What about Yogurt?

March 27, 2018 in Health by Joyce Bunderson

A new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that higher intake of yogurt was linked with a 30 percent reduced risk of myocardial infarction (MI), heart attack, in women; and a 19 percent reduced risk in men.

The following are some observations I’ve made of the study and its results:

  • First, let me say that it looks like a well-done study; but I truly wish that the researchers did not accept any grant money from the National Dairy Council, regardless of how small the grant was.
  • The positive results were noticeably increased when the participants also consumed a DASH diet – rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in sodium.
  • The numbers of hypertensive participants were nice and large; the participants were followed for up to 30 years (that’s nice too), but the age range differed quite a bit between the women studied and the men studied. Maybe that age difference was part of the disparity in risk reduction.

Now having observed a few things, I’d like to hope that including yogurt more than two times a week could contribute to a reduced risk of MI and even heart disease and stroke. Justin Buendia, chief researcher of the study, from Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts, shows that yogurt has its own independent health benefits, above and beyond those of milk. So yogurt is sounding better and better.

My big question is how can it hurt to include yogurt a few times a week? Yogurt is not a new food to humanity. We humans have consumed yogurt for about 8000 years (6000 BC). That definitely puts a few chits on yogurt’s side of the table. In the past, yogurt has been linked to weight loss and lower body weight; and even to improved cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

I use nonfat, unflavored/unsweetened Greek yogurt and it seems that there is a lot to like about what it has to offer nutritionally. A two-thirds cup serving of nonfat Greek yogurt has 100 calories and 17 grams of protein. At only 7 grams of carbohydrate, it can make those on most versions of high protein diets happy.

Yogurt has its issues to be concerned with – the biggest, by far in my opinion, is the fact that many of the yogurt producers add a load of sugar or other sweeteners. So I thought that I’d share some ways to increase yogurt consumption without too much sugar.

How can you increase your yogurt consumption? One nice thing about yogurt is that it lends itself to both savory and sweet recipe preparations.

  • The most frequent use of yogurt at our home is on top of pancakes (100% whole grain). I sweeten with a little lo han guo – powerful plant sweetener.
  • Added to smoothies.
  • Replace in traditional sour cream or mayonnaise applications. Some of the recipes that I use yogurt are for garnish on tacos; in salad dressings like egg, chicken and avocado salads. Guacamole is a great place to start.
  • Yogurt could be used on baked potatoes or replace some or all mayo in potato salad.
  • Yogurt mixed into scrambled eggs.
  • Use as a base for veggie or fruit dip.
  • As a garnish on hot cereal.
  • As a garnish on chili, tomato soup, and lentil soup.
  • Hummus and Tzatziki recipes are a traditional place to use yogurt.
  • Use as a base for ranch dip or dressing.
  • Use to lighten up your Caesar dressing
  • Of course, you won’t want to forget plain old yogurt with fruit, or instead of an ice cream dessert.

Whether it’s the probiotics of the yogurt, the calcium, or the protein, or some other factor, it seems like there’s not only a lack of risk or sacrifice to include yogurt in our diets and menu planning, but also, there are many positive health outcomes.