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That day a naive teen intriguingly asked her mother, ‘Mummy does all the healthy things tastes bland or bitter’?
That innocent question made mother ponder about the healthy food options which she could provide to her daughter while not sacrificing its taste. Often making their kids relish, healthy food items become a daunting task for the parents. Thinking about healthy food products evokes an avalanche of all the plain and not so tasty food stuff in our mind.
But yogurt is that nutrient dense food which will provide all the essential nutrients without letting you bargain on taste. Yogurt is considered as healthy food option due to its high digestibility and better availability of nutrients to the body. Yogurt contains protein, vitamins and minerals, particularly being rich source of calcium. Also the process of fermentation helps in enhancing the nutritional value of yogurt as compared to milk. It is important to know that all proteins are not of equal quality due to presence or absence of essential amino acids which our body needs as they cannot be synthesized in our body. Also proteins vary in their tendencies of getting absorbed in the body. Such considerations are important while consuming any food product or designing a diet to meet the body requirements. Milk proteins available in the yogurt are high in quality as they provide all essential amino acids and coagulation of proteins in yogurt allows better digestion of protein in the body. One targeting for sturdy, muscular physique can supplement protein of their diet from yogurt, that too without any fat and cholesterol which is otherwise associated with meat sources.
Yogurt is also packed with potassium and vitamin B12. One serving of yogurt contains as much potassium as banana. Studies have shown that eight ounce of yogurt can provide 60 % of adult women’s daily requirement of vitamin B12. Our gut is inhabitant of millions of bacteria and good intestinal health is associated with balance of good bacteria in our gut which can be provided by yogurt.
Yogurt is of two types viz. Standard culture yogurt and Probiotic or Bio-yogurt. The former one is typical ‘Dahi’ which is available in the market and its consumption helps in stimulating friendly bacteria in our gut to maintain good intestinal health. On the other hand bio-yogurt or probiotic yogurt contains friendly bacteria which are present in our gut and thus claims more specific health benefits. Bio-yogurts have multidimensional functions targeting various areas of our body like intestinal health, brain functioning and immunity etc. ‘Healthy bacteria’ present in the bio-yogurt helps in combating ‘bad bacteria’ present in our body and protect us against various infections and boost our immunity.
Chaos – Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt?
Both Greek and plain yogurt are healthy food options but it is important to realize that one has to opt for their low fat or fat-free versions. Greek style yogurt is prepared by excessive straining to remove whey to get creamier and thicker yogurt.
 Satiety with Greek yogurt
– Greek yogurt contains almost double the amount of protein as compared to plain yogurt and thus can satisfy hunger pangs of people with voracious appetite.
 What to do with all that extra fat?
– Greek yogurt contains 3 times more saturated fat as compared to plain yogurt. So, if one is opting for Greek yogurt and wants to avoid intake of extra fats then one should go for low fat or fat free versions.
 Smart choice for low carb diet ?
– Greek yogurt contains roughly half the amount of carbohydrates as compared to plain yogurt.
Flavoured / Sweetened Yogurt- A tasty myth
Market is flooded with flavoured/ sweetened yogurt often known as fruit yogurt. These are more of sugary treat rather than a healthy option as it provides multitude of calories which can be big disaster for those who are on diet. If one really craves to relish fruit yogurt then one can mix fresh cut fruits or fruit puree with yogurt to enjoy tasty treat.
Serving Options
 Scoop it – Simply begin your day with bowl full of yogurt
 Fill it – Balkan style set yogurt forms an amazing filling for sandwiches and rolls
 Dip it – Yogurt can be used as dip for chips and tortilla
 Drink it – In the form of delicious smoothies
 Drizzle it – Yogurt is healthy and tasty option as salad dressing
-Prashant Sahni
(Lecturer- Food Science)

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