Yogurt is rich in calcium, vitamin D, protein and the B vitamins.

What Is the Purpose of Eating Yogurt?

by Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

Visiting the yogurt aisle of your grocery store these days can be overwhelming. Gone are the days when your choice was between fruit on the bottom or mixed into the yogurt. Now there's Greek and organic yogurt, yogurt that improves regularity and full-fat, low-fat and nonfat yogurt in all the different varieties. The sudden explosion in yogurt choices may have you wondering what's the purpose of eating yogurt. Yogurt offers a number of health benefits, ranging from your gut to your heart.

1. Supplies Good Bacteria

Your digestive tract is teeming with bacteria, both good and bad, but bacteria is also used to transform milk into yogurt. The bacteria in yogurt is probiotic, or helpful bacteria. Consuming probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt supports the growth of the good bacteria in your digestive tract while destroying the toxic substances created by the bad bacteria. Although research is still on-going, the website Nutrition411 reports that probiotics also help make vitamins, boost immune health and decrease your risk of cavities.

2. Good for Your Bones

Osteoporosis affects more than 44 million people in the United States, according to Science Daily, and is a major health concern for women. A 2013 study published in the "Archives of Osteoporosis" found that people who included two and half to three servings of dairy foods a day, specifically milk or yogurt, had better bone mineral density in their hips.

3. Treat Candida Infection

If you're prone to candida infections, also known as yeast infections, eating yogurt may help. A 2003 review study published in the "Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing" found that when consumed or directly applied to the infected area, dairy products containing lactobacillus -- the friendly bacteria in yogurt -- showed promising results in the treatment of vaginal candidiasis. However, the authors of this review reported that the studies were limited and more research is necessary before formal recommendations are made.

4. Lower Blood Pressure

Yogurt is also good for your heart, and may help lower blood pressure. A 2012 longitudinal study published in the journal "Hypertension" examined the relationship between yogurt consumption and blood pressure in adults participating in the Framingham Study Offspring Cohort. This study found a positive correlation between a high intake of yogurt, when part of a healthy diet, and better blood pressure control.

About the Author

Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.

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