Yogurt is prepared by the process of bacterial fermentation of milk. There are lots of varieties of yogurt like low-fat, non-fat, and Greek. Out of which, Greek yogurt is the healthiest one. It is thicker than other types of yogurt as the liquid whey is removed by straining during the production process (1). It has high protein content (2), good amount of calcium and lesser carbohydrate (3, 4). There are lots of benefits of Greek yogurt which can make you healthy and keep several ailments at bay. We have summarized some of the best health and beauty benefits of this wonderful ingredient. Check them out!
Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt
1. Keeps the Digestive System Healthy
There are many bacteria in our digestive system that help our body in many ways. But, not all of them are healthy. There are bad bacteria as well as good bacteria. Greek yogurt keeps the digestive system healthy as it has lots of probiotics that increase the good bacteria in our body. The more amount of good bacteria the lesser bad bacteria will be there in our digestive system.
2. Controls Blood Pressure
To fend off high blood pressure, it is essential to incorporate food that is rich in calcium, protein, phosphorous, potassium, fiber, etc. Since Greek yogurt contains calcium and other compounds (7), it keeps a check on your blood pressure.
3. Manage Your Weight
Your weight is associated directly with what you eat. Unhealthy diet generally adds to your weight. People often tend to eat a lot of food at once, when hungry. If you are trying to lose your weight, then this yogurt can be of much help. As Greek yogurt contains higher amount (almost double the regular yogurt) of protein, it makes you feel full for a longer duration and suppresses appetite (8).
4. For Healthier Bones
The most important compound that is required for healthier bone is calcium. If enough amount of calcium is not present in the bones, your bones can get weak, become fragile, and may break easily. There are two important minerals, i.e., calcium and vitamin D that are required for stronger bones (9). Calcium is required to keep them dense and strong. Insufficient calcium may cause further such deficiencies as this mineral is stored in our bones and utilized by our body for normal and proper functioning. Greek yogurt contains a good amount of calcium. Therefore, it can keep your bones healthy. Another compound that is required for keeping our bones strong is vitamin D. Greek yogurt also has a good amount of this vitamin. So, you must incorporate it into your diet.
5. Strengthens Muscles
Muscles are an important part of our body as they are responsible for the movement of the body. There are more than 600 muscles in our body responsible for various functions such as lifting things to pumping blood throughout the body. It is essential to keep them healthy, and protein is the main building block of your muscles. As Greek yogurt contains a good amount of protein (10), it keeps your muscles stronger and healthier.
6. Regulates Brain Functioning
For healthy brain functioning, vitamin B12 is necessary. Deficiencies of this vitamin may lead to depression and a severe disease called sub-acute combined degeneration (11). Greek yogurt, along with other vitamins has a good amount of vitamin B12 as well (12). It, thus, keeps a check on the proper functioning of the brain and helps energize too.
7. Treats Vaginal Yeast Infection
Vaginal yeast infection is generally caused due to the fungus Candida albicans. The symptoms of the disease generally include itching and burning, redness, and swelling in the vaginal area, etc. Since, it can be treated with the yogurt that contains live culture (13), you can incorporate Greek yogurt into your diet to prevent the infection.
8. Improves Heart Health
Heart plays a key role in our circulatory system as it pumps blood throughout the body. It is vital that your heart must be healthy for the proper functioning of the body. Cholesterol and fat are the compounds that can cause trouble to your heart. A higher level of cholesterol increases the risk of heart attacks (14). Since greeky yogurt contains very less amount of fat and cholesterol, it keeps your heart healthy.
Beauty Benefits of Greek Yogurt
Along with all the Greek yogurt benefits for health, it is also very useful for our skin and hair. As it is full of essential nutrients and vitamins, Greek yogurt keeps our skin as well as hair healthy.
9. Cures Acne
Acne is the most annoying problem of the skin. It makes skin look dull and lifeless. It is essential to have such compounds in the diet that cures and heals acne. As already mentioned, Greek yogurt increases good bacteria in our body, it, thus, keeps a check on acne causing bacteria. Along with this, it has many vitamins and minerals like zinc that are required for maintaining healthy skin (15). Therefore, it is a perfect ingredient for treating acne. Apart from adding it to your diet, you can also apply it on your face or can use it in several face masks for acne as well.
10. Prevents Hair Fall
Several studies have shown that vitamins and minerals are required for reducing hair fall (16). Greek yogurt works wonder on your hair. It is a rich source of vitamin D, proteins, other vitamins, and minerals which are essential for our hair(17). It also contains vitamin B5, which ensures a proper blood flow in your scalp and promotes hair growth. This yogurt keeps your follicles strong and thereby prevents hair fall.
11. Works as Moisturizer
Greek yogurt acts as a natural moisturizer due to the presence of many vital minerals and vitamins. It nourishes the skin from deep within and therefore, treats dry skin as well. Since this yogurt has vitamin D, it may also treat the condition known as chronic hives (18, 19).
12. Treats Dry Scalp
Your hair requires protein as much as any another body part. Application of Greek yogurt helps break down the dead skin cell and provides nourishment to the scalp (20). Thus, it provides relief from the condition of the dry and itchy scalp. It also works as a great hair conditioner due to its amazing moisturizing properties.
13. Fights Wrinkles
Wrinkles on the skin are generally caused due to aging (21). Greek yogurt is an anti-aging food which nourishes the living cells and breaks down harmful cell and bacteria in the body. It, therefore, aids to reduce wrinkles and gives you a flawless, glowing skin.
14. Dark Circles
Dark circles are caused due to several reasons such as hyperpigmentation, melanin deposition, allergies, improper sleep, smoking, etc., (22, 23). Greek yogurt can cure it effectively as it provides a cooling effect. It can also reduce the puffiness under your eyes. Just apply some Greek yogurt on the affected areas and rinse well with water.
15. Reduces Dark Spots and Blemishes
Since, the yogurt is rich in zinc, B vitamins, and other minerals, it reduces blemishes, scars, rashes, and swelling associated with acne (24) along with the dark spots and at the same time keeps the skin glowing and hydrated. Along with this, it has probiotics, which may also provide relief from allergies (25).
16. Tightens Pores
You may have sagging skin due to the environmental factors like UV rays as they make skin lose its elasticity (26). To have a wonderful glowing skin, it is essential that your face is firmly toned, and pores are tightened. For this, your diet and your products must contain nutrients that strengthen the pores in the skin. Greek yogurt has numerous amount of essential minerals that tighten the pores in the skin. The presence of lactic acid causes dissolution of dead skin and shrink the large pores eventually. Just apply the yogurt directly on the skin and let it absorb all the nutrients for some time.
17. Helps Relieve Suntan and Sunburn
If you have been out in the sun for a long time, you may surely get that tan that makes skin tone uneven. Alpha-hydroxy acids (like lactic acid ) are generally used for the treatment of skin problems (27). Since the yogurt is a rich source of lactic acid, it fades tan from your skin, gets rid of sunburn, and treat dyspigmentation too. A full-fat variant of the yogurt is more beneficial than the other varieties.
Tips and Caution
1) Greek yogurt already has natural sugar, adding extra sugar will add up more calories (28).
2) You must always check the ingredient label before buying Greek yogurt as many companies add extra ingredients to increase the protein content of yogurt (29).
3) Among all the varieties of Greek yogurt, it is always best to choose the plain one.
4) You can use Greek yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, etc. (30).
5) People with lactose intolerance must use Greek yogurt only after consulting a dietitian.