If you want to strengthen your bones, this is the best type of yogurt to buy. Find out what Greek yogurt has to offer to help keep your bones healthy.
When you say “yogurt” and “bones,” the mineral calcium should pop into your head. However, there are more nutrients found in yogurt that are needed for bone health. That’s why cow’s milk Greek yogurt tops the list as the best yogurt for strong bones. Find out what Greek yogurt has to offer to help keep your bones healthy.
1. Greek Yogurt Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for one container (156 g or 5.5 oz) of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.
Fat: 0.265 g
Sodium: 56.2 mg
Carbohydrates: 5.68 g
Sugars: 5.1 g
Choline: 23.6 mg
Protein: 16.1 g
Calcium: 111 mg
Carbs: One container of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt (156 grams) typically contains 5 grams of carbohydrates. It has 5.1 grams of sugar.
Fats: There’s less than 1 gram of fat in plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.
Protein: Greek yogurt contains 16 grams of protein, making it an excellent way to boost your daily protein intake.
Vitamins and Minerals: Greek yogurt is full of vitamins and minerals. One container includes 10.7 milligrams of magnesium, 136 milligrams of phosphorous, 141 milligrams of potassium, and 15 milligrams of choline. It also has 111 milligrams of calcium.
Magnesium helps with functions such as energy production and protein synthesis, while potassium plays a vital role in nervous system function and muscle contraction. Phosphorous helps with bone growth and normal cell membrane function. Choline, a B vitamin, assists with biological processes such as fat and cholesterol transport, as well as energy metabolism.
Calories: According to the USDA, one container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt contains 92 calories.
2. Nutrients your bones need
To keep your bones strong and healthy, the nutrients your body needs include calcium, vitamin D, protein, and magnesium.
If you don’t take in enough calcium from food (or supplements), your body will take the calcium it needs from your bones which weakens them. Vitamin D is needed in order for calcium to be absorbed in the intestines, while magnesium helps regulate the balance of calcium and vitamin D. There is also good evidence that phosphorus, vitamin A, and potassium can help. Phosphorus helps neutralize acidic foods that can be harmful to your bones, some potassium salts neutralize acids that come from the body’s metabolic processes, and vitamin A influences the building and breaking down of bone.
Cow’s milk Greek yogurt provides many of the nutrients listed above.
3. How does Greek yogurt affect your bones?
Greek yogurt is made by straining traditional yogurt to remove the liquid whey resulting in a thicker, creamier, tarter yogurt. Compared to traditional yogurt (which is also super healthy!), Greek yogurt contains twice the amount of protein at 15 grams per serving and about 14% less lactose (helpful for those with lactose intolerance). It also provides 170 milligrams of calcium per serving and is brimming with live, active cultures that help with gut health.
In addition to protein and calcium, Greek yogurt contains significant amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, all of which play a role in bone health.
Plus, Greek yogurt has a fantastic tangy flavor and thick texture which makes it delicious to eat topped with fruit, blended into a smoothie or in a parfait or it can be used as a substitute for butter, buttermilk, and other higher fat ingredients.
4. Other health benefits of Greek yogurt
May Improve Gut Health
Many brands of Greek yogurt contain probiotics, which are good bacteria that can help your gut achieve a healthy bacterial balance.
You’ll want to check your yogurt container to make sure it has what you’re looking for. Only yogurts that say “Live & Active Cultures” on their seal contain probiotics. Also, double-check the type and amount before you buy; these details can vary by brand.
May Contribute to Weight Loss
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, which helps people feel full—and may prevent overeating. Research has found that people may eat less during the day after having Greek yogurt or another high-protein meal.
But a word of warning: Check the added sugar on your Greek yogurt. Some brands use a lot to improve taste, which can cause calories to add up quickly. Choose plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt when possible, but note that yogurt naturally contains sugar, so there will be some natural sugars. Avoid Greek yogurt with zero sugar, as these usually contain artificial sweeteners.
May Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
In one study, published in BMC Medicine, a “higher intake of yogurt” was associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. That connection did not hold true for other types of dairy.