14 Proven Benefits of Yogurt

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

Yogurt is considered a superfood because it is packed with calcium, protein, and active ‘good’ bacteria which helps keep the gut healthy. It also helps in promoting weight loss, boosting metabolism, increasing immunity, preventing osteoporosis, and fighting anemia, and vaginal infections. Additionally, it also lowers cholesterol levels, strengthens teeth, and improves hair and skin health.

What is Yogurt?

Yogurt, also known as yoghurt, is a dairy product prepared from the bacterial fermentation of milk. Lactobacillus, a helpful class of bacteria, ferments milk into yogurt and aids in the digestive process of the body. They also protect the gut from succumbing to infection by harmful bacteria. This kind of bacteria is also known as ‘yogurt culture’, probiotics, or ‘good’ bacteria, and it is good for overall health and wellness. Unprocessed yogurt has a creamy texture and sour taste.

Types of Yogurt

  • Kefir: It is a type of fermented drink with a sour taste
  • Low-fat and non-fat: Both of these are made from low-fat or skim milk
  • Greek yogurt: It has been strained till the time all the whey is removed and a thicker consistency is obtained
  • Lactose-free: It is a type of yogurt which has a low amount of or no lactose
  • Skyr: It is an Icelandic cultured dairy product with a mild flavor
  • Frozen yogurt: It is a low-fat version of yogurt and is consumed in place of desserts as it is healthier
  • Plain yogurt: It is also called natural yogurt as there are no additives in it
  • Vegan yogurt: It is any yogurt made from non-dairy milk like almond yogurt, coconut yogurt, etc.

Health Benefits of Yogurt

Here are some of the most prominent health benefits of this dairy product.

Improves Digestion

Due to the presence of active bacterial strains in yogurt, it is easily digestible. In fact, the probiotics produced by the lactic acid bacteria present in it, aid in alleviating constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and even infections by peptic ulcer-causing bacteria H. pylori, which may eventually lead to stomach cancer. [1]

Nutrition Facts

Yogurt, Greek, plain, lowfat
Serving Size :
Water [g]83.56
Energy 73
Energy [kJ]305
Protein [g]9.95
Total lipid (fat) [g]1.92
Ash [g]0.63
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]3.94
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]3.56
Lactose [g]2.92
Galactose [g]0.64
Calcium, Ca [mg]115
Iron, Fe [mg]0.04
Magnesium, Mg [mg]11
Phosphorus, P [mg]137
Potassium, K [mg]141
Sodium, Na [mg]34
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.6
Copper, Cu [mg]0.02
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.01
Selenium, Se [µg]12.4
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]0.8
Thiamin [mg]0.04
Riboflavin [mg]0.23
Niacin [mg]0.2
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.47
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.06
Folate, total [µg]12
Folate, food [µg]12
Folate, DFE [µg]12
Choline, total [mg]15.2
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0.52
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]90
Retinol [µg]90
Carotene, beta [µg]6
Vitamin A, IU [IU]309
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]1
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.04
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.2
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]1.23
4:0 [g]0.05
6:0 [g]0.04
8:0 [g]0.02
10:0 [g]0.07
12:0 [g]0.06
14:0 [g]0.19
15:0 [g]0.02
16:0 [g]0.57
17:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0.2
20:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.49
14:1 [g]0.02
16:1 [g]0.03
16:1 c [g]0.03
17:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.43
18:1 c [g]0.38
20:1 [g]0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.08
18:2 [g]0.07
18:2 n-6 c,c [g]0.05
18:2 CLAs [g]0.01
18:3 [g]0.01
18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA) [g]0.01
20:3 [g]0
20:3 n-6 [g]0
20:4 [g]0
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0.06
Fatty acids, total trans-monoenoic [g]0.05
16:1 t [g]0.01
18:1 t [g]0.05
18:2 t not further defined [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total trans-polyenoic [g]0.01
Cholesterol [mg]10
Tryptophan [g]0.03
Threonine [g]0.22
Isoleucine [g]0.29
Leucine [g]0.53
Lysine [g]0.47
Methionine [g]0.16
Cystine [g]0.05
Phenylalanine [g]0.29
Tyrosine [g]0.27
Valine [g]0.43
Arginine [g]0.16
Histidine [g]0.13
Alanine [g]0.23
Aspartic acid [g]0.42
Glutamic acid [g]1.03
Glycine [g]0.13
Proline [g]0.62
Serine [g]0.33
Sources include : USDA [2]

Protects Bone Health

Being a milk product, it consists of large doses of calcium, potassium, and magnesium and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Calcium and magnesium are essential for maintaining bone and dental health.

