4 Must-Try Yogurt Varieties

yogurt coverWhat’s delicious and creamy, but also packed with beneficial bacteria that promote gut health? Yogurt! This ancient food has been a food staple of many cultures around the world for centuries. This flavorful dairy product is packed with protein, calcium, vitamin A, riboflavin, phosphorous and potassium and provides useful probiotics, aka “good” bacteria, that help keep your intestinal flora in balance. Not only is good gut health helpful in avoiding constipation and bloating, it boosts your immune system, and recent studies indicate that many illnesses, including mental illness, can be improved if you improve your intestinal flora.

breakfast yogurt

Yogurt can be made from various types of pasteurized milk (goat or cow) by adding live bacteria for fermentation. During this process, the lactose, or milk sugars, in the milk will convert to lactic acid, which helps the milk thicken and develop a tangy yogurt flavor. After the yogurt is cooled it can be flavored with various mix-ins, such as fruit or honey.

Although most yogurts are made similarly, there are a few variations that you should try. Take a snack break and indulge in one of these four mouthwatering types!

  • Skyr

yogurt parfait

Maybe you’ve heard of Siggi’s yogurt– one of the best yogurts on the market serving an Icelandic tradition! This type is quite creamy and thick and loaded with protein and calcium, yet low in sugar. Additionally, skyr often packs about 3-4 times the protein of regular yogurt! Skyr is paired deliciously with vanilla, berries, and spices.

  • Greek

oatmeal, greek yogurt and honey

This Mediterranean classic can be used in various dishes. Greek yogurt is derived from regular yogurt, which is drained to remove the liquid whey. This leaves a more concentrated yogurt that it higher in protein and lower in sugar! This type of yogurt is a great alternative to regular yogurt for the conscious foodie who is trying to avoid excess sugar and calories.

  • Kefir

kefir

This fermented milk drink actually contains more probiotic cultures than regular yogurt. Kefir is cultured by using a “starter kit” consisting of kefir grains, which supply tons of bacteria and yeast. Kefir helps promotes gut health and immune function, increasing the power to fight infections. In addition, kefir also provides vitamin D and calcium to stimulate bone heath. Try using kefir in your salad dressings or smoothies!

  • Lassi

mango lassi

If you haven’t had a cold mango lassi drink, then you really haven’t lived. Lassi is a popular treat which originated in India. Almost like a smoothie, lassi is a thick yogurt drink made with a blend of spices, water, and fruit. Other than being a great way to cool down, lassi is packed with protein and energy that aid digestion and boost muscle and bone health.

yogurt jar 2

If you are trying to make a decision in the yogurt aisle and it seems complicated, make sure to be wary of buying brands that have more sugar than protein. Many come in low-fat or non-fat versions and for a vegan option, you can also find non-dairy substitutes made from soy or coconut.

Jackie Parker is currently a junior nutritional sciences student on the dietetics track at Texas A&M University.

 

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