I’m super passionate about yogurt. In fact, there’s rarely a time when I don’t have plenty of yogurt lining the shelves of my fridge. And there’s a good reason for that. Yogurt is a miracle food. It’s got so many things that you need — protein, calcium, and don’t forget those probiotics. It’s the perfect midday snack, pre workout boost, or the last thing you eat before going to sleep. What’s more, it can work wonders for your gut. And, as it turns out, having excellent gut health is indispensable for maintaining peak performance.
Why I Eat Yogurt
I’ve eaten a lot of yogurt since I was young. But as I got older, I found that the cheap, sugary stuff from the store wasn’t really cutting it anymore. For me, I wanted to find yogurt that was rich in nutrients but also low in sugar. Through research, I found that despite what you might think, some yogurts are actually healthier than others.
Now, eating plenty of yogurt (as well as other healthy foods) along with plenty of exercise is part of my regular routine. I’m really passionate about telling people about the benefits of yogurt and I think if more people had yogurt, they’d be a lot healthier.
Yogurt Boosts Gut Health
First and foremost, if for no other reason you eat yogurt, this should be a reason to do so. Yogurt is excellent for your gut health. And, as it so happens, your gut health has a lot to do with your overall health. Not only does your gut health impact your ability to fight off infections, it also has a lot of say over your mood. In fact, recent developments have revealed that bad gut health can impact your mental health. Anxiety, depression — these are not helped by an unhealthy gut.
Additionally, gut health increases your sleep, makes it easier for you to get more done, improves your mood, and, of course, aids in digestion.
Yogurt Contains Active Cultures
Good yogurt (that is, yogurt that is good for you) contains live active cultures rich with probiotics. These cultures have shown to have an astounding impact on your gut health, and to have even reduced symptoms from IBS.
I can’t stress this enough — the probiotics in yogurt are amazing for preventing digestive issues and gut problems. Studies have shown that having yogurt regularly not only reduces GI problems, but thanks to the eliminated issues surrounding them, improves every aspect of your health — allowing you to sleep better and live better.
Yogurt is High in Protein
Ditch the power bar in the morning — grab a cup of nutrient rich yogurt instead. Yogurt has a ton of protein packed inside, and some yogurts — like my favorite, Skyr — has twice the protein. Of course, protein is essential for any healthy diet, and helps prevent unnecessary hunger while boosting muscle growth and overall health.
Yogurt is Rich in other Nutrients
Vitamins B&D, Magnesium, potassium and calcium are other nutrients commonly found in yogurts. These ingredients are also essential for maintaining your health — and they’re all conveniently jam packed inside that cup of healthy yogurt you purchased from the store. Plus, yogurt tastes great — it’s one of the few really tasty health foods. So why wouldn’t you eat it?
Yogurt is Easier to Digest than other Dairy Products
A lot of people have trouble digesting milk based products. The nice thing about yogurt, however, is that it’s actually still pretty easy to digest for people with mild lactose intolerance. This is largely thanks to the fermentation process. During this process, the enzymes in the milk that people have trouble digesting are broken down and all but eliminated. That means people like me who are not big milk drinkers can still benefit from its many health benefits.
The Healthiest Yogurts for You
Now that we’ve established the fact that yogurt is a miracle food that is incredibly good for you, let’s get into the nitty gritty. What is the ultimate yogurt? For starters, you can pretty much discount anything super high in sugar. Although yogurt is good for you, if you are taking in copious amounts of added sugar along with it, it really offsets the benefit. Additionally, some processed yogurts lose their active cultures, or do not have active cultures infused into them while being made. These, too, should be avoided.
I’ve dabbled in a lot of different yogurts overtime, and I’ve definitely honed in on a few healthy, low sugar yogurts that I really enjoy. Here’s the best of the best. I really want you to try these as they will add a significant source of health to your life, are tasty, and relatively easy to find at a grocery store near you.
First Place in the Best For You Yogurt Contest Goes to…Skyr!
I first discovered skyr yogurt years back when Siggy’s was being sold by Starbucks. My first impression of it was…that’s not very tasty! Of course, at that time the only experience I had of yogurt was the sugary desertesque stuff I had as a child. I was not yet accustomed to the finer things of life e.g. healthy yogurt. Since then, I’ve grown to appreciate skyr above and beyond other yogurts for a few reasons.
- It’s Icelandic: okay, so I may have a slight bias for skyr because, like me, it has Icelandic roots. I love a lot of Icelandic products and I’m not sure if that’s just because I like them because they are Icelandic or if because I have Icelandic heritage I’m predisposed to like them, or a little bit of both. But getting a taste of the good old country is always a good thing.
- It tastes better: skyr is made in a process once unique to Iceland that is now being copied around the world. During its fermenting and straining, Skyr is filled with different cultures than regular yogurt. These cultures also happen to taste less bitter. So skyr actually needs less sugar to taste better.
- It’s higher than protein: during the straining process when the yogurt is being made, 4x the amount of milk goes into skyr than normal yogurts, making it naturally creamier and higher in protein than other yogurts.
Siggi’s Is my Favorite Skyr Product
Siggi’s was probably the original skyr to gain widespread fame in America. Since then, however, other American-based companies have produced their own versions of the Icelandic staple. However, Siggi’s remains my favorite. The only downside of Siggi’s — it can be expensive. I eat Siggi’s pretty much everyday, so it’s important that I find it for as cheap as possible. While most stores nearby carry it, I’ve found the best place to get a good deal on Siggi’s is at my local grocery outlet. While it’s not always in stock, it’s always available at a great price their — less than half what you’d expect to pay for it at the store.
Before purchasing Siggi’s, however, you’re going to want to learn a bit about the various products the company sells. For example, various different flavors and fat percentages are available. What percentage of fat is in the different product really impacts the creaminess of the yogurt. For your basic staple, you might have a 0% in the morning. For special occasions, you might try the triple cream — high in fat, but still healthy for you, and a great alternative to sugar-filled deserts.
Other Great Yogurts
While skyr is my favorite yogurt by far, I’ve also tried a few other yogurts that have been beneficial for me while also being relatively low in sugar. Without going into too much detail, some of my favorites are:
When I first got started on my yogurt adventure as an adult, I was actually drinking the drinkable Activia. I think that was a good gateway yogurt, but because of its higher sugar content, I would rate these other yogurts higher. Although, there are plenty of great active cultures in Activia and some low sugar options.
Originally published at https://www.josephwriteranderson.com on November 26, 2020.