Whether eaten as a meal or a snack, yogurt offers you a wealth of nutritional benefits. It’s also a versatile food that you can eat with different fruits and chopped nuts; use to make dressings for salad, poultry or fish; enjoy in a dessert parfait; or incorporate into protein shakes and smoothies. Just make sure you choose plain yogurt – either Greek or regular style – and steer clear of flavored varieties with added calories and sugar.
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Protein and Calcium
An individual-sized container of plain Greek nonfat yogurt contains 17 grams of protein in 100 calories – fulfilling 30 percent of a man’s daily needs and 37 percent of a woman’s. Eight ounces of regular-style plain, low-fat yogurt gives you 12 grams in 143 calories. Your body needs protein to build and repair muscles and tissues. Yogurt is also an excellent source of the mineral calcium, needed for strong bones and teeth. A container of plain low-fat yogurt, for example, supplies 418 milligrams of calcium, or almost 42 percent of the daily requirements for adults under 50.
Many varieties of yogurt are good sources of probiotics, the friendly bacteria that promote strong digestive health and immune status. Because commercial yogurts are heat-treated, however, they may lose these cultures in processing. Be sure to look for brands that bear the statement “live and active cultures” on the label.