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Amazing Benefits Of Greek Yogurt (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Greek Yogurt (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Greek yogurt stands out from other types of yogurt that you can choose at the grocery store for a lot of reasons. Thicker in consistency than its regular yogurt counterpart, this Mediterranean-style favorite undergoes a processing method that involves more extensive straining in order to remove most of the whey, lactose and sugar.

When you taste Greek yogurt, its thick and creamy texture will be incomparable to any other type of yogurt you’ve tried. Besides that, there are several good health-related reasons why you should consider making it a regular part of your diet.

1. It helps lower blood pressure

Some varieties of yogurt contain twice as much sodium as Greek yogurt, which can contribute to higher blood pressure levels and an increased risk of additional heart-related problems if your sodium intake surpasses the daily recommended value. A 100-gram serving of nonfat Greek yogurt contains just about 36 milligrams of sodium. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, most people should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

2. It improves digestive health

When you choose to incorporate Greek yogurt into your diet, you’re also getting the added digestive power of the probiotics it contains. These are live, “good” bacteria that help balance out the bad bacteria in your gut. Probiotics also have anti-inflammatory and anti-pathogenic effects, essentially giving your your immune system a bit of a boost so your body is better equipped to fight off any harmful bacteria.

3. It keeps you fuller for longer

Greek yogurt has twice as much protein per serving as regular yogurt does and cuts the sugar content down by nearly half (when you choose plain over flavored). A typical 100-gram serving of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt has about 10 grams of protein. More protein keeps you full for longer because it takes longer to digest, so you won’t be reaching for other snacks as soon as some other varieties of yogurt might cause you to do.

4. It helps you lose weight

With less than 4 grams of carbohydrates and less than half a gram of fat per 100-gram serving of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, it’s a perfect choice for people who are watching how many carbs or how much fat they’re consuming. And at only 59 calories, Greek yogurt can help you stick to your daily calorie intake–whether you’re trying to lose or maintain weight.

5. It keeps your brain healthy

Greek yogurt contains Vitamin B12, which is only found in animal products. A 100-gram serving of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt provides about 13 percent of your recommended daily value of this vitamin, which is necessary for a well functioning brain and nervous system. It also helps with cell reproduction and keeps your skin looking healthy.

6. It supports good heart, bone, muscle and nerve health

Dairy products are known to be among the best sources of absorbable calcium, providing some of the highest concentrations of it per serving. Greek yogurt doesn’t contain quite as much calcium as regular yogurt, but a 100-gram nonfat serving still provides around 11 percent of your recommended daily value. Calcium is necessary to keep your teeth strong, your heart rhythm beating at a healthy pace, your blood flowing and all sorts of other parts of your body healthy and functioning properly.

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7. It may be an appropriate alternative for people who are sensitive to dairy

People who are lactose intolerant may be able to add small amounts of Greek yogurt to their diet because it doesn’t have as much lactose as other dairy products, due to the fact that it undergoes a different processing method. When Greek yogurt is strained, much of the lactose is removed. Although lactose intolerant people may not be able to eliminate their symptoms entirely by adding Greek yogurt to their diets, they may at least experience less severe symptoms.

8. It gives your metabolism a boost

Humans need trace amounts of iodine to keep their thyroids healthy, and dairy products like Greek yogurt are a good source of this essential mineral. The thyroid gland helps regulate your metabolism–including blood cell production, nerve function and muscle function. Adding more iodine-rich foods in your diet may help you lose weight if you’ve been struggling to shed those extra pounds.

Reap the Benefits of Greek Yogurt with These Recipes

To get the full benefits of Greek yogurt, make sure you do your research and choose a brand that isn’t too highly processed. Always read the label to check that it contains “live and active cultures” for the probiotic component, and stick to plain, nonfat varieties to keep sugar and fat content as low as possible.

