People have been eating yogurt for hundreds of years…and for good reason!
Yogurt is a type of dairy product that is very nutritious and a great part of a natural and well-balanced diet. This is an easy and convenient snack that you can eat on its own and take on the go. But you can also mix yogurt with other healthy ingredients and make your own yogurt recipes at home.
Here’s a look at why yogurt is healthy and ways to get more of this wholesome food in your diet.
How Yogurt Is Made
Yogurt relies on bacteria to make it what it is because this dairy product is made through the bacterial fermentation of milk. When making yogurt, the protein in milk curdles, which gives yogurt its thicker and creamier texture. You can use different kinds of milk to make yogurt depending on the taste and fat content you want it to have. Many types of yogurt contain living and active bacteria, which is known as probiotics. Kefir, Greek yogurt, frozen yogurt, and skyr are variations of yogurt that you may also be interested to try.
Why Yogurt Is Healthy
Yogurt has lots of great nutrients that people need at all stages of life. For example, yogurt is rich in calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and phosphorous. You can also get magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D from yogurt if it has been fortified with it (which many yogurts are). Yogurt is a good source of protein, especially Greek yogurt, which is thicker and provides higher amounts of protein than regular yogurt.
If your yogurt contains probiotics, there are digestive benefits to eating yogurt, which is good to know if you often feel bloated or experience indigestion. Yogurt has been the subject of numerous research studies for its potential to affect diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Healthy Ways to Eat Yogurt
The simplest way to eat yogurt is to just open up a container and dig in with a spoon. But if this doesn’t sound appealing to you or you just want to switch up your snacks a bit, there are recipes that you can make that contain yogurt to help you get its health benefits.
Instead of ice cream or frozen yogurt, try having some plain non-fat yogurt with healthy mix-ins for dessert, such as dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. You can add a heaping spoonful of yogurt to smoothies with fruits and vegetables for a boost of nutrition and creaminess or serve a side of plain yogurt with spicy Indian food dishes to soothe your taste buds and stomach. Yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola parfaits make a perfect healthy breakfast. Meanwhile you can add Greek yogurt to everything from pancake batter to pasta sauce and mac and cheese.
How to Make Your Own Yogurt at Home
It’s easy and affordable to buy a wide variety of yogurts at the grocery store, but unfortunately, many commercially produced yogurts contain additives like sugar, coloring, and artificial flavors. To know exactly what you’re getting in a cup of yogurt, try making your own DIY version at home.
Here’s a recipe to try for homemade yogurt:
- 2 quarts milk (whole, 2%, or skim depending on your preference)
- 4 tbsp. plain yogurt that contains live and active cultures
- Rinse the inside of a pot with cold water (to prevent scorching) and add milk
- Bring the milk to a simmer while stirring occasionally
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to around 110-120 degrees
- Add half of the warm milk and yogurt to a bowl and whisk together
- Pour mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk, cover, and set the pot on a heating pad to stay warm.
- Allow the mixture to set for 10-12 hours
- Move the pot to the refrigerator and allow it to chill and thicken for 4 hours