Yoghurt is a rather remarkable food and an excellent addition to your usual diet. Quite simply, yogurt is made by culturing dairy products such as milk or cream with special bacteria that produce lactic acid. It’s fermented until the mixture forms a thicker version of the dairy product, with a tang from the lactic acid.
Yoghurt comes in a range of types, including drinkable, regular, whipped, and Greek, among others. You can find it plain or flavoured and it has different amounts of milk fat. It’s also possible to find non-dairy yoghurts.
Regular yoghurt is usually made with regular milk, which may have varying amounts of fat. Greek yoghurt removes the whey that causes regular yoghurt to become thinner and this results in a heavier, creamier yoghurt that tends to be more tart in taste. Almond or coconut yoghurt is a good alternative to these for anyone who cannot have dairy products, but they’re not as great for protein intake.
The Many Benefits of Yogurt
Why should you add yoghurt to your recipes? It’s important to recognise why it’s such an important ingredient for cooking and baking before we dig into how to use it. Here are some of the biggest benefits you glean from eating yoghurt.
Dairy-based yoghurt is full of probiotics. These are great for increasing the good bacteria in your intestines and digestive tract, which helps break up the lactose in your system. This is the main reason you’re told to eat yoghurt after taking antibiotics, which can kill off both good and bacteria. The yoghurt works to repopulate your gut.
Interestingly, science has shown that your gut health can affect your brain and a healthy GI tract can actually improve your mood and your cognitive function. That means eating yoghurt is actually good for all parts of your body.
Good For Your Heart
According to some studies, eating yoghurt twice a week can actually lower your blood pressure and even reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition to that, the calcium included in yoghurt is essential for vascular contraction.
Did you know that yoghurt has around 415 mg of calcium per 226g? This means it’s useful for preventing bone issues like osteoporosis and for helping children grow strong skeletons and teeth. Calcium isn’t just for bones, though. It is also necessary for the nervous system and muscle functions. So, it’s best to make sure you get plenty of it.
Full of Protein
Thanks to the fact that yoghurt is made with milk, it has a high level of protein. This means it will make you feel full faster and longer, and it also helps build muscles. If you’re trying to maintain a youthful figure, you need to make sure you aren’t choosing highly sugared yoghurt, though.
Helps With Blood Sugar
For those suffering from Type 2 diabetes, yoghurt may be useful in helping maintain steady blood sugar levels. It’s best to opt for plain yoghurt in this case, but you will need to eat it regularly, as well. The bacteria that grow in yogurt and the lactic acid help reduce blood sugar spikes and could be a useful way to improve levels in those dealing with this type of diabetes.
Simple Ways To Incorporate Yogurt into Your Recipes
Now that you know how healthy yoghurt is, it’s time to look at how you can use it more often. It is the perfect addition to many recipes and can easily work in both sweet and savoury foods.
Mayonnaise isn’t the healthiest condiment available, but you might be surprised to find that yoghurt is a refreshing replacement. Use it to make egg salad, tuna salad, or chicken salad and add a little zip to your meal. It can also be spread on bread.
Mix Into Alfredo Sauce
Are you planning a delicious pasta dish with alfredo sauce? Greek yoghurt will make it healthier and even take it up a notch in flavour. It’s also lower in calories than heavy cream and the full-fat kind will give you a similar creamy texture.
Use in Place of Milk
Mixing regular yoghurt into your pancake batter, eggs, or even macaroni and cheese can instantly improve the fluffiness and the health factor. Just replace the milk in the recipe with plain yoghurt to see a big difference. You can use this trick for any baked goods, as well.
Both chilled and hot soups will benefit from a drizzle of yoghurt thinned with milk or a dollop of Greek yoghurt. It adds visual interest, but also provides a tangy, creamy addition to the soup. This is a great way to help your family get more interested in yoghurt.
Add To Smoothies
Any type of smoothie can be made healthier and tastier with the addition of yoghurt. Whether you’re making green smoothies, protein shakes, or fun fruit smoothies, pour in some yoghurt for extra nutrition, protein, and calcium.
Make A Dip
Do you enjoy dipping your vegetables into something tasty? Need a way to keep your crisps from being too boring? You can easily create your own dip with a container of Greek yoghurt and a packet of onion soup mix. Or, if you prefer, chop up some herbs, add garlic salt and mix it all together to create a delicious and easily customisable dip.
Make Ice Pops
Frozen yoghurt is a treat that many people enjoy, but never think to make at home. All you need to do is mix fresh fruit with yoghurt and then pour it into moulds. You can also add bits of chocolate, cacao powder, or any other flavour you like. The end result is a tasty alternative to going to the ice cream shop. And it’s even rather healthy, so you can tout it as a good treat when you’re trying to eat healthily.
Use In Cocktails
Blend together yoghurt and tonic water with ice, your favourite alcohol and mix in some flavours like honey, mint, lime, or cherries to create a unique cocktail. There’s something about the creamy, fizzy drink that will really appeal to most people.
Bake It On Chicken
This is a simple way to make your chicken really stand out. Just coat the chicken, boneless or otherwise, in yoghurt, roll in Panko crumbs mixed with dried herbs and then bake as usual. You’ll end up with a nice crispy finish on your chicken. If you prefer, just marinate your chicken or fish in the yoghurt for an hour or two before baking for a delightful taste addition.
No eggs on hand? You can use two spoonfuls of plain yoghurt in place of each egg in your baking. It will still turn out the same. This is a great way to make muffins and bread healthier, as well. You can also use yoghurt to substitute oil in baking recipes, so there’s a good reason to use it in nearly every type of baking.
Yoghurt is a very versatile food. From mixing it into other foods to simply enjoying it with some fruit, there’s no wrong way to eat this delightful healthy food. It’s perfect for home use and for commercial restaurants and bakeries.