Plain Greek yogurt gets kind of boring after a while on its own, so here are a few delicious ways to get creative with using it:

Refreshing Strawberry-Banana Greek Yogurt Smoothie

    One of the best ways to pump up the flavor of your plain Greek yogurt is by adding fruit to it. Its thick, creamy texture makes it a perfect addition to smoothies.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 large, ripe banana
    • 1 cup fresh strawberries
    • 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
    • 4 – 6 ice cubes (optional)

    Directions:

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    Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You can add more ice cubes for an even thicker consistency, or instead add unsweetened almond milk (or even just plain water) for a thinner consistency.

    Homemade Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

      Whipping up your own salad dressing is one of the healthiest decisions you can make to cut out extra fat and sugar that’s packed into store-bought varieties. Greek yogurt is ideal for making creamy salad dressings like ranch and caesar.

      Ingredients:

      • 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
      • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
      • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
      • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
      • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
      • 1 garlic clove

      Directions:

      Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Store the dressing in a mason jar and refrigerate for up to one week.

      Oatmeal and Greek Yogurt Pancakes

        Greek yogurt can even be used as a creamy baking ingredient in pancakes, muffins and more of your favorite baked goods. If you’re tired of eating Greek yogurt in its original form, this is a great way to sneak more of it into your diet.

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        Ingredients:

        • 1 cup whole wheat flour
        • 1 cup milk (or unsweetened almond milk)
        • 1/2 cup quick oats
        • 1/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
        • 1 egg
        • 2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
        • 2 teaspoons baking powder
        • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

        Directions:

        In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and egg, followed by the brown sugar, yogurt and vanilla extract until it’s smooth.

        Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Coat a skillet with nonstick spray and set it on the stove over medium heat.

        Pour a 1/4-cup portion of the pancake mixture onto the hot skillet and let it cook for about a minute before flipping it over and cooking the other side for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve right away with maple syrup and optional fruit like berries or bananas.

        Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac n’ Cheese

          For some comfort food with a bit of a healthier spin to it, you can use Greek yogurt instead of regular cream or excessive amounts of cheese. It’s one of the best ingredients you can use to create creamy, cheesy sauces for pasta dishes.

          Ingredients:

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          • 2 cups dry macaroni noodles (ideally whole wheat, if possible)
          • 2 cups shredded low-fat cheese
          • 1/2 cup of milk or unsweetened almond milk
          • 1/2 plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
          • 1/4 teaspoon salt

          Directions:

          Cook the noodles according to the package directions. In a pot placed on the stove over medium heat, cook the milk, cheese and salt until it all melts together. Reduce heat to low and add the yogurt, stirring and cooking just until everything is mixed and hot. Add the sauce to the cooked noodles and serve.

          Chocolate Fudge Yogurt Popsicles

            Greek yogurt freezes quite well and can be eaten as a delicious, frozen treat. Mix it with your favorite flavors like fruit or chocolate for an indulgent dessert that’s actually pretty good for you.

            Ingredients:

            • 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
            • 1 cup milk or unsweetened almond milk
            • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
            • 2/3 cup honey or agave nectar
            • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

            Directions:

            Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and then pour the mixture into popsicle molds with sticks. Place the molds in the freezer overnight and enjoy them the next day.

            One of the best things about enjoying the benefits of Greek yogurt is that it’s an extremely versatile food, and it can be used in both sweet and savory foods. Whether you’re eating a bowl full of it with fresh berries or using it as a creamy base for the sauce that goes with your next dinnertime dish, you’ll definitely want to keep a tub of Greek yogurt around in your refrigerator whenever you get the urge to experiment with some new and exciting recipes.

            Featured Image Credits: Strawberry-banana yogurt smoothie, salad dressing, pancakes, mac n’ cheese, chocolate fudge popsicle.

            Featured photo credit: Anna_Pustynnikova via shutterstock.com

            More by this author

            Elise Moreau

            Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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            Last Updated on January 3, 2020

            The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

            The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

            Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

            The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

            1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

            Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

             I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

            To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

            And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

             2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

            Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

            3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

            Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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            4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

            The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

            5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

            Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

            6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

            Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

            7. Positive people smile a lot!

            When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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            8. People who are positive are great communicators.

            They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

            9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

            One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

            10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

            Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

            How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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            I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

            Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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