, RD. However, if you want to avoid the high-fat content of dairy, Balk suggests switching between zero and two percent fat yogurts. “By alternating between the zero and two percent varieties, you are sure to keep your overall fat intake in check, while reaping some of the positive benefits of healthy fats.”

Other nutritionists disagree and believe that low-fat yogurt is better and that all forms of full-fat products may lead to weight gain. That is a choice you may want to speak to your doctor about before deciding. Most recent research agrees with the theory that dairy fats don’t cause heart problems, but there is still debate. We like plain yogurt with fruit or chopped nuts — depending on if we’re having regular or non-fat yogurt. But everyone has different tastes and different health needs.

Eating yogurt is a great way to get calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and live cultures into your diet,” says registered dietitian Elissa Goldman. The live cultures can help gut health and introduce healthy bacteria into your body. Additionally, 200 grams of Greek yogurt contains about 20 grams of protein!

Different yogurts can range from a tangy, robust flavor to sweet and subtle. Check out some brand recommendations here. Or, check out a list of different brands’ nutritional information here.

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