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Yogurt - Its Health Benefits and Uses -Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Living - Green Tip #22

Updated on December 30, 2014
Greek yogurt is a healthy option.
Greek yogurt is a healthy option. | Source


Howdy All!


In last week’s tip, Healthy Choices, I got so wrapped up in the multitude of healthy alternatives available when cooking, I failed to mention one which, in and of itself, is conducive to good health without compromising flavor. It’s kind of like when you walk into a room for a specific purpose, get side-tracked by disarray (which bugs the hell out of you and must be fixed – now!) and leave the room without whatever it was you went there for in the first place! Or going to the store for a specific item and leaving with everything but! Just proves, once again, my mantra: the best laid plans of mice and men!

Last week I intended to discuss the benefits of yogurt and how it can be incorporated into everyday living through substitution in recipes, in addition to the obvious means of consumption. To give yogurt it’s due, I will devote this week’s tip to yogurt and yogurt alone. (Hopefully, I won’t get side-tracked, but I won’t make any promises!)


Health benefits

First, let’s discuss the science and nutritional benefits of yogurt. Yogurt is made by bacterial fermentation of milk. Sounds yucky, huh? The fact is the “good” bacteria and yeasts found in yogurt serve the body. For those who are lactose intolerant, the live cultures convert milk sugar to lactic acid, which causes a decrease in lactose. Most people who are lactose intolerant can consume yogurt without harmful effects. Which is good news because one of the greatest benefits of yogurt is its probiotic properties. Probiotic bacterial cultures aid the body’s present intestinal flora to re-establish themselves. Probiotics help fortify the immune system to combat allergies, stress, exposure to harmful substances, aid in digestion and ridding the body of waste build-up, boosts the body’s level of glutathione, which is a cancer fighting compound, and even encourages good gum health! Yogurt is also nutritionally plentiful in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12. Wow! What a powerhouse!

Ok, so now we know yogurt is good for the body. And, as always, we have choices; specifically, American and Greek. Greek yogurt has a thicker, smoother, pudding- like texture and is the one I prefer. While both are beneficial, Greek yogurt has a higher level of live and active culture content than that of regular yogurt. Also, because it’s more saturated (giving it the thicker consistency) it provides roughly double the protein of American style yogurt and a more concentrated level of probiotics.

Use yogurt in recipes

Yogurt can be substituted for sour cream in many, if not all recipes. Whether baking or cooking, if a recipe calls for sour cream, I substitute equal measures of plain Greek yogurt. Plain yogurt has basically the same flavor as sour cream. However, here are the nutritional differences in an 8oz serving of plain Greek yogurt vs 8 oz all-natural sour cream: calories – yogurt 140, sour cream 480; calories from fat – yogurt -0-, sour cream 360; saturated fat – yogurt -0-, sour cream 28g; trans fat – both are at zero; cholesterol – yogurt -0-, sour cream 160mg; protein – yogurt 23g, sour cream 8g; calcium – yogurt 30%, sour cream 16%. In addition, (Greek) yogurt contains 5 live active cultures, while sour cream contains none, unless specified on the label.

Replace sour cream with plain Greek yogurt when topping your baked potato. It has the same flavor and consistency, but is much more healthy, as we learned above.

Yogurt can also replace certain soft cheeses. This weekend I tried a new pasta recipe I’d seen on Food Network. I love pasta. Many people assume pasta isn’t good for you, when in reality, pasta contains complex carbohydrates, which your body converts to energy. Additionally, if you take it a step further and use organic or whole grain pasta, you have the added benefit of fiber. I know, I know, I’ve gotten side-tracked again (remember, I made no promises!), but because my mind moves quicker than my mouth or fingers, sometimes I must digress in order to make a point. So, back to the point. The recipe called for mascarpone cheese. I don’t have any in the house but wanted to try the recipe, as it also calls for spinach as a main ingredient. I love spinach (any “Florentine” recipe means it contains spinach) so I put my creative thinking cap on in order to try it. I keep plain Greek yogurt in the house, as an alternative to sour cream, so I substituted what I have on hand for the mascarpone cheese. The dish was fabulous! Plus the yogurt gave me the added health benefit of probiotics, without compromising flavor or texture.

Is yogurt part of your dietary intake?

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In closing

In closing, I’d like to remind you to use your imagination and knowledge of healthy options when cooking. You can still enjoy the comfort foods you grew up with, while adding a healthy boost without compromising flavor! Be inventive. Be creative. Eat well and enjoy!

As always, if you have any tips or suggestions for future ramblings, I mean articles, feel free to contact me.

I’ll see you next time and remember: keep a smile in your heart and never, ever let the music fade!

Peace,

Bravewarrior



Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved

© 2012 Shauna L Bowling

Comments

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    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 days ago from Central Florida

      Peg, I'm so glad this article has reaped benefits and results for you. What more could I ask for?

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      7 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      I've been getting the vanilla Greek yogurt lately and have acquired a taste for it. Piled on top of fresh strawberries is my favorite way to enjoy it. Thanks to your important information I've also been adding a probiotic to my diet and I'm seeing a big reduction in my acid reflux symptoms.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Peg, I don't even buy sour cream anymore. Plain Greek yogurt tastes the same, has the same consistency, and comes with the added benefit of probiotics. It's great on baked potatoes. You won't taste a difference at all. At least, I don't.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Yogurt is really delicious. I really need to try it on baked potatoes since I heap them high with the sour cream. That seems like a great way to cut out some calories with a healthy product. Thanks for the nutritional information and insight.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Crafty, I used to have a friend who made lasagna with tofu. Her husband couldn't tell the difference. I've made tacos using tofu instead of ground beef. They were delicious!

      I don't even buy sour cream anymore. I use plain Greek yogurt instead. It has the same flavor and texture. I've found Chobani to have the best flavor, texture and it's higher in love cultures than the other brands. Plus they don't add sugar or any of the 'troses. Good stuff!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 

      4 years ago

      Such an interesting Hub. I used to make a pasta dish with tofu instead of cheese. It was a stuffed manicotti dish. I couldn't tell the difference. But I bet the yogurt could be incorporated in to that dish as well. Fascinating!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      That very well may be true, tirelesstraveler. I'm glad you found an alternative. May I ask which brand is made of goat's milk? I have a friend who is lactose intolerant. Perhaps her belly can handle the yogurt of which you speak.

      Thanx for the follow. I'm honored!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      I like yogurt, but am allergic to dairy. Found recently that true Greek Yogurt is made with goats milk. It is truly a delight when I find good Greek yogurt. You mentioned that Greek yogurt has twice the pro- biotics of regular yogurt which may explain why I few side effects from cows milk Greek yogurt.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Good for you, Spy. Good stuff in more ways than one!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 

      6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Very useful and informative Sha. I love yogurts. I always have yogurt when I do my grocery :)

      shared and votes

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      The junk food king actually eats yogurt! Will wonders never cease to amaze me! Ha ha. Glad to hear it, Bill. There's hope for you yet!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I swore I would never eat this stuff and then I did, about four years ago...and now I love it....but I don't tell many people because I don't want my image to be ruined. LOL

      Good job dispensing information Sha.

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Yes, T yogurt is yummy and so good for the tummy! Thanx for being my first today!!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      That yogurt is some amazing stuff, isn't it tho?! :) Great job, brave, loved it!

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