How to Boost Energy Levels with Greek Yogurt
Not all yogurts, it seems, are created equal. Greek yogurt is particularly beneficial for healthy eating as it has more protein and less lactose, carbohydrates and salt than regular yogurt without sacrificing anything in taste.
A cup of yogurt makes a great instant breakfast, dessert or snack to quell hunger pangs without adding a huge number of calories to your daily intake. High in protein and calcium, and easy to digest, it has enough carbs to be a valuable source of slow-release energy. It is also rich in potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and phosphorus. Read on to discover why "going Greek" nutritionally makes good sense.
Greek Yogurt Provides Protein
Greek yogurt contains up to twice the protein of other yogurts without necessarily having more calories. Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier-tasting than ordinary yogurts as it is strained to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose and sugar during the production process. This is what produces the thick creamy texture.
While one cup of conventional yogurt contains 5-10 grams of protein, Greek yogurt averages 13-20 grams, about the same as 2-3 ounces of lean meat. This is great news for dieters as protein helps you feel full for longer as well as being essential for building muscle and maintaining body tissue.
Low-Sugar Greek Yogurt
During the making of Greek yogurt, the straining process cuts the milk sugar content by approximately 50%. However, the concentrated flavor means that nothing is sacrificed in terms of taste - it is just different to regular yogurts. Plain low-fat Greek yogurt is highly recommended by dieticians as it is low in fat, sugar and carbohydrates yet remains a satisfying tasty food and a great snack when energy levels are flagging.
Probiotics and Greek Yogurt
Thick Greek yogurt is high in probiotics - the live micro-organisms that are essential for good digestion within a healthy gut. Probiotics are only found in fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, aged cheese and kefir. By keeping probiotic levels high, it helps maintain a healthy bowel by alleviating diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, allergies and lactose intolerance.
The Best Greek Yogurt to Choose
When choosing a Greek yogurt initially, you need to study the product label very carefully to avoid a diet disaster. Choosing a low-fat or non-fat version is essential as the full-fat yogurts can contain up to 16 grams of saturated fat, and that's more than in three Snickers bars!
Before you load your supermarket trolley with full-fat Greek yogurts containing fruit, cereal and others additives, we should be clear that in order to be a health food, Greek yogurt needs to be the plain, non-fat or low-fat variety. Not only does saturated fat add calories, it is also very bad for your cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.
As well as eating Greek yogurt with a few added berries or a measured amount of high fiber granola, it makes a great base for dips. Stir in garlic, dill or parsley and dip celery, carrot batons or cucumber slices for a healthy treat. Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream on tacos or baked potatoes and spread it on sandwiches in place of mayonnaise. It is also wonderful when used in potato salad, egg salad or coleslaw - go on, give it a try!