I eat non-fat yogurt several times a week as a dessert or snack. Here’s why:
Health Benefits of Yogurt
Yogurt may not be the miracle food some have claimed, but it certainly has a lot to offer in the health department. Besides being an excellent source of bone-building calcium, it is believed that the bacterial cultures Lactobacillus bulgaricus (L. bulgaricus) and Streptococcus thermophilus (S. thermophilus), that are used to make yogurt, carry their own health benefits.
For example, research has suggested that eating yogurt regularly helps boost the body's immune-system function, warding off colds and possibly even helping to fend off cancer. It is also thought the friendly bacteria found in many types of yogurt can help prevent and even remedy diarrhea.
For people who suffer from lactose intolerance, yogurt is often well tolerated because live yogurt cultures produce lactase, making the lactose sugar in the yogurt easier to digest (see Lactose Intolerance for advice on coping with this condition). Be sure to check the label on the yogurt carton for the National Yogurt Association's Live and Active Cultures (LAC) seal. This seal identifies products that contain a significant amount of live and active cultures. But don't look to frozen yogurt as an option; most frozen yogurt contains little of the healthful bacteria.
One research study tracked a population of 162 very elderly people for five years. The incidence of death for those subjects who ate yogurt and milk more than three times per week was 38% lower than the incidence of death those subjects who ate yogurt and other dairy foods less than once a week. (Consuming citrus fruit twice a week and a lowered consumption of meat were also associated with decreased incidence of death).
Yogurt Cuts Bladder Cancer Risk
Intakes of various foods and nutrients could influence the risk of bladder cancer, because most metabolites are excreted through the urinary bladder. With regard to dietary factors, consumption of milk and other dairy foods could potentially reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
This study aimed to examine the association between the intake of cultured milk and other dairy foods and the incidence of bladder cancer.
A statistically significant inverse association was observed for the intake of cultured milk (sour milk and yogurt). The intake of milk or cheese did not affect bladder cancer risk.
Cultured milk products contain lactic acid bacteria, which have been shown to suppress bladder carcinogenesis in rodents. The mechanism accounting for the antitumor effect of lactic acid bacteria is not clear, but it may be related to modulation of the immune system. In addition, oral administration of lactic acid bacteria has been shown to suppress food-derived urinary mutagenicity in humans, thus possibly reducing bladder carcinogenesis. The authors conclude that that a high intake of cultured milk may lower the risk of developing bladder cancer.
Dairy foods protect against many ills
Dairy foods protect against the clustering of abnormal body chemistry known as the metabolic syndrome, suggests a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health .
The syndrome has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, coronary artery disease, and premature death.
Two or more out of high blood glucose, insulin, blood fats, body fat, and blood pressure defined the presence of the metabolic syndrome in the men studied.
These men had almost double the risk of coronary artery heart disease and four times the risk of diabetes of those without the syndrome. They were also almost 50% more likely to die early.
But those who regularly drank milk and ate dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, were significantly less likely to have the syndrome.
They were 62% less likely to have it if they drank a pint or more of milk every day, and 56% less likely to have it if they regularly ate other dairy produce.
And the more dairy produce the men consumed, the less likely were they to have the syndrome.
Study suggests a little milk could go a long way for your heart
New research links drinking lowfat milk to lower risk for heart disease
Grabbing as little as one glass of lowfat or fat free milk could help protect your heart, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that adults who had at least one serving of lowfat milk or milk products each day had 37 percent lower odds of poor kidney function linked to heart disease compared to those who drank little or no lowfat milk.
To determine heart disease risk, researchers from several universities in the United States and Norway measured the kidney function of more than 5,000 older adults ages 45 to 84. They tracked eating patterns and tested albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) – a measure that when too low, can indicate poor kidney function and an extremely high risk for cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Researchers found that people who reported consuming more lowfat milk and milk products had lower ACR, or healthier kidney function. In fact, lowfat milk and milk products was the only food group evaluated that on its own, was significantly linked to a reduced risk for kidney dysfunction. The study authors cited other research suggesting milk protein, vitamin D, magnesium and calcium may contribute to milk's potential heart health benefits.
An overall healthy diet, including lowfat milk and milk products, whole grains, fruits and vegetables was also associated with a benefit – 20 percent lower ACR or healthier kidney function.
The National Kidney Foundation estimates that kidney disease affects about 26 million Americans – and kidney disease is both a cause and a consequence of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of Americans. An estimated one out of three adults is currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease.
Milk provides nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, protein and potassium. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend drinking three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk each day.
Drinking milk may help ease the pressure
New study suggests fat-free milk may offer protection against hypertension -- a rising risk for women in this country
Women who drank more fat free milk and had higher intakes of calcium and vitamin D from foods, and not supplements, tended to have a lower risk for developing hypertension or high blood pressure, according to a new study published in the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension.
After examining the diets of nearly 30,000 middle-aged and older women, Harvard researchers found that women who consumed more low-fat milk and milk products and had diets higher in calcium and vitamin D from foods were better protected against high blood pressure. When the researchers investigated the benefits of milk specifically, they found women who drank two or more servings of fat free milk each day reduced their risk for high blood pressure by up to10 percent compared to those who drank fat free milk less than once a month. The same was not found for higher fat milk and milk products or calcium and vitamin D supplement users.
One in three American adults has high blood pressure, and an increasing number of women are living with undiagnosed hypertension, according to a second study published in the journal Circulation. The last decade has seen significant increases in uncontrolled high blood pressure for women across the nation, a condition that puts them at serious risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and even kidney failure.
Yet despite a vast body of research linking diet changes to blood pressure control, most Americans are still missing the mark on their diets. According to new research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Americans are ignoring the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet, the therapeutic eating plan recommended by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute that emphasizes low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables to help reduce blood pressure levels.