Your Early Death Risk Increases If You Don't Eat This Popular Protein Source

How healthy is your lifestyle? That can factor heavily into how long you live. On the other hand, certain factors can shorten your lifespan. A 2023 study in BMC Public Health found that smoking, lack of exercise, too much time being sedentary (close that Stand ring on your fitness app!), and a high-inflammatory diet are the key lifestyle factors leading to early death.

Acute inflammation can be good to defend against disease, but chronic inflammation can lead to conditions like cancer, type 2 diabetes, or obesity. A high-inflammatory diet can include your favorite foods like red and processed meat, refined grains, packaged snack foods, sweetened drinks, and fried food. Yet including foods such as salmon, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil can help your body ward off inflammation and protect your body against disease. You might be surprised that yogurt also has anti-inflammatory benefits that can reduce your risk of death. A 2020 meta-analysis says that eating 200 grams (about 7 ounces) of yogurt a day can reduce your risk of early death by 12%.

What makes yogurt so healthy

Yogurt might be linked to a lower mortality risk due to its influence on the health of your gut microbiome, according to a 2020 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The good bacteria in yogurt can support your immune system while warding off pathogens that can cause infections. 

A 2021 article in Nutrients found that people who ate more yogurt had lower levels of inflammation in their bodies compared to people who didn't eat yogurt. The researchers didn't find these same effects with milk or cheese, which shows that the probiotics in yogurt might be driving the anti-inflammatory power.

Even in the short term, yogurt can reduce inflammation and produce positive changes in your gut bacteria. In a 2017 article in the British Journal of Nutrition, 14 men ate 400 grams of yogurt (or acidified milk) for two weeks. The yogurt reduced the inflammatory response after eating a high-fat meal. Yogurt also reduced a strain of bacteria that's sometimes linked with inflammation.

Yogurt's other healthy benefits

In addition to probiotics, yogurt is a great source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A, B2, and B12. People who eat more yogurt tend to have better bone density, which can protect against osteoporosis, according to a 2022 article in Foods. The key fatty acids that can protect against obesity, inflammation, and diabetes.

Eating yogurt every day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and lower your cholesterol and triglycerides. Probiotic yogurt with strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can be good for managing type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c. People who are pregnant with gestational diabetes can prevent insulin resistance and reduce their fasting glucose levels by eating yogurt.

The live cultures in yogurt might also assist with allergies by supporting the immune system. When you're stressed, you could turn to yogurt to keep your immune system working properly. Yogurt might also help prevent upper respiratory infections in older adults.