There are many varieties of yogurt available all over the world, but the most popular is the traditional European and Greek styles of yogurt. Greek yogurt is strained and often provides more protein and a thicker, creamier consistency than the European style, which offers a less-tart taste, and a pudding-like consistency. (There are non-dairy yogurts made from soy and coconut that contain different nutritional benefits.)
Because yogurt is produced through bacterial fermentation, people who are lactose intolerant may still be able to digest it. During the fermentation process bacteria digest lactase, the enzyme found in milk, thus making it virtually lactose-free.
Yogurt contains acidophilus, a type of healthy bacterium that is naturally found in the digestive tract which is how it gets classified as a probiotic food. These bacteria are considered “good bacteria” and help to restore a healthy gut microbiome after a bout of antibiotics or more generally as a great food source of probiotics to maintain healthy gut flora. Yogurt is a great addition to any diet and provides a good source of complete protein to help you stay strong during cancer treatment. Yogurt is also a great source of calcium, B vitamins, and potassium.
Because yogurt is recognized as a health food staple, it is easy to grab some off the shelf without glancing at the nutrition facts, but it’s important to do so.
Always buy plain yogurt, as many flavored yogurts contain almost as much sugar as ice cream, and the ones that boast low sugar may contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Choose your own sweeteners instead, like all-natural maple syrup, or a drizzle of honey. Or, just eat your yogurt with fresh fruit or fruit compote, which add natural sugars and taste great.
If you are trying to sustain your weight during treatment, stick to whole-milk varieties.
Yogurt can give a rich and moist consistency to many baked goods without adding too much fat, such as our delicious Yogurt Whole Wheat Biscuits. Yogurt is also delicious used as a base for sauces like a traditional cucumber and yogurt tzatziki or added to soups like our Spiced Beet & Tomato Soup.
Plain yogurt is a great marinade for chicken. Simply add spices like salt, pepper, turmeric, and cilantro with a little olive oil and lime juice to plain yogurt, and the thick consistency of the yogurt will keep the chicken moist and flavorful through the cooking process.
Yogurt can also be used to add a tart creaminess to curries and stews.