Yoghurt: Types, Health Benefits, Risks

Updated on 18 April 2023

Yoghurt is a dairy product usually made by fermenting milk. It provides important essential nutrients like protein and calcium and is generally associated with the idea of improving and promoting good gut health.

Yoghurt imparts a range of good health benefits that are undeniable, and it is mostly preferred to the main ingredient from which it is derived – milk. So what are the yoghurt health benefits?

As a milk derivative, yoghurt or curd, as we call it, provides a lot of animal protein as a vegetarian food option. It contains a good dose of animal protein for those who either don't eat meat or other animal-derived protein voluntarily or have been specifically prohibited due to medical or other reasons. Additionally, it is rich in other nutrients such as calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. Yoghurt is especially popular as a "probiotic", which means it promotes "good/ friendly bacteria". It has been regarded as a friendly food for good gut health. Although this area is still under further research to establish its claims, there are a few profound health benefits derived from yoghurt.

Health Benefits

Promotes good gut health

As a direct benefit of eating yoghurt or curd, it has been stated that it promotes good gut health by promoting and supporting the good or friendly bacteria culture in our body. While there is still a lot of research required to prove its efficacy, a lot of benefits have been noticed in relieving gastrointestinal conditions such as lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhoea, and inflammatory bowel diseases, among others.

Boost Immune System

Although these claims are interlinked, it is believed that boosting the immune system is one of the benefits of eating curd daily. As a probiotic factor, yoghurt is also generally believed to boost the immune system by helping with the maintenance of good bowel movement and enhancing recovery from infection. 

Helps Relieve Osteoporosis and Other Conditions

Due to being a treasure of calcium, curd plays a major role in providing the essential micronutrients for treating osteoporosis. Eating curd has also been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure in various population age brackets. A 2014 study claimed that eating yoghurt can help protect against the likelihood of developing type-2 diabetes.

Benefits of yoghurt for females

Females, especially diabetic women, often suffer from a bout of yeast infection, commonly caused by "Candida". In a study, it was found that women who consumed curd on a daily basis showed a decrease in the candida culture even when blood sugar levels were not controlled.

Types of Yoghurt

There are several types of yogurts available in the market. These include:

1. Low-fat or Non-fat

Non-fat yoghurt is made from skimmed or low-fat milk, which has a low percentage of fat. 

2. Kefir

Yoghurt made in liquid form is widely popular as kefir. It is also a good source of probiotics. Kefir can be made at home easily by adding kefir grains to milk and allowing it to stand for 12 to 24 hours.

3. Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt is a thick and creamy version which is high in protein. It is often used as dips or in cooking. Low-fat Greek yoghurt, being rich in protein, can be a healthy addition to the diet. The benefits of Greek yogurt include improvement of bone health, support in gut health and faster muscle recovery, as well as promoting healthy body composition, and it can be eaten while fasting as it can help keep one full for a longer time.

4. Skyr

Much similar to Greek yoghurt, Skyr is the Icelandic version of yoghurt, which has a higher amount of protein and is denser and creamier than Greek yoghurt in texture.

5. Frozen Yoghurt

Frozen yoghurts are often thought to be a healthier alternative to ice creams, but they contain almost the same amount of sugar and fat as ice cream.

6. Non-dairy yoghurt

Non-dairy yoghurt is made from soy milk or coconut milk.

Is Yoghurt Bad for Us?

Not all types of yoghurt are healthy. Some forms of yoghurt, like non-dairy or frozen yoghurt, may contain high quantities of unnecessary sugar additives, which may reduce the efficacy & health benefits. 

  • Naturally manufactured yoghurt is low-calorie, low-fat, and high in nutritional value. More often, manufacturers add several sweeteners and additives that make the yoghurt unhealthy for us.
  • Although naturally made yoghurt contains natural sugars, consumers are advised to look for 15 grams of sugar per serving or less. 
  • The lower the amount of sugar, the better it is unless there are other artificial sweeteners added that reduce the efficacy of yoghurt.
  • Some products may be available in the market that may be labelled as "made with real yoghurt" or "yoghurt based". Such products only contain yoghurt powder that is made by heating yoghurt, which actually kills the good bacteria. So, it's better to avoid such products. 

With the emerging trends and craze about yoghurt, and small, independent studies demonstrating the benefits of yoghurt, scientists have called for more rigorous research. They are also urging industries to use yoghurt in a way that maximises the utilisation and potential of this food for the larger population.





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