According to a study published in the Calcified Tissue International by the ex-Chairman of the National Osteoporosis Society of Great Britain, Cyrus Cooper, et al., dairy products are also good for people suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis, and rheumatism. Adequate calcium consumption also lowers the incidence of osteoporosis in menopausal women. [3]

Prevents Vaginal Infections

Vaginal infections due to candida are commonly observed in diabetic women. The daily consumption of yogurt lowers the pH levels of the vaginal tract and prevents candida infections.

Moreover, research on the effects of yogurt and honey cream for vaginal candidiasis(VC) shows that it helps relieve the symptoms of VC. [4]

Weight Management

Studies cited in the International Journal of Obesity (London) show that yogurt augments fat loss and reduces central adiposity during energy restriction. It helps you feel full, and consequently, you avoid overeating. This not only helps to keep the weight in control but also reduces belly fat. [5]

Enhances Brain Function

Being a rich source of probiotics, it enhances mood and cognitive function, according to a study conducted by the researchers of the University of California Los Angeles. The rich source of potassium present in curd is essential for nerve health and maintains the fluid balance in the body. [6]

A wooden bowl filled with yogurt with a wooden spoon in it placed next to a red check cloth on a wooden table

Yogurt is a popular dairy product that’s made by the bacterial fermentation of milk. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Treats Asthma

With its anti-inflammatory properties, yogurt can help relieve the symptoms of asthma. The probiotics in it significantly reduce the chances of fatal asthma attacks in physically active sufferers. This lowers the symptoms like shortness of breath, cough, and tightening of the chest in asthma patients. [7]

Prevents Anemia

According to findings by the International Dairy Journal, the protein content in yogurt has been found to be higher than that of milk. It is also known to be more easily digestible than milk due to the partial breakdown of proteins, such as casein, by the fermenting bacteria. [8]

Boosts Immunity

The probiotic strains of bacteria present in yogurt boost the immune system and reduce the incidence of infections, inflammatory diseases, and allergies. Scientists say that regular consumption can activate your T cells and helps you fight illness with a stronger immune system. [9]

Lowers Hypertension

A regular intake of dairy products has been shown to lower hypertension by decreasing sodium reabsorption. Therefore, Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, et al., Penn State University, in a study concludes, “Inclusion of dairy products in a heart-healthy diet is an important focal point to attain blood pressure benefits.” [10]

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Studies carried out by various institutes indicate a drop in serum LDL (bad) cholesterol levels when a person regularly consumes yogurt. Thus, the daily consumption of this dairy dessert may lead to a reduction in cardiovascular diseases. [11]

Eliminates Bad Breath

Yogurt is a natural remedy for bad breath and has reduced halitosis by up to 80% in test subjects. Levels of plaque and gingivitis were also found to be lower among daily consumers of this dairy product. [12]

Promotes Active Aging

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that yogurt is a rich source of many important nutrients required for healthy aging. It helps in fighting many nutritional deficiencies which lead to musculoskeletal impairment, cardiometabolic diseases, and cognitive impairment. [13]

Skin & Hair Care

The topical application of yogurt has been proven to reduce acne and skin rashes. It also gives a healthy glow by reducing dark circles and closing pores. It is also beneficial for hair, as it soothes the itchy scalp and treats dandruff.  [14] [15]

Workout Recovery

Consuming Greek yogurt post-workout helps in better recovery. If you have a glass of water with it, the water absorption rate is also increased.

Is Yogurt Good For You?

Yogurt, in general, is good for everybody. But, if you suffer from any one of the following conditions then yogurt is bad for you.

Lactose intolerance: Lactose intolerance means a condition in which a person lacks the enzyme lactase needed to break down lactose. Consuming yogurt in such conditions may result in diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other disorders, therefore, it is advisable to avoid having it in such cases.

Lactose intolerant people can consume yogurt derived from soy or coconut milk, as they are prepared from non-dairy products and would do no harm to their digestive system.

Milk allergy: People who are allergic to milk are actually allergic to casein and whey, types of protein, present in milk. Consuming milk or milk products will result in hives, swelling, and even anaphylaxis.

Diabetics: Excess sugar intake may be harmful to your health if you have diabetes. Store-bought yogurts tend to have added sugar and preservatives which can deteriorate your condition. It is best to make the yogurt at home and have it.

Quick Serving Tips

Yogurt can be consumed in many ways.

  • Dip it: Use it as a dip for breadsticks, fruit kebab, or raw veggies.
  • Blend it: Blend your favorite fruit with yogurt and enjoy a delicious smoothie. These smoothies make for a great post-workout recovery drink.
  • Freeze it: Frozen yogurt serves as a healthy substitute for ice creams.
  • Spread it: Spread it over a slice of bread and fill your tummy in minutes.
  • Add it: To add a healthy twist to your salad, use it as a substitute for mayonnaise in the dressing. You can also make creative dips by adding herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
  • Layer it: Layer dry or fresh fruits, cereals, and granola with yogurt. Your parfait is ready!
  • Or just have it: Yes, you can enjoy plain yogurt, too!
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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