Is Greek Yogurt Actually Good For You? What To Consider

Greek yogurt was barely a blip in the food industry in 2005, but it catapulted to a $1.5 billion industry by 2011 (via The Atlantic). Now you can buy many flavored types, or enjoy it paired with crunchy or sweet toppings. Greek yogurt gets its strong flavor because it's been strained three times, rather than just once in regular yogurt. Once some of the liquid (which is the whey part of the milk), gets strained out, Greek yogurt becomes more of a nutritional powerhouse compared to regular yogurt.

A 100-gram container of plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt (about 3.5 ounces) has 95 calories and 9 grams of protein. You'll also get just 5 grams of carbs and 3 grams of sugar. The whole milk Greek yogurt has 4 grams of fat, with 2 of those coming from saturated fat. Greek yogurt also has 111 milligrams of calcium. Of course, the sweetened versions and cookie toppings can make Greek yogurt lean toward the unhealthy side. Overall, however, dieticians maintain that Greek yogurt is good for you (via Eating Well). Here's why.

Protein and probiotics

Ounce for ounce, Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt because it's been strained. Combined with a little fat, it will leave you feeling full for a little longer. This makes Greek yogurt a better snack choice over processed, sugary snacks that can spike your blood sugar. The protein in Greek (and regular yogurt) is casein protein. This type of protein digests more slowly than whey protein. Combined with a complete profile of amino acids, casein protein can help you recover from your workouts and help build muscle. The casein in Greek yogurt might not be best for a post-workout drink. Instead, save it for bedtime. That way the slow-working casein can work on repairing your muscles while you sleep (via Men's Health).

The probiotics in Greek yogurt will improve the diversity of bacteria in your gut, according to BBC Good Food. These bacteria will help produce immune cells, protect your stomach lining, and prevent harmful bacteria from harming your system. A healthy gut can also improve your mental health because it factors into the production of serotonin and dopamine.

Minerals in Greek yogurt

Although there's less calcium in Greek yogurt than regular yogurt, eating Greek yogurt can help you reach your daily calcium intake. Calcium is important in building strong bones, and it helps regulate your blood pressure. A 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt has just as much potassium as a banana. Potassium maintains nerve and muscle function, regulates your heart rate, and helps control your blood pressure (via Harvard Medical School). The iodine in Greek yogurt is good for your thyroid and metabolism. People who are pregnant might want to consume Greek yogurt for its iodine, since it helps with the baby's brain development.

Sure, plain Greek yogurt might not taste as appealing on its own, but you can add certain foods or incorporate it into recipes to make it more palatable, according to Ochsner Health. Greek yogurt can easily substitute for sour cream to top off tacos, or you can replace the mayo for Greek yogurt in your tuna salad. Greek yogurt can also make your soups a little creamier — without having to add heavy cream. Just be sure to add the yogurt after you've heated the soup to avoid curdling. You can add a little protein to your morning oatmeal by adding some Greek yogurt. Rather than buying a flavored Greek yogurt that can have too much added sugar, try flavoring Greek yogurt by adding your own fruit. You can also try stirring in nut butter or a flavored protein powder.